Tom McDermott



Director of Technology Policy

Research Role: Research Council

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Dr. Tom  McDermott is a leader, educator, and innovator in multiple technology fields.  He currently serves as Director of Technology Policy within the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).  His role is to create bridges between the disciplines of leadership, policy, and social sciences, and the disciplines of science, technology, and engineering.  He previously held positions within GTRI as interim Director, Director of Research, Lab Director, and Principal Research Engineer.  He studies systems thinking, organizational dynamics, and the nature of complex human socio-technical systems.  His passion is his leadership style; his belief is that enabling talented people is the key to success in innovative organizations.  He teaches system architecture concepts, systems thinking and decision making, and the composite skills required at the intersection of leadership and engineering.

Tom is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, with degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering.  He developed his skills and interests in the defense electronics industry, culminating in a leadership position with Lockheed Martin as Chief Engineer and Program Manager for the F-22 Raptor Avionics Team.  Under his 6-year leadership the impact of GTRI significantly expanded, research awards doubled to over $300M, faculty research positions increased by 60%, and the organization has been recognized as one of Atlanta’s best places to work as well as one of the nation’s leaders in employee development.  Tom is one of the creators of Georgia Tech’s Professional Masters degree in Applied Systems Engineering and lead instructor of the “Leading Systems Engineering Teams” course.

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