THE 2021 SIF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Engineer, Professor, Designer, Inventor
Joseph Mele is a designer, inventor, and entrepreneur with three engineering degrees. His experience and enthusiasm for creative design has developed a revolutionary concept in the forging industry. This concept resulted in the development of the Meleform process, which can be applied to many industries including aviation, automotive, shipbuilding, and civil structures.
At the age of 16, Mele was accepted to the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute where he studied to be an Aeronautical Engineer. After graduation, he continued on at Brooklyn Polytechnic and received Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. For two years as an instructor at Brooklyn Polytechnic, he taught Strength of Materials and was also the lead Wind Tunnel Operator in the Aeronautical Laboratory. While studying for his degree in Applied Mechanics, he authored an NACA report entitled, The Instability of Aluminum Monocoque Structures.
His first commercial job was with Grumman Aerospace Corporation. He started as a tooling engineer and eventually became Director of Manufacturing Research. While employed at Grumman, Mele was an adjunct instructor for seven years at Farmingdale State College, State University of New York, teaching two plastic technology courses. Upon completing his career at Grumman, he assumed a full-time position as Professor of Manufacturing Technology at the New York State College at Farmingdale.
Upon his retirement, he worked on a project to reduce the cost and waste of machining forgings to final shape. The effort resulted in obtaining a patent for the Meleform Process. This development makes it possible to fabricate parts to Final Shape without any machining required. For his next project, he worked on a system using Isogrid Panels to capture the wind more efficiently than conventional Fiberglass Turbines for creating electrical power. He also holds a patent for this process.
He developed a new concept in bridge technology for a bridge without any rivets, gusset plates, catenary, or hanging cables. It is a system of creating bridge modules of Monolithic Isogrid Aluminum or Titanium Monocoque Structures built on the ground and lifted up to bridge assembly. He is currently developing his design for the Flo-Forge machinery, which would revolutionize the process for building aircraft parts.
Mele spent most of his life in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and he currently resides in New Bern, North Carolina. A long-time devoted member of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, Mele was honored for his achievements by the Grand Lodge of New York in 2013.