Dr. Stephen Yurkovich
Head of the Department of Systems Engineering
Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Chair
Yurkovich came to UT Dallas in 2011 to lead the systems engineering program, which has since become a department. Systems engineering involves interdisciplinary teams working on tight deadlines toward ambitious goals. This requires experience that Yurkovich brought with him.
"CAR (Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research) is probably the leading center in the country for automotive research, and I worked there with electrical and mechanical engineers, computer scientists, managers and others. It's a place with a true interdisciplinary culture, which is rare, and that's the kind of culture I want to promote."
A distinguished electrical and control systems engineer, Yurkovich was elected as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2001, and to the IEEE Board of Directors in 2012. With more than 400,000 members worldwide, the institute is the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology.
Yurkovich has research and teaching experience in electrical, computer and mechanical engineering. While control systems apply to any technology, he has particular expertise in aeronautical and automotive system control.
He's applied his knowledge as a technical consultant for General Motors, ABB, Battelle Memorial Institute, Emerson Electric Co. and Liebert Corp.
He earned his bachelor's degree in engineering science from Rockhurst University in Missouri, and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
Yurkovich has been married for more than 35 years to Tricia Yurkovich, and has two adult sons who both studied engineering during their undergraduate educations.
A gift from Louis Beecherl Jr. created the chair in March 2006. Yurkovich was appointed in May 2011. The position supports research and scholarly activities benefiting the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
As director of the Honda-Ohio State University Partnership Program from 2003 to 2011, Yurkovich oversaw an annual endowment income of about $2 million. He steered those funds toward activities targeting themes in automotive engineering, including cutting-edge research, programs that increased awareness of engineering, and those that encouraged middle and high school students to excel in math. As a professor, researcher and acting director of OSU's Center for Automotive Research (CAR), his team earned more than a dozen U.S. patents in automotive powertrain systems control.
"The hallmark of a great control systems engineer is seeing the big picture and solving existing problems. It is deeply satisfying to know that my team found a solution for air-to-fuel ratio control in cold-start applications, and that those answers led to more-efficient cars on the road."