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Publications in VIVO

Thomas, John E.

Scholar In Residence


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • John is passionate about the promise of a sustainable and resilient life experience for future generations. His research interests explore the boundaries of engineering and social science to understand the dynamic relationships between human resilience, psychological development, and the resilience of complex socio-technical systems like critical infrastructure supporting community well-being including energy, water, transportation, communications and cyber-security. Areas of focus include the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dimensions, capacities, and adaptive processes impacting how humans interact with and depend on complex technological systems amid natural / man-made disasters and catastrophic system failures. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of Resilience Engineering Institute—an organization dedicated to the dissemination of resilience knowledge, tools, and resources.


  • resilience, critical infrastructure, critical infrastructure resilience, human resilience, socio-technical systems, socio-ecological systems, community resilience, sustainable engineering, resilience engineering, entrepreneurship, digital transformation


selected publications


courses taught

  • EMEA 5091 - Getting Started with Startups
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023 / Summer 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    This course will introduce the contemporary practice of entrepreneurship for engineers. Students will identify their driving purpose for creating a new startup and explore the fundamental tools and practice of entrepreneurship. They will develop the knowledge and skills for thinking and acting like an entrepreneur and gain insight about how to recognize new opportunities. The tools, resources, and methods introduced can be used to generate new product and service ideas that address real customer needs.
  • EMEA 5092 - Creating a Startup Business
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023 / Summer 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    This course will examine the core elements that make up the inner and outer workings of a startup company. Students will learn how to define, research, and segment markets and use that knowledge to develop viable business and revenue models. The models will be used to construct pro forma financial statements suitable for potential investors. Students will gain the knowledge and skills to build networks and teams and create a lean business plan of operations.
  • EMEA 5093 - Forming, Funding and Launching a Startup Company
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2023 / Summer 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    This course explores the key steps and processes involved with forming, funding, and launching a startup company. Students will learn about funding options and how to interpret investor needs and requirements. They will gain the knowledge and skills needed for creating and presenting viable business plans to potential investors. Students will explore topics related to company formation, legal issues relevant to startups, and map the key steps to launching, growing, and exiting a startup company.
  • EMEN 4050 - Leadership and Professional Skills
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Accelerate your personal and professional growth with the essential skills required to become an effective leader/manager. Conduct personal development through exercises in communication and leadership effectiveness. Explore leadership styles, managing commitments, change management, negotiation, conflict resolution, organizational culture, emotional intelligence, team dynamics and business ethics.
  • EMEN 4830 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022
    May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.
  • EMEN 5020 - Finance and Accounting for Engineering Managers
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Summer 2021 / Fall 2021 / Summer 2022 / Spring 2023 / Summer 2023 / Fall 2023
    Confidently engage in topics of financial performance, financial statements, time value of money and your own personal finances.' The course focuses on areas relevant to engineering and technical managers, including product and process cost analyses, cost-volume-profitability calculations, discounted cash flow techniques for project selection, creating project and departmental budgets, valuation of intellectual property and entrepreneurial finance.
  • EMEN 5094 - Entrepreneurship for Engineers
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Explores the process of new venture creation as it relates to both launching a technology-based startup (entrepreneurship), and the introduction of new products and services within an existing firm (intrapreneurship). The course features a semester project that incorporates all elements of the new venture process, enabling engineers to transform their own innovative ideas into viable and sustainable business opportunities.
  • EMEN 5230 - Resilience Engineering and Leadership in Crisis
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2024
    This course examines the qualities, concepts, and methodologies of resilience leadership amid conditions of chaos, uncertainty, and catastrophic breakdowns of complex social, ecological, and technological systems. The curriculum draws on topics from resilience policy, resilience engineering, crisis leadership, contemporary literature, and current events. These components collectively build a comprehensive understanding of resilience as a dynamic blend of processes embedded within and across complex systems like critical infrastructure essential to public health, safety, security, and well-being.
  • EMEN 5400 - Product Development and Design
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2024
    Introduces contemporary methods of identifying and creating new products and services that both consumer and industrial customers really want. The course takes students on a project-based journey of ideation, concept development, prototyping, customer validation, costs and the new product launch process. Students ultimately showcase their products in a tradeshow-like setting. Environmental impact analyses and cradle-to-cradle design methods are also addressed.
  • EMEN 5830 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    May be repeated up to 9 credit hours.
  • ENVM 5002 - Analyzing Socio-Environmental Systems
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2022
    Learn to use a 'systems thinking' approach to address complex environmental challenges. The objective is to introduce students to thinking about environmental challenges in a holistic manner, helping them to understand the connectivity between different parts of the same system and to identify the synergies and trade-offs contained within most socio-environmental systems.


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