To contact our staff email, or call 319-273-6894, or fill out a form here!

Jerry Thiel | Director

Jerry Thiel, Director of MCC and AMC

Jerry Thiel is the Director of the Metal Casting and Additive Manufacturing Centers at the University of Northern Iowa. He has a diverse industrial background and has held management positions in the metal casting and related industries for over 45 years. Jerry holds degrees in materials science, manufacturing and manufacturing process development and has published numerous research papers pertaining to molding and core materials for the foundry industry. He is a past chairman of the AFS Molding and Materials division, Additive Manufacturing division and Cast Metals Institute. Jerry has received the AFS Scientific Merit Award, the AFS Service Citation award, and is a multiple recipient of the Molding and Materials division best paper award and is a three time recipient of the AFS Howard Taylor award.



Travis Frush | Project Manager

Travis Frush

Travis graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Technology degree in Manufacturing Process Development Design in 1994. He earned his Master of Technology degree in Manufacturing Process Development – Metal Casting from the University of Northern Iowa in 1996 where he worked directly with the soligen process. He has spent the last 20 years working in manufacturing, specifically metal casting and metal processing operations, where his primary job responsibilities were focused in the areas of process engineering, quality engineering and middle management leadership. He returned to the University of Northern Iowa's Metal Casting Center as the Project Manager of the Additive Manufacturing and Design Center in July 2015. Travis is the chairperson for the AFS Additive Manufacturing Division, as well as the instructor for the AFS Design & Optimization for 3D Sand printing class.



Sairam Ravi | Project Manager

Sairam Ravi, Project Manager

Sairam Ravi is the Project Manager of the Metal Casting Center at the University of Northern Iowa. He has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and earned an M.S. degree in Applied Physics through UNI. Sairam works with the metal casting industry in applied research projects related to the advancement and development of foundry technologies. His primary research interests include thermal properties and heat transfer, which involve simulation and mathematical modeling. Additives and coatings, mold and core making processes, additive manufacturing, and using advanced sensors to gain information on molds and aggregates are also his research interests. Sairam presently serves on the AFS Division IV Cured Sand and Aggregate Committee, the AFS Division IV Mold Division, the AFS Testing and Specifications Committee for the Additive Manufacturing Division, and the AFS Air Quality Committee in the Environmental Health and Safety Division. Sairam received the AFS division IV best paper award in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2015, the AFS Ray H. Witt Management award in 2016, and the AFS Howard Taylor award in 2015.



Nate Bryant | Assistant Project Manager

Nate Bryant, Assistant Project Manager

Nate received both his B.S. in Manufacturing Technology and M.S. in Technology from the University of Northern Iowa. He has an emphasis in metal casting for both degrees. In July 2013, Nate started working as a student employee for the Metal Casting Center. Currently, he works as an assistant project manager for the UNI MCC. In this role, Nate schedules tests, collects, analyzes, and organizes data, as well as acts as the first point of contact for student employees at the Metal Casting Center. Nate presently serves as a member for both the AFS Green Sand Molding Committee and the AFS Additive Manufacturing Testing and Specifications Committee. In 2017, Nate developed a new method to evaluate castings and casting services with laser scanning.



Craig Ertl | Research Associate

Craig Ertl, Research Assistant

Craig Ertl works as a research assistant for the UNI Additive Manufactureing Center. In this position, he supervises lab technicians and works heavily with our 3D sand driver and robotic sand labs. Craig received his Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering with an emphasis in Metal Casting and Advanced Manufacturing. Craig is currently completing his M.S. in Technology through UNI. 



Jiayi Wang | Research Associate

Jiayi Wang, Research Associate

Jiayi Wang received his Master of Science in Engineering Design from Penn State. He began working as an intern for the Additive Manufacturing Plant at UNI in May 2018. In August 2019, he started as a Research Associate. Jiayi currently designs and works with the production of services for foundry industry clients, as he utilizes applied research. He works closely with students as he equips them with design knowledge and trains them for printer use.



Kristi Wagner | Business Manager

Kristi Wagner, Business Manager

Kristi is the Business Manager for the UNI Metal Casting and Additive Manufacturing Centers. She has been in this role since 2017. As the Business Manager, Kristi serves as the accounting and finance resource for our centers. Some of the responsibilities of her position include providing financial oversight to grants and other sources of revenue, developing our annual budget, and maintaining the university systems and procedures for the monitoring and reporting of expenditures and performances applicable to MCC operations supported by federal funds. Kristi received her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from UNI.



Sheri Bishop | Clerk IV

Sheri Bishop, Clerk IV

Sheri serves as the Clerk IV for the UNI MCC and AMC. She has been in this position since May of 2017. A few of her main job responsibilities include primary point of customer contact, coordinating logistics, creating and maintaining general office files, and providing administrative support for the MCC and AMC. Sheri received the UNI Eunice A. Dell Award “Making a Difference” in 2009.