Dr. L. Dale Thomas


I hope to instill in students a passion for architecting and building systems. That passion must be accompanied by comprehensive knowledge of engineering basics and teamwork skills, as very few systems are comprised of a single engineering discipline and virtually all systems are architected and built by an engineering team."


UAH Alumnus (1988) Dr. L. Dale Thomas joined ISEEM in Fall 2015 as a full professor and was Board-appointed as the Eminent Scholar in Systems Engineering. He began his career with NASA as an aerospace engineer and by 2011 was serving as the Associate Center Director (Technical) for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center here in Huntsville; his NASA career also includes four years as Constellation Program Manager at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

In 2016, Dr. Thomas established and now leads the UAH Complex Systems Integration Laboratory (CSIL), a state-of-the-art facility for advanced systems engineering with a focus on Model-Based Systems Engineering research. Among several projects, the lab is assisting the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA MSFC) with cube satellites (CubeSats) to be deployed during the first Space Launch System in 2018.

Dr. Thomas has authored numerous technical papers and chapters in two textbooks, and served as an editor for the systems engineering textbook Applied Systems Engineering. He travels nationwide presenting elements of his research on models based systems engineering. Alongside other colleagues in UAH College of Engineering, Dr. Thomas served as a conference co-chair of the 14th Conference on Systems Engineering Research hosted by UAH in March 2016.

Video (Feb. 21, 2016): An Intersection of Needs, Trends, and Methods in Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering

Dr. L. Dale Thomas's Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Systems Engineering-Computer Engineering | Mathematics, University of Alabama-Huntsville, 1988
  • M.S., Industrial Engineering-Electronic Engineering, North Carolina State University, 1983
  • B.S.E., Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Alabama-Huntsville, 1981

Classes Taught

Recent Publications

  • R. Cox & L.D. Thomas, "Tailoring Enterprise Systems Engineering Policy for Project Scale and Complexity," Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Systems & Concurrent Engineering for Space Applications, Stuttgart, Germany, October 8- 10, 2014.
  • L.D. Thomas & E. Fry, "The National Institute for Rocket Propulsion Systems: A Status Report," Proceedings of the AIAA Space 2013 Conference & Exposition, San Diego, California, September 10-12, 2013.
  • L.D. Thomas, J. Hanley, J. Rhatigan, & D. Neubek, "NASA's Constellation Program: The Final Word," Systems Engineering, 16(1), pp. 71-86, January 2013.
  • S.G. Hanna, D. Jones, S. Creech, & L.D. Thomas, "Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (CPS) Configuration in Support of NASA's Multiple Design Reference Missions (DRMs)," Proceedings of International Conference on Space Propulsion (Space Propulsion 2012), Bordeaux, France, May 7-10, 2012.
  • B. Muirhead & L.D. Thomas, "The Art & Science of Systems Engineering of Tightly Coupled Programs," SAE Journal of Passenger Cars - Electronic and Electrical Systems, 3(2), pp. 117-130, December 2010.