Zhang brings industry perspective to M.Eng.ME program

11/2/2022 Taylor Tucker

After establishing a long and successful career in industry, MechSE alumnus L. Winston Zhang (PhD ME '96) has come full circle to teach in the department's robust M.Eng.ME program.

Written by Taylor Tucker

L. Winston ZhengL. Winston Zhang (PhD ME ’96) joined MechSE’s faculty this fall as a lecturer for the M.Eng.ME program. He currently teaches electronics cooling through ME 598 (special topics).

“Preparing a lecture plan is sort of like playing golf,” Zhang joked. “It takes a lot of time and there’s always something more you could improve.”

Originally from China, Zhang came to the U.S. in 1989 to pursue his graduate studies. After completing his master’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1991, he joined Johns Hopkins University to pursue his PhD under advisor Tony Jacobi. When Jacobi moved to UIUC, Zhang came with him, researching heat transfer enhancement in compact exchangers. Upon graduating in 1996, he began working as a research engineer for the Racine, Wisconsin-based heat transfer company Modine Manufacturing. He became a licensed professional engineer (PE) for the state of Wisconsin three years later and went on to earn his MBA from Marquette University in 2001.

After a few years in research at Modine, Zhang transferred to Thermacore, the newly acquired electronics cooling division based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At Thermacore, Zhang first served as product engineering manager. He and his family later relocated to Hsinchu, Taiwan, where he served as engineering and technology manager. After completing a two-year overseas assignment as an expat in Taiwan, he and his family decided to remain in the area. In 2004, he founded the thermal management company Novark Technologies in Shenzhen, China.

Zhang was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 2017 for his contribution to the electronics cooling industry. He currently serves as the Asia liaison for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Annual Semiconductor Thermal Measurement and Management Symposium (SEMI-THERM) and track co-chair for the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems (InterPACK). He is a current board member of the Taiwan Thermal Management Association (TTMA). He has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed technical papers on heat pipe technology, thermal management of electronics, compact heat exchanger design, and heat exchanger applications and has earned three U.S. patents and 80 for China.

Zhang also served for eight years, first as a member and later as chair, on the board of the American International School in Guangzhou, which his children attended alongside those of diplomats. He first heard about the M.Eng.ME program from Jacobi earlier this year. “I thought about it for a while and decided to come to campus to teach in person and share my decades of industry experience and knowledge in heat transfer and thermal management of electronics,” he said.

Zhang has found that the feedback he gets from students is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching his course. “I really appreciate hearing from them,” he said.

His students are appreciative as well. “I like that we get examples from industry, instead of just theoretical concepts,” one student wrote. “[He] keeps the class lively with thoughtful questions and facts,” said another.

Zhang is slated to teach applied heat transfer for ME 598 in spring 2023.

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This story was published November 2, 2022.