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Professor William Oates named new chair of mechanical engineering at FAMU-FSU Engineering

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Trisha Radulovich
Billy Oates
William “Billy” Oates is the new chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at FAMU-FSU Engineering.

William “Billy” Oates, Ph.D., P.E., has been named the new chair of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Effective on February 5th, 2021, Oates takes the helm of the department he joined in 2006.

“Dr. Oates is one of our leading research-active faculty and is an excellent choice for the next chair of mechanical engineering,” said J. Murray Gibson, dean of the college. “His leadership and vision will bring a fresh perspective to the department that will serve us well.”

Oates received his master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and spent two years as a post-doctorate research associate at the Center for Research in Scientific Computation in the Department of Mathematics at North Carolina State University, before joining FAMU-FSU Engineering.

“I'm honored that our faculty members have put their faith in me to lead the department, particularly given the extraordinary times in our midst,” Oates said. “While I look forward to identifying new educational and research goals together with our faculty, I am most excited about getting on the path to achieve them.”

Oates succeeds Professor Eric Hellstrom, who served as interim department chair since 2018. Gibson recognized Professor Hellstrom for his contributions in the interim role. 

“Eric Hellstrom has been a very effective and highly dedicated chair for the past (more than) two years,” Gibson said. “I am immensely grateful to him for his leadership and willingness to serve.”

During Oates’s distinguished service to the college, he has received the FSU Developing Scholar Award, the ASME Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award, the NSF Career Award, and the DARPA Young Faculty Award. He is also a Fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Cummins, Inc. Professor in Mechanical Engineering. 

His current research interests include constitutive modeling of active materials and nonlinear control of adaptive structures. His research expertise is very broad including theoretical, computational, and experimental solid mechanics, uncertainty quantification, network science and quantum computing.