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SAMPE @ 75 - Dr. Leslie Cohen Article

Dr. Leslie Cohen, FSAMPE

 

Les is world renowned for his work in advanced composite materials.  In his 50+ year career and counting, he has had major impact on how the aerospace industrial base manufactures composites.  He joined McDonnell Douglas in the late 1960s.  While at McDonnell, he held positions of increasing responsibility in Technology Operations and Business Development. As a senior director, he oversaw their business development in the Russian Federation.  Les has worked on applying composites to a wide range of aerospace structures including ICBMs and re-entry vehicles, the OH-58 helicopter, the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative. 

Following his McDonnell Douglas career, he launched a new career as partner and owner of a public corporation named Culver City Composites, famous for their work in fabricating polyimide prepregs.  Les took Culver City Composites public and ultimately sold the company to Cytec Engineering Materials.

Next, Les joined HITCO Carbon Composites and revitalized their work around automation of composite primary and secondary structure.  Under his leadership, HITCO launched a major capital improvement program that enabled the company to become a leading Tier II fully automated supplier to The Boeing Company for manufacture of 787 composite work packages and to Lockheed Martin for the manufacture of automated fiber placed (AFP) wing skins and nacelles skins for the F-35.  In his role as Senior Vice President for Strategic Technology, he has led HITCO in capturing several government R&D efforts to advance the state of the art in composite manufacturing including hot drape forming, noodle fabrication, automated tape layup, and automated fiber placement manufacturing techniques with out-of-the-autoclave materials.  His latest passion is to leverage the Digital Thread concept for composite to eliminate analog methods in managing and facilitating the production of digitally fabricated complex primary and secondary structure in composites.

Throughout his career, Les has been a strong champion of SAMPE.  He has been the general chairman of many North American SAMPE conferences.  In addition, he serves on the SAMPE Europe Scientific Committee.  Les is most proud of his involvement of the launch of the SAMPE Foundation whose focus is K-12 STEM education in advanced materials.  Les is a SAMPE Fellow and a recipient of SAMPE’s Lubin award for significant contributions in the field of material and process engineering.

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