John Tomblin is the Senior Vice President for Industry and Defense Programs at Wichita State University (WSU) and the Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). He is also a Sam Bloomfield Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering.

As Executive Director of NIAR, Dr. Tomblin oversees eighteen laboratories in four locations encompassing 1 million square feet, 650 employees and a yearly budget of nearly $ 95 million. Under his leadership, NIAR has gained worldwide recognition in the area of composites and advanced materials; greatly expanded its capabilities and footprint; and nearly tripled its yearly funding.

NIAR currently has a number of DoD contracts and grants researching certification framework for enabling advanced materials and structural concepts for automated manufacturing, digital twin technologies for rapid sustainment of legacy aircraft and emerging materials for high-speed missile applications as well as multiple programs from DoD industrial suppliers and original equipment manufacturers.

Dr. Tomblin received his Ph.D., master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.  He resides in Wichita, KS with his wife Katharine and three sons.




Dr. Tomblin has a number of publications in the areas of advanced materials research and has authored extensive reports in the NASA AGATE program as well as FAA technical reports which have resulted into FAA policy governing use of composites within the aerospace industry. 

Selected publications

  • S. Tomblin, J. D. Tauriello, and S. P. Doyle, (2002) “A Composite Material Qualification Method that Results in Cost, Time and Risk Reduction,” Journal of Advanced Materials, Volume 34, No. 4, October, pp. 41-50.
  • Shyprykevich, J. S. Tomblin, and M. G. Vangel, (2002) “The Development and Use of a Common Database for Composite Materials,” Testing Design and Acceptance Criteria, ASTM STP 1416, A. Zureick and A.T. Nettles, Eds., American Society for Testing and Materials International, West Conshohocken, PA .
  • S. Tomblin, Y. C. Ng and K. S. Raju, Material Qualification and Equivalency for Polymer Matrix Composite Material Systems, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Springfield, VA 22161, DOT/FAA/AR-00/47, April 2001, 119 pages.  (This document was actually followed by a policy directive issued by the FAA Small Airplane Directorate regarding the use of composites in FAR part 23 aircraft, Policy Statement Number ACE-00-23.613-01; Volume 65, Number 114 – which will influence all composite certifications of small aircraft in the future.)
  • Testimony before the United States Senate Department of Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology & Space on the future of the aerospace in the United States and how a partnership between Academia/Government/Industry can maintain a leadership position for the next century. This was an invited presentation from the US Senate Chairman of the Department of Commerce, Senator John McCain. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/congress/2003_h/030227-tomblin.pdf.
Professional Experience

2019 - Present       Sr. V.P. Industry & Defense Programs, WSU

2012 - 2019            V.P. Research/Technology Transfer/Economic Development, WSU

2004 - Present       Executive Director, NIAR, WSU

2004                         Adjunct Professor, Wright State University

2001 - 2004            Director, Research & Development, WSU NIAR

2000 - 2004            Associate Professor, WSU

2000 - 2001            Adjunct Professor, Wright State University

1996 - 1997            Adjunct Professor, Kansas State University

1995 - Present       Composites/Structures Laboratory Director, WSU (NIAR)

1994 - 2000            Assistant Professor, Wichita State University (WSU)

Areas of Service

During his time at Wichita State, he has directed a number of multi-discipline and multi-investigator projects with external funding exceeding $150 million. Dr. Tomblin has been working in the area of material qualification and insertion into general aviation production for the past 18 years primarily as part of the previous NASA-AGATE (Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments) program and served as chairman of the of the advanced materials working group.  He also has also begun the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP) in 2003, which will follow the work started by AGATE but focus into stability control issues for advanced materials in commercial and military applications.  He also serves as the co-chairman for the Data Review working group of the Composites Materials Handbook 17 (formerly Military Handbook 17) and was recently acknowledged by the group with a Distinguished Service Award for contributions he made incorporating new materials into the aerospace industry.  With respect to this proposal, Dr. Tomblin has been successful in inserting new materials into production during the past 18 years, which includes DoD interaction with the Air Force, Navy and Army.