Jack Lesko, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professorship enables Virginia Tech faculty to generate new research in the field of enhanced performance on aircraft engine systems. Recipients hold the title of Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor for a period of five years, which is renewable.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 1994, Lesko’s research has focused on materials development and manufacturing, and structural design, reliability, and durability. He has obtained more than $23.7 million in research funding and has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles. His work has engaged several university departments, including chemistry, physics, civil engineering, and chemical engineering, with applications in civil infrastructure, aerospace, naval structures, and desalination membranes.

His current research addresses technology development important to Rolls-Royce, including data-driven gas turbine life prediction, health monitoring, prognostication, and innovating new materials systems required for higher voltage power distribution technology necessary for future all-electric aviation.

Lesko was a leading architect of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center and served as the interim director from 2017 to 2019. He also served seven years on the board of directors of the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which was formed as part of a broader statewide initiative to attract Rolls-Royce to Virginia. Lesko has worked to expand faculty engagement with advanced manufacturing research through the partnership.

Lesko received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

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