Azim Eskandarian, professor of engineering and applied science and the director of George Washington University's Center for Intelligent Systems Research and its National Crash Analysis Center, will join Virginia Tech as the department head of mechanical engineering, effective August 10.

When Eskandarian moves to Blacksburg, he will be leading the university's highest ranked department in a 2015 survey of more than 3,500 universities by the QS World University Rankings, a resource for prospective students. 

Eskandarian has spent most of his career in the academic world. He earned his bachelor and doctoral mechanical engineering degrees from George Washington University, in 1982 and in 1991 respectively. He received his master's degree, also in mechanical engineering, from Virginia Tech in 1983.

"I am very pleased that such a talented individual will be coming back to Virginia Tech to lead the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Eskandarian emerged from an extraordinarily strong pool of candidates, including industry leaders and currently-serving department heads. It was no simple task to select a "short list" and then to choose one from that very impressive group," said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering who holds the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair.

"I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will be provided to me at Virginia Tech. I hope to improve upon an already well-respected and highly ranked mechanical engineering department. We will achieve this goal by continuing to train our students as leaders and innovators with technical problem-solving aptitudes. We will encourage more of our students to address global issues and to create sustainable economies. We will have a progressive vision for excellence in the transfer and generation of knowledge, with an inter- and cross- disciplinary curricula that meets the emerging needs of modern industry," Eskandarian said.

"We will also aim for an educational enterprise that fosters a diverse work force and constituents."

While at George Washington, Eskandarian played an instrumental role in the establishment of a unique graduate program of study in automotive safety and intelligent transportation systems. He also founded the Center for Intelligent Systems Research in 1996 and held the position of its director for 19 years. He co-founded the National Crash Analysis Center in 1992 and became its director from 1998 to 2003 and again in 2013. In 2003 he founded and became director of George Washington University's Area of Excellence in Transportation Safety and Security.

His sponsored research exceeds $27 million, with $11.5 million as the principal investigator and the remaining as a co-principal investigator. He has directed or co-directed 12 post doctorates, advised to completion 18 doctoral candidates and another 18 master's students. He has worked with 36 unique student projects. Eight of his students hold faculty positions worldwide. He has published 146 refereed articles, three edited volumes, one book, and one reference handbook, and holds a U.S. patent.

He is an associate editor and a board member of five journals, and most recently assumed the associate editorship of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control. He served twice as a member of the governing board of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Intelligent Transportation Systems Society.

He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Prior to joining George Washington University in 1993, he was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State University, York Campus, and earlier worked as an engineer and project manager with industry from 1983 until 1989.