Jerry Thiel | Director |

Jerry Thiel

Jerry Thiel is the Director of the Metal Casting Center 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 40 years.  His background includes metal casting experience in steel, iron and non-ferrous alloys.  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 division IV executive committee and has served as the chairman for the Cast Metals Institute. Jerry received the AFS Scientific Merit Award in 2011, the AFS service citation award in 2015, the division IV best paper award in 2012, 2015 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.



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 an M.S. degree in Applied Physics. Sairam works with the metal casting industry in applied research projects related to the advancement and development of foundry technologies. His research interests include additives and coatings, molding and core making processes, simulation and mathematical modeling, and rapid prototyping. Sairam received the AFS Howard Taylor award in 2014, AFS Ray Witt award in 2016, AFS division IV best paper awards in 2014 and 2017, and WFC best technical paper award in 2016.



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. He currently works as an assistant project manager. In this role, Nate schedules tests, collects, analyzes, and organizes data. He also serves as the first point of contact for student employees at the Metal Casting Center. In 2017, Nate developed a new method to evaluate castings and casting services with laser scanning. A paper that he wrote about this process was published by American Foundry Society Transactions.



Craig Ertl | Research Assistant |

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.