Aris Melissaratos

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Aris Melissaratos
Born (1943-12-03) December 3, 1943 (age 75)
Galtaz, Romania
ResidenceBaltimore, Maryland
EducationJohns Hopkins University, George Washington University, Harvard Business School, Catholic University of America
OccupationBusinessman, university administrator, philanthropist, author, former government official
Years active1966-present
Known forSenior leadership positions in the Westinghouse Electric Corporation,

Business and Economic Development Secretaryship of State of Maryland,

Directorship of technology commercialization, Johns Hopkins University
Political partyDemocratic Party (United States)

Aris Melissaratos is a Romanian-born Greek-American engineer, industrialist, aerospace executive, investor, philanthropist, university administrator, author and former government official in Maryland. He served as Secretary of Business and Economic Development of Maryland from 2003 to 2007, in the administration of Governor Robert Ehrlich. From 2007 to 2013, as head of Johns Hopkins University's technology transfer activities, he directed the commercialization of the US's largest-budgeted university-based research enterprise, overseeing the conversion to private sector application of the research output of a $2.106 billion budget for medical, science and engineering research in 2012, when Johns Hopkins led US universities in research spending for the 34th consecutive year.[1] Melissaratos is currently Dean of the Brown School of Business and Leadership at Stevenson University, a private university in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Early life and education[edit]

Melissaratos was born to Greek parents in Galatz, Romania, on December 3, 1943. The following year the Soviet Union occupied Romania and implemented a process of Sovietization. In 1950 the Melissaratos family fled to Greece as refugees. In 1956 they emigrated to the US, settling in Baltimore where Melissaratos worked in, and later ran, a bakery with his father. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Science in engineering management at George Washington University, and completed the Graduate Program for Management Development at Harvard University and graduate research in international relations at Catholic University of America.[2]

Business career[edit]

In 1966 Melissaratos joined the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Over the next 25 years he occupied various positions, eventually becoming Chief Operating Officer for the corporation’s defense electronics and aerospace divisions, where he oversaw technology development, design, engineering and manufacturing operations throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Barbados, managing some 16 000 employees and a $3.2 billion annual revenue portfolio. He ended his 32-year relationship with Westinghouse as Vice President of Science and Technology and Chief Technology Officer with responsibility for research and development. He also managed the Science and Technology Center at Westinghouse's corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh. After Westinghouse's purchase of the CBS television network and the replacement of the Westinghouse brand with that of the CBS Corporation, Melissaratos left Westinghouse in 1998 (aged 55) to join Thermo Electron Corporation as Vice President of Research and Development and President and Chief Executive Officer of its wholly owned subsidiary, the Coleman Research Corporation, which had been identified by Business Week magazine as the top technology research and development firm in the US.[3] He also simultaneously became CEO of the affiliated Thermo Coleman Corporation and Thermo Information Solutions. He held these positions until 2001 when he relinquished them to focus full-time on his private technology investments, which he pursued through his companies the Armel Development Corporation, Armel Scientifics LLC, and Armel Capital Management LP. Through these entities he invested in over 40 technology ventures.[4] Melissaratos is chairman of a private think-tank, the ArMel Center for Technology and Public Policy,[5] and founded The Aris Institute, a social media website that promotes networking among technology entrepreneurs.[6]

Government service[edit]

In 2003 Melissaratos, a lifelong Democrat, was appointed Business and Economic Development Secretary of Maryland in the administration of Republican Robert Leroy "Bob" Ehrlich, Jr., who became Maryland's Governor in January that year after defeating Democratic candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Ehrlich said Melissaratos's department would be the cornerstone of his administration. Explaining his willingness to work in a Republican Cabinet, Melissaratos said he saw himself as "a bridge-builder".[7] He said the basis of his economic policy would be a focus on Maryland's universities, which he regarded as potential economic powerhouses because of their research innovation capabilities. Melissaratos was popular in the business community and when Ehrlich was defeated in his bid for gubernatorial re-election, his successor, Democrat Martin O'Malley, came under pressure to retain Melissaratos in his Cabinet. The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported that at a conference in the boardroom of First Mariner Bank, "business leader after business leader" urged O'Malley to reappoint Melissaratos, who was described as "the best marketing manager the state has had in recent memory" and as a "visionary".[8] However, Melissaratos took exception when he was asked to submit a resume to O'Malley. "Everybody in the damn state knows me," he said. "I don't need to audition for this job. The whole state sees the performance." O'Malley did not invite Melissaratos to stay on and he left his government post in January 2007.[9]

Academic administration[edit]

In February 2007 the president of Johns Hopkins University, physician and engineer William R. Brody, hired Melissaratos as his enterprise development advisor.[10] Announcing the appointment, the university noted that Melissaratos was a longtime member of the National Advisory Council of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins, and said Melissaratos would build the university's relationship with business, forging new connections between the research and corporate communities, and supervise Johns Hopkins technology transfer (commercializing the university's research output) and encourage businesses to locate at Johns Hopkins-related research parks. Brody stated that Melissaratos's "background, skills and accomplishments make him the perfect choice to serve as the university's point person for creating new linkages between Johns Hopkins and business." In 2011veteran Baltimore Sun financial columnist Jay Hancock listed Melissaratos as one of "the three smartest innovation authorities I know".[11] (The other two were economic historian Louis Galambos and Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington DC.) Melissaratos held his position at Johns Hopkins until the end of 2013, when Brody's successor, lawyer Ronald J. Daniels, appointed investor Christy Wyskiel to succeed him. Daniels said Melissaratos had had a distinguished and "wide-ranging impact on the university".[12] Melissaratos said he had introduced Wyskiel to Daniels and regarded her as a good choice for his successor.[13] Daniels announced that as of January 2014 Melissaratos would have a new role at the university as executive-in-residence at Hopkins’ Carey Business School and senior advisor to the school's Dean, Bernard T. Ferrari. Melissaratos occupied this position until July 2014 when Stevenson University announced that he was joining its Brown School of Business and Leadership as Interim Dean pending the appointment of a permanent incumbent. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Melissaratos's move to Stevenson reflected his desire for a job with "more power", particularly in academic administration.[14]


In 2009 Melissaratos co-authored the book Innovation, The Key to Prosperity: Technology and America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy with N.J. Slabbert.[15] The book criticized America for a loss of technological will and argued for a massive government-led plan to re- energize the nation's technology innovation in order to create jobs and usher in a new era of economic growth. The book was endorsed and introduced by US National Medal of Science laureate and former National Science Foundation Director Dr. Rita R. Colwell, who called it a "powerful" book and "a very strong contribution to our understanding of the global economy and the role of technology."[16] The book was praised by Thomas J. Donohue. President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, and chosen as a recommended read of both the US Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which featured Melissaratos and Slabbert's research on the need to kickstart the engineering profession as the cover story of its magazine Mechanical Engineering in June 2010, commenting on Melissaratos and Slabbert's views in an editorial.[17][18] The book appears in the bibliography of eight reports on American economic regeneration published by the US National Academy of Sciences.[19] In January 2014 Melissaratos announced that he was working on a new book setting out a vision of educational reform for America.[20]


1997 Electronic Industries Association Defense Manufacturing Excellence Award[21]

2001 Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumnus Award[22]

2007 Johns Hopkins University Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service[23]

2008 Greater Baltimore Technology Council Extraordinary Technology Advocate Award[24]

2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award[25]

2009 Baltimore Museum of Industry William Donald Schaefer Industrialist of the Year Award)[26]

2012 Corridor, Inc. (business and political magazine focusing on the Washington DC / Baltimore corridor) Person of the Year Award[27]

2013 United States Congressional Record Tribute, read from the floor of the House of Representatives by Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, honoring Melissaratos as a visionary businessman and champion of the State of Maryland, on the occasion of his 70th birthday[28]

2014 Commitment to Community award[29]

2014 Baltimore Business Journal Outstanding Director Award in recognition of excellent service as Chairman of the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation[30]

2014 Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, Inc. and Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) Legacy in Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement[31]

2014 Maryland Association of Fundraising Professionals' Philanthropist of the Year Award[32]

Personal life[edit]

Melissaratos's net worth is unpublished but he has been described as "well-heeled".[33] His 14,000-square-foot Georgian-style home on a 44-acre Maryland estate, with a pool area designed by Disney Imagineering, is a frequent venue of fundraising events for philanthropic causes.[34][35] According to Melissaratos one company in his initial $4 million investment portfolio eventually sold for $120 million.[36]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Maryland Dept. of Business and Economic Development Secretaries
  3. ^ Coleman Founder Hits Jackpot With Thermo Deal
  4. ^ Aris Melissaratos Joins JHU in Business Development Role (Office of News and Information Johns Hopkins University)
  5. ^ ArMel Scientifics Center for Technology & Public Policy!__expertise
  6. ^ Whiting School of Engineering National Advisory Council , The Aris institute
  7. ^ Ehrlich appoints economic overseer (Baltimore Sun)
  8. ^ Executives are pressing Melissaratos on O'Malley (Baltimore Sun)
  9. ^ State business chief quits (Baltimore Sun)
  10. ^ Former DBED secretary will strengthen university-corporate links (Office of News and Information Johns Hopkins University)
  11. ^ Slowing R&D spending may hurt long-term recovery (Baltimore Sun)
  12. ^ Wyskiel to lead Johns Hopkins tech commercialization, corporate relations (Johns Hopkins News Network)
  13. ^ Aris Melissaratos being replaced as Hopkins' top tech transfer adviser (Baltimore Business Journal)
  14. ^ Aris Melissaratos leaves Johns Hopkins to become an interim dean at Stevenson University (Baltimore Business Journal)
  15. ^ Thought Leader -- Ambitious Plans for Innovation and Manufacturing: Manufacturing and research expert Aris Melissaratos outlines a vision for America that combines an old-fashioned reverence for science and technology with a 21st-century path to prosperity. (Industry Week)
  16. ^ Montagu House!__bookshelf/inno-bk-acclaim
  17. ^ Engineers as visionaries: the intellectual leadership role that the engineering profession must play in reindustrializing America. (Mechanical Engineering Magazine)
  18. ^ The Time Is Now (Mechanical Engineering)
  19. ^ National Academies Press
  20. ^ Melissaratos Takes Over Reins At Stevenson University's Business And Leadership School (ArMel Scientifics Center for Technology & Public Policy)!__july-2014/january-2014
  21. ^ Maryland Department Of Business & Economic Development Secretaries
  22. ^ Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients
  23. ^ Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service Recipients
  24. ^ Aris Melissaratos Honored by Greater Baltimore Tech Council (The JHU Gazette)
  25. ^ 2009 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards
  26. ^ Aris Melissaratos, senior adviser to the president for enterprise development, will receive the 2009 William Donald Schaefer Industrialist of the Year Award from the Baltimore Museum of Industry (The JHU Gazette)
  27. ^ JHU Innovation Factory
  28. ^ Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 170 (Tuesday, December 3, 2013)
  29. ^ Paul’s Place Honors Aris Melissaratos Philanthropist to be presented with "Commitment to Community" Award (The Baltimore Times)
  30. ^ Aris Melissaratos receives BBJ's Outstanding Director Award 2014 (Baltimore Business Journal)
  31. ^ Aris Melissaratos, recipient of the 2014 Legacy In Leadership Award (Baltimore County Public Schools) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-02. Retrieved 2014-11-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Aris Melissaratos to be honored as the 2014 Philanthropist of the Year (Association of Fundraising Professionals) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-24. Retrieved 2014-11-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ Business executive Melissaratos to run development agency (The Baltimore Sun)
  34. ^ Personal Space (Baltimore Magazine)
  35. ^ Aris Melissaratos hosts Aegean Evening (Neo Magazine)
  36. ^ Aris Melissaratos tackles tech transfer at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore Business Journal)