Dr. Phillip A. Sanger is a professor in the School of Engineering Technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University. At Purdue, Dr. Sanger spearheads the multidisciplinary senior capstone program, both domestic and international, where students solve real problems for industry. Prior to joining Purdue he was the Director of the Center for Rapid Product Realization (the Rapid Center) at Western Carolina University where he worked with hundreds of companies from the Piedmont Megalopolis from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee utilizing this university-based product-development center to grow the economy and enhance the educational experience.
Dr. Sanger is received his undergraduate degree in physics from Saint Louis University followed by an appointment as a Fulbright scholar to France where he studied the physics of nuclear reactors and participated in plasma fusion research at the CEA Center at Fonteney aux Roses, France. Upon returning to the US, he completed his MS and PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison. His thesis explored the effects of 400 GeV protons on the cryogenic materials needed for superconducting magnets.
Before Dr. Sanger entered the academic world, he had a very successful 25 year career in industry developing, launching and commercializing new technologies. Many of these technologies are now taken for granted: superconducting magnets for magnetic resonance imaging, high performance accelerator magnets for the Superconducting Super Collider, low cost power electronics for electric automobiles, high temperature power conditioning for the next generation Army tank, high power SiC switches for power utility energy management and energy efficient glass fiber drawing technology. He has held industry leadership positions at Oxford Superconducting Technology, Westinghouse, Northrop Grumman and the SCC Laboratory.
His academic career began as Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory at Cleveland State University. Subsequently Dr. Sanger started the Center for Rapid Product Realization at Western Carolina University where he linked economic development projects with regional industry with the senior capstone projects for engineering students. The industry sponsored, self-supported, multi-disciplinary senior capstone project program is one of his hallmark career accomplishments.At Purdue Dr. Sanger expanded the senior capstone projects to include international teams where Purdue students joins students from other international universities to complete a multi-cultural industry project. Partner universities have included universities from Peru, Poland, Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Dr. Sanger is passionate about his research in successful team dynamics. He is partnering with colleagues in psychology and engineering education to study whether certain aspects of an individual's personality and style of making decisions and resolving disagreement can be linked to successful team performance.
In addition to his academic passions, Dr. Sanger and his wife, Terri, have a small vineyard in North Carolina where they enjoy making wine each year. For recreation Dr. Sanger enjoys hiking, contra dancing, and basket making.