- BS, mechanical engineering, WVU, 1960
- MS, theoretical and applied mechanics, WVU, 1966
- PhD, engineering, WVU, 1968
After graduating from WVU with a BSME, Thomas Vance joined Babcock and Wilcox Company as a Development Engineer in Alliance, Ohio. He was responsible for the design, analysis and development of both conventional steam generators and nuclear reactors. In 1963 he returned to WVU for graduate studies, completing his MS in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 1966 and a Ph.D. in Engineering in 1968. From 1964 to 1966 he also worked as a summer intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory, doing analysis on material behavior at ultra-high temperatures, primarily for nuclear powered rocket applications.
Upon completing his Ph.D., Mr. Vance joined IBM, where he worked for 25 years in a variety of capacities. In his early years, Dr. Vance was responsible for analysis and mitigation of mechanical failure mechanisms across all corporate disciplines. He managed the Failure Analysis Laboratory with a staff of 100 employees. Following this assignment, Dr. Vance was promoted to Senior Engineer and given responsibility for product engineering of IBM’s Large Scale Integration semiconductor memory chips. He later became Program Manager for both Process Engineering and Equipment Manufacturing Engineering for Multi-layer Ceramic products. The assignment included several hundred processes. His performance led to an assignment as Program Manager for the Advanced Lithography Development. In this role, he was responsible for developing the lithography strategy for IBM world-wide. Lithography technology was the key technology in the miniaturization of semiconductors, which in turn drove the performance, reliability and price of these key devices in the spiral that has fostered the computer revolution.
Dr. Vance was ultimately assigned to IBM Division Staff at the corporate level. He was responsible to Corporate Headquarters Quality and Assurance Group pertaining to the packaging of semiconductors for new products. He interacted regularly with senior management at some of the world’s largest corporations to develop management strategies that could help bring US industry to the forefront in the international competition for product quality. Dr. Vance retired from IBM in 1992, and established a consulting firm, based in his home town of Point Pleasant, WV. He has since retired completely.