NDSU Innovation Team Mentor, Professor Dies

David Wells photo
David Wells, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, died May 10. He leaves a lasting legacy based on student research and innovation.

David L. Wells, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, died May 10. He was 80.

Visitation is scheduled from 9-10 a.m., followed by the memorial service at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 18, at First Lutheran Church, located at 619 N. Broadway, Fargo. Arrangements are by Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home of Fargo.

Wells was the principal mentor for NDSU’s award-winning Bison Microventure innovation team that worked to develop an artificial jaw, among other high technology projects. He also advised the Bison Proventure and Dynamic Cell Culture groups.

“I get to spend my days surrounded by very bright young men and women,” Wells said during a March 2016 interview. “I continually learn from students about the creative spirit, the inquiring mind and the fertility of imagination. I am enriched every day.”

Wells worked as a manufacturing engineer and manager for the Air Force and private industry for nearly two decades before joining the faculty of the University of Cincinnati in 1978. He came to NDSU in 2000, serving as chair of the industrial and manufacturing engineering department until 2004. He continued at NDSU as a professor until his death.

He leaves a lasting legacy based on student research and innovation.

“David Wells’ death is a loss to our college and the university. He had a passion to tap the energy and optimism of undergraduate students to investigate, experiment and discover solutions to challenging problems,” said Gary Smith, dean of engineering. “His efforts are expressed not just in the trophies from his innovation teams, but in the students who he influenced and the impact they will have in the future as engineers or entrepreneurs.”

Andy Dalman, mechanical engineering graduate student, said, “Dr. Wells’ philosophy was to act as a mentor and opportunity creator for his students. He actively encouraged students to make an impact and worked to ensure we had the tools and knowledge to do so. Dr. Wells’ ceaseless support enabled us to grow beyond what we thought we could be, and the twinkle in his eye when he would describe students’ achievements made it apparent that he truly believed in us.”

Wells earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University and his doctorate in engineering management from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

His research interests included assembly of micro- and nanocomponents, printed electronics, process engineering for electronics manufacturing, advanced manufacturing processes and the application of radio frequency Identification technology.

1 Response

  1. Matt Noah

    I enjoyed Dr. Wells friendship. He was a nice guy. We enjoyed a Stanford connection, both graduating in Engineering about 21 years apart.

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