March 14, 2022 - James R. Keys Jr. has been named vice president of Southwest Research Institute’s Applied Power Division. Keys previously served as the division’s executive director.
“I am honored to continue the outstanding path my predecessors have set forth,” Keys said. “I have worked in this division since its inception. I have a great opportunity to lead this group of outstanding staff members. We have an incredible team of talented people within the division, and I am excited to continue to advance technology and help find solutions to difficult technical challenges for our clients.”
As vice president, Keys will oversee a staff of more than 175, working in three research departments: Electrical Systems, Kinetics and Industrial Technology.
“It is my goal to continue to expand our workforce, sustain their capabilities and diversify our technical fields in alignment with our clients’ strategic goals,” Keys said. “SwRI remains at the forefront of various technical fields, and our unique ability to cross collaborate and bring together diverse perspectives helps us to remain an important asset in the R&D field.”
As vice president, Keys will be responsible for identifying future areas of technical focus and the long-term financial health of the division. As executive director since 2013, Keys oversaw a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, physicists and technicians developing, designing, assembling and delivering complex, high-reliability, specialized electromechanical systems. Keys’ research interests include high-precision fabrication of specialized field-deployable electromechanical systems. He has also pursued using electronic and physics-based communications in novel media and developed independent verification and validation (IV&V) techniques for emerging technologies for government and commercial clients.
Keys holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from The University of Wisconsin — Madison, as well as an associate degree from Madison Area Technical College. Keys is a member of the American Society of Soil Science and is an Associate Professional Soil Scientist.