Engineering professor inducted into Hall of Honor 

  Monday, November 9, 2020 1:30 PM
  Science and Technology, People and Society, News

Pittsburg, KS

Hall of Honor

When it comes to the field of investment casting — one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques — Pittsburg State University Professor Russ Rosmait has long been considered an expert. 

This fall, he was given official recognition by the Investment Casting Institute in Montvale, New Jersey, as one of two individuals inducted into their prestigious Hall of Honor. 

The honor is given to those who have made distinguished contributions to the art and science of the investment casting industry and who have demonstrated sustained excellence in technical and professional fields of investment casting engineering, manufacturing, business, and humanitarian activities. 

Investment casting is a manufacturing process in which a wax pattern is coated with a ceramic material. Once dry and hardened, the wax is melted out, leaving an internal cavity in the shape of the final product. Molten metal is poured into the cavity where the wax pattern was. It solidifies, cools, and the ceramic is removed from the metal casting. The result? A precision metal product.  

Rosmait, who started his career working for the American Foundry Society, began teaching at PSU 34 years ago. A few years later, he created the investment casting labs and curriculum. Now, he’s one of 20 Foundry Educational Foundation Key Professors in North America. 

“Back when we were located in Whitesitt Hall, we started getting into 3D printing,” he said. “We were interested in investment casting, but we couldn’t do it because we had no equipment, so we wrote a grant and that’s what started it off.” 

In 1997, it relocated to the new, state-of-the-art Kansas Technology Center on the east edge of campus, and expanded as part of the Engineering Technology Department. 

There, since 2001, Rosmait has hosted the annual Investment Casting Institute’s Industry Certification Program that draws workshop participants from across the U.S. and other countries. Nearly 500 industry professionals have come to PSU to be part of the program. 

“Russ has been instrumental in educating today’s professionals and in the course of his daily life, dedicates time and effort in the development of tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said ICI Executive Director Joseph E. Fritz. 

Rosmait’s resumé includes having been chosen as a NASA Faculty Fellow, serving on the advisory board of Metal Casting Design and Purchasing Magazine, the John Langford Faculty of Distinction Award, PSU’s Outstanding Faculty Award, and many other achievements. 

He also served on the board of directors of the American Foundry Society and serves a faculty advisor to the student chapter of the AFS on campus. His students regularly compete in national competitions, and he’s known for ensuring they apply for scholarships and helping them find internships. 

“I would like to say thank you to Russ for helping me get a job at Howmet Aerospace and giving me the tools and experience to be an effective engineer,” said alumnus Benjamin Speer. “Russ has made Pitt State, a small school in Kansas, a household name in the investment casting industry.” 

Rosmait’s collaboration with the ICI over the years has brought in funds, materials, supplies, a wax injection press, and other resources that allowed PSU’s program to expand and its graduates to be highly sought after. 

“Someone came to a certification workshop here and wound up enrolling in an online master’s degree program,” Rosmait said. “This industry is going to see a serious need for employees as Baby Boomers begin to retire, and we’re proud of what we’ve built here to prepare graduates for the workforce.” 

Rosmait is the first educator to be inducted into the Hall of Honor. 

“I enjoy being able to work with students, I enjoy the university setting. We have a number of alumni out there doing incredible things and I’m proud to have played a role,” Rosmait said. 

“In our industry, if you mention Pittsburg State, they know exactly who we are,” he said. “But still, it's quite humbling to be chosen for this honor. It still has not stuck in my mind, when I look at the people who already have been inducted.” 

This year’s other inductee, William McCormick, grew a small company called Precision Castparts into a Fortune 500 company with revenues at more than $3 billion. The company was purchased by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway for $37.2 billion dollars.

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