Steven Hoffenson


I am a mechanical and systems engineer, specializing in systems thinking, design thinking, and sustainable product development. My work extends beyond engineering: Through broad-based training and collaborations, I integrate knowledge from business, psychology, economics, and public policy to understand complex system interactions and sustainability consequences. I am passionate about solving challenging problems that lead to more efficient and sustainable business practices and societal outcomes. My experience includes academic research and teaching, collaborations with organizations to discover new knowledge and improve decision making, and public policy analysis.

As a professor, my academic research and teaching explores the ways that people design products, drawing from different disciplines to understand product development and design optimization as a multi-stakeholder system that accounts for how designers’ decisions interact with those of consumers, corporate leaders, and policy makers. I manage a laboratory for which I advise a team of student researchers, write grant proposals to attract funding, manage sponsored project budgets, and write, publish, and present results to technical and non-technical audiences. Our work is at the intersection of design, sustainability, and complexity, with research projects that focus on system integration, decision optimization, sustainability analysis, and STEM education. My curriculum vitae can be found here, listing my 22 published peer-reviewed journal papers, 43 peer-reviewed and presented conference papers, 75 student researchers advised, and 14 sponsored projects totaling over $2.25 million.

My core skills include developing strategic research portfolios, leading and managing teams, implementing design methodologies, and communicating technical concepts to broad audiences, along with technical competencies that include numerical optimization, programming, system modeling, human subject research, and statistical data analysis.