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Patrick L. Walter

Professor of Professional Practice Direct: 817.257.6318
BS Pennsylvania State University MS University of New Mexico Ph.D. Arizona State University


Patrick Walter graduated in 1965 with a BSME from The Pennsylvania State University and hired into a Component Test (shock, vibration, climatic, … and functional test) organization at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. Concurrent with his employment, he completed his MSME in 1967 at the University of New Mexico. He subsequently became a Project Leader in a flight telemetry organization and was responsible for transducer calibration as well as both transducer and flight electronics development. Among other early accomplishments, he developed some of the first high shock sensing capabilities for large caliber guns and earth penetrators. In 1976, Sandia sponsored his doctorial studies at Arizona State University (ASU) with now Professor Emeritus Peter K. Stein, founder of ASU’s Laboratory for Measurement System Engineering and Professor Harold D. Nelson, structural dynamics expert and founder of Texas Christian University’s engineering eepartment. Pat’s Ph.D. dissertation involved analyzing structural test data from the Trident I strategic missile system.

In 1978, Dr. Walter resumed full time employment at Sandia and was promoted into test management shortly thereafter. Among the many organizations/functions he supervised were Transducer Development and Calibration, Measurement Consulting, Telemetry Component Development, Telemetry System Packaging for Weapon System Stockpile Surveillance, Mass Properties, Test Facilities Development, and Precision Inertial Test System Development. In 1987 he was transferred as Supervisor Test Operations for the Kauai Test Facility, a rocket launch facility on the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Kauai, HI. Subsequently he became responsible for developing and launching rocket systems from Sandia and NASA facilities. These rocket focused activities supported President Regan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

Post Cold War (1991-1995) Dr. Walter established a joint Sandia-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program as part of the FAA’s congressionally mandated Aging Aircraft Program. He validated this program with the aircraft and engine OEMs, the Air Transport Association, and other organizations, and it remains contributory today on Albuquerque International Airport.

During his entire Sandia tenure (1965-1995), Dr. Walter’s professional focus was on flight, field, and laboratory measurements (e.g., displacement, velocity, strain, accelerations from milli-gs to > 100,000 gs, acoustic level pressures to 10’s of thousands of psi, temperature, flow, and much more) to support test and evaluation activities. His professional interests spanned the entire measurement chain: transducers, signal conditioning, acquisition systems, and end data analysis.

In 1995, Pat accepted a position in the engineering department at Texas Christian University (TCU). Professor Walter developed TCU’s Experimental Mechanics and Structural Dynamics Laboratories and established an industry based Senior Design Program focused around test, calibration, and control activities. He transferred the majority of his professional interests and contacts with him to TCU and continues to work in these areas. From 1996-2003, he consulted for Endevco Corporation, a major supplier of dynamic instrumentation. From 2003 through today he consults as Senior Measurement Specialist for PCB Piezotronics, the world’s largest supplier of dynamic instrumentation. He also consults for various aerospace and defense contractors and other organizations on test measurement applications. Through TCU’s Engineering and Extended Education Departments, he has developed a Measurements Systems Engineering short course, which he teaches nationally and internationally.

Pat is a 30+ year member of both the Society of Experimental Mechanics and the International Automation Society as well as a member of the American Society of Engineering Educators. He is also a member of IEST. He has authored one book, numerous book chapters, and well over 100 journal articles and reports. During the late 1970s he chaired a working subgroup of the Telemetry Group of the National Test Ranges. In 1989, he received both a USDOE Albuquerque Office Quality Award and a joint Certificate of Appreciation Award from Sandia Labs and Allied Signal for his work on the Trident II program. In 1990 he received an Award of Excellence from the USDOE Nuclear Weapons Program, and in 1994 he received a Meritorious Achievement Award from Sandia Labs. In 1995 (upon his retirement from Sandia), he received a letter of commendation from Senator Pete Domenici, then head of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. In 2002, Prof. Walter’s TCU engineering seniors won the Design News national competition award ($20,000). In 2006, Prof. Walter received a Commander’s coin from Aberdeen Test Center (U. S. Army) and in 2008 he received Edwards AFB Instrumentation Special Recognition coin (#19). In 2008, he was awarded the Shock and Vibration Information Analysis Committee’s (SAVIAC’s) Lifetime Achievement Award. SAVIAC represents the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Defense Treat Reduction Agency in this subject area. Most recently (2009) he was recognized as a Senior Life Member of ISA. He is a registered Professional Engineer.

Research Interests

  • Structural Dynamics
  • Sensor Technology and Instrumentation
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Experimental Mechanics
  • Mechatronics