Myrick has creative flair for engineering

Justin Myrick is an artist.

No, he is not your typical artist with a canvas or clay. His palette is made up of circuits, machines, gears and propulsion systems.

Myrick brings his unique creativity to the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering as he took the helm as its dean earlier this month.

“Engineering is a creative outlet, just like being an artist or an architect. Engineers have the opportunity to make things and to make things better,” said Myrick. “And, the things we make can be life-changing creations. Engineers have helped make the world a better place from innovation in communication, technology and transportation and everything in between.”

Myrick spent the majority of his career at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering where he also served as the director of the Health Systems Research Center. In addition, he directed Georgia Tech’s Master of Science in Health Systems program. 

Prior to his tenure at Georgia Tech, Myrick was on faculty at the University of Central Florida and was an assistant project engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he focused on the CH-53A Marine Assault Transport helicopter. Most recently, Myrick was an adjunct professor at Tennessee Technological University.

Myrick said engineering sometimes gets a bad wrap for being a difficult program of study because it involves the use of math — and lots of it.

“Math is merely a language that we use in engineering,” he said. “Once we learn the language, it helps us so much in the field. Once students realize that and get into engineering they find it interesting and rewarding. They can really get their hands in it.”

Before bringing his palette to the Lipscomb engineering program, Myrick was in the midst of a decade-long sabbatical from academics. Although he enjoyed the opportunity to become involved in other activities such as serving as scouting district commissioner for the Upper Cumberland District of the Boy Scouts of America’ s Middle Tennessee Council, Myrick missed the classroom.

“I rested a little too long,” he said. “I missed the college campus atmosphere and the ability to interact with students. There is an energy there and opportunities that you don’t find anywhere else.”

Myrick was familiar with Lipscomb’s engineering program. He and wife, Melissa, are the parents of two Lipscomb students — Jay, a junior engineering major, and Andrew, a freshman psychology major. When the opportunity to lead that program presented itself, Myrick said it was just the task to bring him off the sidelines and back into the academic game.

“Lipscomb’s program has an excellent foundation. It is also a program that has a much higher calling than just giving students a vocation. At Lipscomb we train engineers with the mindset that what they are doing is a service to others. We can make a difference in the world by using our skills to do things like building bridges that connect people to sources of clean water or to build a radio tower in a remote part of the world,” said Myrick, who holds a Master of Science degree from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Myrick said he looks forward to working with the engineering faculty to building on the engineering program’s strong foundation. He said he hopes to build the reputation of the college as well as expand its offerings in the near future.

The Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering offers undergraduate degrees in electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering, and a graduate degree in engineering management. The college’s mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). One of the hallmarks of the program are its annual mission trips to remote locales such as Catacamas, Honduras; the Ulpan Valley in Guatemala; and Jellico, Tenn.; where students have put the skills they are learning in the classroom to practice in projects that serve those communities.

“I believe our program is one of this region’s best-kept secrets,” he said. “When people hear the name Lipscomb, I want them to think of our engineering program. I want to help grow this reputation by working with local firms and examining the needs of the marketplace then seeing how we can help fill those needs.”

The future of engineering is bright and engineers will be in high demand, Myrick said.

“Engineers are needed in a variety of fields including business, health care and many other areas. They can use their engineering training by understanding complex issues and can serve as a bridge between the technical and nontechnical aspects of organizations,” he said. “The need will continue to grow as the world becomes more and more global in nature. We live in an ever-increasing technological society. And, engineers are the ones to impact those products directly.”

Myrick said he is excited about rolling up his sleeves and getting to work to “provide an ever-improving palette” for Lipscomb’s engineering program.

For more information about the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering, visit engineering.lipscomb.edu.