James Mikulak

Distinguished Mechanical Engineer, 2022
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1988
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 2007
Ph.D., Material Science & Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 2011

Dr. James Mikulak has lived in Austin for over 40 years, and has been involved in multiple startup companies. He is currently a Technical Director at Evonik Corp, a US subsidiary of Evonik Industries AG, a stock-listed German specialty chemicals company headquartered in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

In 2012 he founded Structured Polymers Inc., an Austin Texas based company that developed a new patented manufacturing method to produce polymer powders for Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printers. The company was acquired by Evonik Corp in 2019, with Dr. Mikulak responsible for the integration of the company, the team, and the technical know-how into Evonik Corp while also overseeing the build-out and equipping a new 3D printing research and development facility in Southeast Austin, Texas.

From 2016-2019 James also held an adjunct position at The University of Texas at Austin where he developed and taught an online asynchronous Material Science course in the Option III Executive Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering Graduate Program.

Dr. Mikulak currently has ten issued US patents primarily in powder based and filament deposition 3D printing materials and methods. Prior to founding Structured Polymers, he worked, along with his partner Dr. Carl Deckard, the inventor of Selective Laser Sintering, as consultants directly with Scott Crump, the CEO of Stratasys Corp and inventor of Fused Deposition Modeling on the successful development of co-extruded semi-crystalline polymer filaments for extrusion based additive manufacturing methods
He received his PhD, in 2011 in Material Science and Engineering more than 20 years after his undergraduate degree, studying under the wise, professional and steady guidance of Dr. Desiderio Kovar. While studying he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Mechanical Engineering Materials Labs teaching materials testing and processing to Mechanical Engineering students. During that time, he received several awards and fellowships; the University of Texas Advanced Manufacturing Center Academic Competitive Scholarship for 2005-06, the George J. Heuer, Jr. Ph.D. Endowed Graduate Fellowship 2007, the H. Grady Rylander Longhorn Mechanical Engineering Club Excellence in Teaching Endowed Fellowship 2009 and the Harris L. Marcus Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Materials Science and Engineering 2010.

James’s long involvement with Additive Manufacturing started when he was hired in 1990 first as a Mechanical Engineer, then as the Beta Design Team Coordinator at DTM Corporation, and was part of the team that designed and supported the first commercial Selective Laser Sintering Systems (SLS), the first of the Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printing technologies.

James started, and co-owned ESA Enterprise Inc, an engineering company specializing in computer-controlled testing and manufacturing equipment which expanded into a design/build engineering house with in house manual and CNC machining capability. He also co-founded a technology development company that developed hardware and software for real-time data collection and transaction processing for casino table game operations.

Additionally, he was part of the team that founded Metal Optics, to manufacture energy efficient lighting systems for commercial office and retail buildings, setting up a high-volume multi-shift CNC manufacturing operation to produce lighting fixtures and components. Metal Optics was acquired by Holophane of Newark, Ohio.