Michael K. J. Milligan, PhD, PE, CAE

Executive Director
Chief Executive Officer

Michael K. J. Milligan is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

Under his leadership, the organization has increased its geographical reach and diversity, now representing 35 member societies and accredited programs in 29 countries. Prior to joining ABET in 2009, Milligan held various leadership positions in the government and in academia. He also served 24 years as a career U.S. Air Force officer.

Milligan has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.S from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and a B.S. from Michigan State University – all in electrical engineering. He also earned an M.B.A. from Western New England College, Springfield, MA, is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Colorado and Maryland and a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Milligan lives in Severna Park, MD, with his engineer wife and their two sons.

Michael R. Lightner

ABET President

Michael Lightner, PhD, is Professor and Chair of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon, and BS (highest honors), MS, University of Florida, all in Electrical Engineering. He is Co-Director of the NIDRR funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Advancing Cognitive Technologies at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Technology Director of Boulder Digital Works an innovative postgraduate digital media program. He has also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

For many years his research was focused on electronic design automation including simulation, synthesis, test, formal verification and optimization. He has also worked in signal processing, most recently on multi-rate adaptive filters. The last ten years have been spent focusing on assistive technology for people with cognitive disabilities.  In this capacity he helped found and was Associate Executive Director of the University of Colorado Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, founded with a $250M gift from Bill and Claudia Coleman.  He is currently Co-Director of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Advancing Cognitive Technologies.  In these recent roles he has worked with a variety of government agencies and NGOs, and initiated the first IEEE Conference on the Future of Assistive Technology bringing together government, academe, industry, NGOs, public interest groups, and the public to address the needs in assistive technology over the next decade.

He was made a Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to computer-aided design. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has also received the College of Engineering Max Peters Award for Outstanding Service, the inaugural John and Mercedes Peebles Innovation in Teaching Award, and the College of Engineering Hutchinson Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College. He is the chair of the advisory board to the University Faculty Teaching Excellence Program. He has received the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Medal, IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and the Distinguished Service Award from IEEE for serving as Editor of IEEE Transactions on Computer-aided Design.

Michael has a long career in IEEE including serving as President of the Circuits and Systems Society, Vice President for Technical Activities, Vice President for Publications Services and Products, the 2006 IEEE President and he is currently serving as Vice President for Educational Activities. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits, as Technical and General Chair of the International Conference on Computer-Aided Design.  He currently is the education lead for the IEEE Cloud Computing Initiative and Chair of the IEEE Committee on Earth Observations. During his time as a volunteer for IEEE he served on the IEEE Executive Committee for 6 years and 9 years on the IEEE Board of Directors.

Mary Leigh Wolfe


Mary Leigh Wolfe, Ph.D., is Professor and Assistant Department Head for Teaching, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. She teaches, conducts research and coordinates all activities for the undergraduate BSE program.

Dr. Wolfe received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Virginia Tech and the Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota. She is a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Dr. Wolfe conducts research and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on hydrologic modeling, nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control strategies and decision support tools for NPS pollution control and watershed management. With her colleagues in the Center for Watershed Studies at Virginia Tech, she has developed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and TMDL implementation plans to improve water quality in Virginia watersheds. Dr. Wolfe is currently co-PI on a USDA-CSREES funded project entitled “Community DECISIONS: Community Decision Support for Integrated, On-the-ground Nutrient Reduction Strategies for Watershed Nutrient Planning and Management.”

Dr. Wolfe also conducts research related to engineering education and is currently a co-PI on an NSF Department Level Reform Grant entitled “Reformulating General Engineering and Biological Systems Engineering Programs at Virginia Tech.” The project focuses on development and implementation of a spiral-based curriculum. Spiral learning aims to strengthen students’ understanding of the basic concepts by revisiting the concepts periodically with different contexts and with increasing sophistication throughout the curriculum. Dr. Wolfe is the U.S. project director for a student exchange and faculty mobility grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the European Commission.

She has been principal investigator for 19 projects with funding over $1.3M and co-principal investigator for 40 projects with funding over $7.2M. Dr. Wolfe has published her work in several book chapters and in journals such as Transactions of the ASABE, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, and Journal of Environmental Quality.

Dr. Wolfe is a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Foundation Board of Trustees and has previously served on the ASABE Nominating Committee, Board of Trustees, and Board of Directors. She is also a long-time member of ASABE committees including ED-204 Engineering and Technology Accreditation Committee and SW-21 Hydrology Group.

Dr. Wolfe was the chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET for the 2007-08 accreditation cycle and past-chair for the 2008-09 cycle. She began volunteering for ABET in 1991 as a program evaluator. She was elected as an EAC representative by the ASABE in 2000. Dr. Wolfe was elected to the EAC executive committee in 2003, serving as a Member At-Large from 2003-05, Vice Chair for Operations in 2005-06, and Chair-Elect in 2006-07. She has served as a program evaluator for 8 visits and served as team chair for 13 visits.

Wayne R. Bergstrom

Past President

Wayne Bergstrom was ABET 2016-2017 President. His engagement with ABET began as a program evaluator in 1993. Since then, Bergstrom has filled a variety of roles within our organization, including evaluation team chair and EAC Commissioner, where he served five years on its Criteria Committee. He served five years on the ABET Board of Directors, sitting on its Executive, Finance and Governance Committees, as well as the Global Council.

A licensed professional engineer in multiple states, Bergstrom has been granted certification as a Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering by the Academy of Geo-Professionals. He holds a BSCE degree from Michigan Technological University, a MSCE from Purdue University and a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan. A Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, he is also the 2013 recipient of ASCE’s Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Leadership Award.

Currently, Bergstrom is a Principal Engineer at Bechtel, in Frederick, Maryland. He lives with his wife in Virginia and enjoys skiing and bicycling as hobbies.