Richard M. 'Mark' French took an unusual path to becoming a professor. He was originally trained as an aerospace engineer and spent 10 years as a civilian aerospace engineer for the US Air Force in what was then the Flight Dynamics Lab at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton OH.
Tiring of secure employment, he moved to the automotive industry in 1995. He was a test lab manager for Lear Corp. until 1999. He decided he liked technical work more than management and joined an advanced noise and vibration group at Bosch.
In 2004, he came to Purdue as an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering Technology in what was then the College of Technology.
Prof. French's areas of specialty at Purdue are industrial support, experimental mechanics and stringed instrument design. He has published three books and holds three patents. His YouTube channel, PurdueMET, has more than 6.8 million views and more than 330 videos.
In addition to typical scholarly activities, he is a member of the Guild of American Luthiers and is a regular contributor to its journal, American Lutherie. He has made dozens of guitars on his own and assisted students in making hundreds more.