Gall earns MechSE Distinguished Alumni Award
Three-time MechSE alumnus Ken Gall earned the 2019 MechSE Distinguished Alumni award for his vast career accomplishments and pioneering in his field.
Gall graduated from Illinois with his BSME (1995), MSME (1996), and PhD (1998) and continued onto his post-doctorate work at Sandia National Laboratory. Gall was an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, a professor at Georgia Tech, and now holds the positions of Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) and professor of MEMS and Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University.
In addition to the rigors of academia, Gall also created three startups, all in the field of medicine: Medshape, Vertera, and his current venture, Restor3d. This career combination, while now commonplace, was relatively unheard of when he created his first company. Tackling issues of failed ankle reconstructions and developing polymer implants for spinal disk degeneration, Gall’s products are life-changing for many patients and physicians.
Gall’s early ambitions were always to work with technology or create new technologies. His education in MechSE was a great introduction to that, setting the stage for his entire career.
“Once I started as a mechanical engineer I never looked back,” said Gall. “Using my degrees helped me become both an academic and an entrepreneur.”
One of his favorite MechSE memories is when, as a graduate student working with Professor Huseyin Sehitoglu, he saw a very early version of the first internet browser in the basement of the Mechanical Engineering Building and thought it was much less interesting compared to his work. He thinks of it often because it represents how focused and excited he was on his research in MechSE, and that passion represents why he is a MechSE Distinguished Alumni.
“It’s a really incredible honor to be placed amongst the many very successful alumni in MechSE,” Gall said. “I was both surprised and excited to hear the news and very appreciative the committee even considered me.”