James J. Hudgens, Ph.D., is the director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and senior vice president of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Hudgens leads over 2,700 employees conducting $663 million in research across a broad range of technological fields that focus on solving critical challenges for government, state, and industry sponsors. Founded in 1934, GTRI is the nonprofit applied research division of Georgia Tech, with eight laboratories embedded in 18 locations around the country, performing groundbreaking research and engineering advanced prototyping systems. Hudgens oversees research that spans a variety of disciplines, including autonomous systems, cybersecurity, electromagnetics, electronic warfare, modeling and simulation, sensors, systems engineering, test and evaluation, and threat systems.
Before joining Georgia Tech, Hudgens was the director of the $265 million-per-year Threat Intelligence Center (TIC) at Sandia National Laboratories, where he led award-winning Information Operations and Proliferation Assessments programs for the National Security Program Division. Hudgens initially established the TIC by consolidating two pre-existing centers and programs. His direction increased revenues for Sandia and enabled new capabilities in the cyber and proliferation assessment sectors through partnerships with other national labs, federal agencies, and universities.
Prior to his promotion to director of TIC, Hudgens directed the Information Systems Analysis Center (ISAC), where he managed cyber research and development (R&D) for the Department of Defense and intelligence community. During his two years in the position, he facilitated the launch of a virtual CyberPARC Integration Center, established a Mission Analytics Group, increased technology development capabilities, and arranged a partnership with a major university for genomic security research.
In earlier roles at Sandia, Hudgens served in several leadership positions across the organization. As senior manager of the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Systems department and deputy director of the Surveillance and Reconnaissance program, Hudgens led the high-profile Copperhead program that encompassed innovation in Synthetic Aperture Radar, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, ground station, data analysis, and communication solutions utilized in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the development of advanced radar systems for the Navy, Air Force, and Army. In 2013, he won the Department of Energy Secretary’s Honor Award for Achievement for leading the Copperhead counter-IED program. His other roles included manager of Photonic Microsystems Technologies, where he created and launched Quantum Information Sciences and Atomic Physics programs, and principal member of Technical Staff. While at Sandia, Hudgens built a reputation for strategic program development, delivered critical projects and programs, and contributed to improvements in national security.
Before joining Sandia, Hudgens held engineering and management roles at Raytheon Electronic Systems, Mahi Networks, and Texas Instruments, overseeing the research and development of infrared imaging, optical technology, and optical networking systems.
Hudgens has led national security research for over 23 years, holds a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering and a B.S. in ceramic engineering from Iowa State University, and has numerous publications and presentations to his credit. Now focused on “Creating the Next” wave of advanced technological solutions at one of the nation’s leading research institutions, Hudgens continues to be recognized as a high-level thought leader with a focus on transformation, innovation, and growth.