D.W. Spence

James Nagle

Establishment of TEES

TEES was established on August 25, 1914, by the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas’ board of directors to conduct engineering research to help build a better society. Its mission was to undertake research that would produce answers to urban difficulties, thus enhancing the quality of life in Texas.

Responding to National Need

The agency's creation coincided with the automobile boom of the early 1900s when the number of cars increased from 15,000 in 1901 to 3 million in 1916 and only 10% of the nation's 2.6 million miles of road were surfaced.

TEES responded to the cries for better roads by creating a series of printed bulletins on the best ways to build highways, culverts and bridges. These were widely used by the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation. These early research efforts eventually spawned the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).


E.J. Fermier

F.C. Bolton

Interest in scientific research emerged with the end of World War I in 1919. Americans wanted technology implemented to help them in their everyday life. The country entered a new industrial revolution with automobiles leading the way. Industries such as rubber, glass, fabrics, petroleum, tourism and agriculture emerged.

First Appropriation of State Money

Staffed only with volunteers, TEES continued its highway research and investigations into rural electricity needs and urban sewage disposal. It wasn't until 1921 that TEES received state funding, taking in $6,000 for 1921-1922.

Earning Research Money

F.C. Bolton, TEES director as well as the college’s dean of engineering, set out to earn research money rather than wait for it to be appropriated.

“We felt that since we didn’t have the funds to employ men to carry on the work, little could be done. However, we have turned over a new leaf and are not going to wait for more funds, but are going to show results with what we have and then ask for funds to carry on greater work...” - F.C. Bolton


F.E. Giesecke

Weathering the Great Depression

Not impervious to the effects of the Great Depression, TEES' budget shrank from $15,600 in 1932 to $1,900 in 1933, resulting in wilting research efforts and publications.

However, the Depression years benefited TEES. The legislature gave the Agricultural and Mechanical College access to a permanent university fund that contained revenue earmarked for use by land-grant colleges. This fund allowed the college to spend $3 million on capital improvements between 1929-1937 -- more than it had spent in the previous 50 years. TEES used the college's construction boom as a focus for research as overseeing these improvements for the college was TEES Director F. E. Giesecke.

Every major capital improvement undertaken by the university involved TEES. TEES did studies on building foundations, materials, heating and ventilation systems, air conditioning equipment, water supply and sewage treatment facilities.

New Facilities Established

Cotton Fiber Testing Lab (1937) - Began to aid the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to help bring electricity to rural and farm areas.

Fan Testing Lab

Energy Systems Lab (1939)

Finishing Strong

At the close of the 1930s TEES was stronger than any time in its history. Its budget increased from $1,900 in 1933 to $40,000 in 1939, and the agency established several significant research thrusts.


Gibb Gilchrist

H.W. Barlow

World War II completely altered the picture of engineering college research as the government turned to its institutions of higher education by awarding a great number of defense contracts to university research. Before the war, TEES pursued research of rural electrification, attic fans and sewage treatment, and bulletins on these topics were in high demand. TEES research projects were curtailed until the end of the war in 1945 because a number of researchers served in the war.

Branching Out

During the 1940s TEES branched out into petroleum refining and school architecture. In fact, the success of its school architecture project led to the design of a multimedia package in 1948 that included a 16-millimeter color film entitled Building for Learning. The film circulated nationwide and was in constant demand until 1960, when it was retired due to excessive wear.

Developing the Crop Duster Airplane

In 1949 TEES, along with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, began developing a crop dusting, spraying, seeding and fertilizing aircraft which later went into production and is still used for crop dusting planes.


John C. Calhoun

Aaron Rose

Fred J. Benson

After watching the Soviet Union launch the first man-made object into orbit, Americans felt a strong need to emphasize math, science and engineering in our public education system. At the same time, money began to flow into research as federal research expenditures doubled and basic scientific research funds tripled.

Introduction of Cutting-Edge Technology

The 1950s were a pivotal time for TEES and the agency became involved in cutting-edge technology. TEES' first venture into high technology involved computers. TEES acquired an IBM 650 digital computer and an IBM 709 in the late 1950s and created a Data Processing Center which brought the age of computerization to Texas A&M and allowed data processing courses to be offered for the first time.

Nuclear Science and Engineering

TEES also branched into nuclear science and engineering, constructing an AGN 201 nuclear reactor for training and research into the fields of isotopes and radiation safety. Efforts grew from there to obtain a more sophisticated reactor to address agriculture, industry, veterinary and human medicine.

Establishment of New Facilities

Nuclear Science Institute (1958)

Texas Transportation Institute (1959)

TEES Data Processing Center


Archie M. Kahan

Fred J. Benson

Fueled by the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, TEES expanded its space research to aid the U.S. progress and established the Space Technology Division in 1962. TEES’ research had contributed to the technological success of Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin’s walk on the moon in 1969.

Bioengineering Research

During the 1960s, TEES began research in bioengineering to help develop prosthetics and other artificial devices.

New Labs, Centers and Divisions Established

Space Technology Division (1962)

Electric Power & Power Electronics Institute (1964)

Remote Sensing Center (1968) - established for the development of microwave equipment for information gathering tasks by satellites. This center also did air and water quality monitoring as well as forest fire and oil spill detection.

Highway Safety Research Center (1968)

Center for Dredging Studies (1968)

Coastal Engineering Lab (1968)

Solid-State Electronics Lab (1969)


Fred J. Benson

The 1970s presented many challenges in the way of pollution, energy shortages, world hunger, fierce economic competiveness and transportation problems.

Responding to National Need with New Research Labs and Centers

Food Protein Research and Development Center (1971) - established to examine cottonseed, fish, sunflowers, sesame seeds and peanuts as alternative sources of food protein. This allowed U.N. sponsored university grad students to attend Texas A&M and conduct research projects as part of their degree programs.

Texas Occupational Health and Safety Institute (1971)

Turbo Machinery Lab (1971) - The creation of the Turbo Machinery Lab improved performance and life of power equipment to help industry save on energy costs.

Center for Urban Programs (1973)

Prairie View Engineering Research Center (1979)


Herb H. Richardson

The 1980s was a time of wide-ranging expansion for TEES. With a budget of $36 million and the addition of five new divisions and 11 new centers, TEES expanded its scope to worldwide engineering research problems while still keeping an eye on regional needs.


1989 - TEES formally recognized as a statewide research and technology agency by the 71st Texas Legislature.

Creation of Head-Master - A computer program for teachers to make detailed lesson plans and track student performance.

TEES identified $20 million (10% of state’s energy budget) in annual savings opportunities at state agencies.

Texas A&M and Texas partnered to create the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Offshore Technology. Managed by TEES, this was the first ERC in the southwest.

Five New Divisions Established

UT Arlington

UT El Paso

UT San Antonio

Texas A&I University

Lamar University

11 Divisions Created

Marine Geotechnical Engineering (1980)

Crisman Institute for Petroleum Research (1984)

Space Research Center (1985)

Center for Electrochemical Systems & Hydrogen Research (1985)

Center for Space Power (1987)

Center for Studies of Clusters and Microparticles (1987)

Thomas A. Read Center for Distribution Research (1987)

Hazardous Waste Research Center (1987)

Hazardous Reduction and Recovery Center (1988)

Space Power Institute (1989)

Offshore Technology Research Center (1989)


K.L. Peddicord

C. Roland Haden

The 1990s brought a focus on developing women and minority engineers and scientists. During this time, TEES received $11 million for funding programs encouraging women and minorities in engineering, math and science.


1996 - Two TEES inventions won R&D 100 Awards and one of five Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for innovative technologies that help the environment:

1. A material that cleans radioactive waste - created by Rayford Anthony and C.V. Phillip in conjunction with Sandia National Lab and UOP Co.

2. Digital feed monitor that detects broken overhead power lines - created by B. Don Russell, Carl Brenner, and M. Michael Aucoin. Manufactured by G.E.

3. Turning waste into animal feed, industrial chemicals and fuel - created by Dr. Mark Holtzapple.

24 Centers Established

Center for Electronic Materials, Devices and Systems (1990)

Center for Mechanics and Control (1990)

Environmental Excellence Center (1991)

Innovation and Design in Engineering (1992)

Mechanics of Composites (1992)

Nanostructure Material and Quantum Device Fabrication (1992)

Thermodynamics Research Center (1992)

Sustainable Enterprise Institute (1992)

Manufacturing Systems (1992)

Scientific Computation (1992)

Center for Oil Spill Technology (1992)

Center for Asphalt and Material Chemistry (1992)

Polymer Technology Center (1993)

Infrastructure Engineering (1993)

Center for Telecommunications Technology Management (1993)

Texas Center for Applied Technology (1994)

Mark Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center (1995)

Center for the Study of Digital Libraries (1995)

Ergonomics Center (1996)

Telecommunications and Information Technologies (1997)

Analog and Mixed Signal Center (1998)

Spacecraft Technology Center (1998)

Aerospace Vehicle System Institute (1998)

Center for Community Support (1999)


G. Kemble Bennett
2002-2007, 2009-2011

Kenneth L. Peddicord

As technology became more sophisticated and readily available, TEES continued to be a leader in engineering innovation, research and training.

9 Centers & Institutions Established

Biomedical Imaging and Sensing Engineering Center (2001)

Intelligent Bio-Nano Materials & Structures for Aerospace Vehicles Institute (2002)

Texas Institute for Intelligent Bio-Nano Materials & Structures for Aerospace Vehicles Institute (2002)

Dynamic Systems & Control (2002)

Space Engineering Institute (2003)

Aerospace Design, Safety/Security & Integration Center (2003)

Center for Large-Scale Scientific Computing (2006)

Nuclear Security Science & Policy Institute (2006)

Institute for National Security Education & Research (2007)


N.K. Anand (Interim)

M. Katherine Banks

TEES continues to push ahead into research into alternative energy, and the Wind Energy Center becomes the first established center under the Texas A&M Energy Institute. Its mission is to work collaboratively in all research areas of wind energy through partnerships with wind energy companies, government agencies, national labs and TEES institutes. Construction also begins on the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing and TEES is awarded $22.7 million for bio manufacturing workforce training.

7 Centers & Institutions Established

National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (2010)

Wind Energy Center (2010)

Water Conservation & Technology Center (2012)

Center for Emergency Informatics (2012)

Smart Grid Center (2012)

National Corrosion Center (2013)

Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (2013)

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