Joseph Santner

Senior Program Manager, Illinois Center for Defense Manufacturing
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
Tel: 815-753-8922


  • Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering, Northwestern University
  • M.S. in Physics, Michigan State University
  • B.S. in Physics, University of Dayton

Led the development of industrial laser assisted ceramic machining cell as part of the NIU Rapid Optimization of Commercial Knowledge (ROCK) effort with patent pending. He provides technical support in advanced manufacturing like titanium powder processing and shaping, laser cladding technology, and micro-machining technology, and engineered shape casting. He is an outreach liaison with local industry, including the Jobs Innovation Acceleration Challenge program with the Rockford Aerospace Cluster, to improve their competitiveness by matching engineering faculty with needs.

Prior to joining NIU, Dr. Santner was Director of Research at American Foundry Society and a member of the technical management teams for the American Metalcasting Consortium (DLA program) and the Cast Metals Coalition (DOE EERE program). His career began as an active duty Air Force officer with the Air Force Materials Laboratory conducting in-house research and contract management.  He was PI on a Navy SBIR program to improve the toughness of discontinuous aluminum matrix composites and tungsten based lighting and titanium melting while at Materials Reliability, an affiliate of Packer Engineering. Responsible for fatigue and fracture testing at Arco Metals Co, and conducted continuous casting process research at Inland Steel (now Arcelor-Mittal).