Michael K.J. Milligan

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 & natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

Under his leadership, the organization has increased its geographical reach and diversity, now representing 36 member societies and accredited programs in 32 countries. Prior to joining ABET in 2009, Milligan held various leadership positions in government and academia. He also served 24 years as a career U.S. Air Force officer.

Milligan has a doctorate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and a bachelor’s from Michigan State University—all in electrical engineering. He also earned an M.B.A. from Western New England College, 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.

Mary Leigh Wolfe

ABET President

Mary Leigh Wolfe is professor of  biological systems engineering (BSE) at Virginia Tech. She has dedicated many years to serving the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). This includes holding positions such as member on the ASABE Nominating Committee, Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, as well as the 2015-2016 ASABE president.

Wolfe began volunteering for ABET in 1991 as a Program Evaluator. Since then, she has participated at every level of ABET accreditation, including serving as 2007-2008 chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission.

She has represented the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) on the ABET Board of Directors since 2010.

Wolfe received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech and her doctorate in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota. She is a fellow of ABET, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

David P. Kelly



David Kelly is CEO & CTO of InnovaSea. He is responsible for setting InnovaSea’s overall strategy and leading the research and development efforts to create advanced open ocean aquaculture farming systems. InnovaSea is dedicated to supporting open-ocean aquaculture businesses by producing innovative, environmentally-focused, sustainable technologies and service solutions for the industry.

Prior to InnovaSea, David was the President and CEO of Bluefin Robotics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Battelle. He was responsible for the strategic direction and operational execution of the business. Bluefin Robotics is a full life-cycle provider of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and related marine robotics technology to government, commercial and academic clients worldwide. Prior to Bluefin, David worked for 20 years at Raytheon and Texas Instruments as an engineering manager and engineer developing advanced, defense electronics systems.

David is a senior executive and technologist with over 30 years of comprehensive, hands-on experience in early-stage high tech companies and in Fortune 50 high tech firms. He has full life-cycle experience with robotics systems, information technology, and defense electronics.

David holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He is a senior member of IEEE, and a member of ACM.

David has been involved with accreditation since 1995. He has served as a Program Evaluator, Team Chair, Commissioner, at-large Executive Committee member, and in all the officer positions in the Computing Commission officer chain—serving as CAC Chair during the 2009-10 cycle. He has served on the ABET Board of Directors since 2011 and has acted as the Board Liaison to the Computing Accreditation Commission for three of those years. He has served on the Audit Committee from 2013 through 2017 and was on the Finance Committee in 2018. He was elected a CSAB Fellow in 2012, and an ABET Fellow in 2014. He was elected President-Elect of ABET in 2018.

Michael R. Lightner

Past President

Michael R. Lightner, Ph.D., is professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he has been on faculty since 1981. In addition, 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 is technology director of Boulder Digital Works. He has also served as associate dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Lightner is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and IEEE. He has been a member and volunteer at IEEE for 47 years and has held several leadership roles, including serving as 2006 IEEE president.

A member of the ABET Board of Directors since 2008, his various positions have included five years as ABET Director from IEEE and two years as ABET secretary. He has served on several committees, including Audit (member, then chair), Governance (chair), ad hoc Governance Group and ad hoc Rules of Procedure of the Board of Delegates. Lightner received his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Florida, and his doctorate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, all in electrical engineering.