Jeffrey Graves

Jeffrey Graves

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, MTS SYSTEMS CORP.

For strong corporate and global leadership and management practices in the materials engineering industry by contributing to worldwide technology growth, improved operational efficiencies, manufacturing productivity, and the higher performance of metals and composites.

The unique determination that Jeff Graves brings to his professional life is clearly evident in his consistent success throughout a 30-year career. In the past six years at MTS Systems Corp., Graves led 3,000 employees to a 48 percent increase in revenue that included a threefold increase in profitability for the corporation’s sensor components businesses.

“True success, in a career or in your personal life, is not a result of heroic, short-term efforts, but, rather, consistent, day-to-day focus and drive for progress,” Graves says, in offering advice to Purdue undergraduates. “Before you know it, you will look back and realize you have climbed the mountain, and the view is even more beautiful than you imagined!”

The view that Graves sees today includes a resume of successful full-time leadership in five companies as well as membership on the boards of directors for others. He has been honored for his distinguished career by Purdue and the University of Wisconsin as well as by the American Society for Metals. He also received the Howmet Award for Excellence in Metallurgy very early in his career.

Graves modestly admits that his success did not come without some failure very early on. “After a dismal academic performance my freshman year, I had to decide if I was really committed to becoming an engineer,” he recalls.

After leaving “chagrined” from a meeting with a pessimistic academic advisor who advised him to just get through his sophomore year, Graves says he got very serious about his future. “I reflected on the prior 12 months; thought about my goals in life and decided that I really did want to be an engineer, and have the option for a career in research,” he says. “From that day onward, I focused each day on simple, fundamental execution ... going to class, taking good notes, reviewing them, completing assignments on time and to the absolute best of my abilities.”

Graves says the momentum of his resolve resulted in a GPA strong enough to give him several options for graduate school.

“I left Purdue with not only an excellent academic grounding but also an ability to write and speak in public forums,” he says. “That helped a great deal in building and leading teams later in life.”

Everyone has setbacks, failures and occasional tragedies in their lives. Be strong in your faith, clear in your priorities and drive forward with determination each day. You will ultimately prevail.”

Jeffrey Graves

Career Highlights

2012-present President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, MTS Systems Corporation
2005-2012 President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, C&D Technologies Corporation
2003-2005 Chief Executive Officer and Director, KEMET Electronics Corporation
2001-2003 President and Chief Operating Officer, KEMET Electronics Corporation
1996-2001 Various management positions, General Electric Company, GE Power Systems
1994-1996 Program Manager, Physical Metallurgy Lab, General Electric Company, Corporate Research and Development Center
1990-1994 Program Manager, Materials Science, Science Center, Rockwell International Corporation
1989-1990 Manager, Advanced Metals and Composites, Howmet Corporation
1987-1989 Staff Scientist, Materials Science, Science Center, Rockwell International Corporation


1983 BSMetE, Purdue University
1985 MSMetE, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1987 PhD MetE, University of Wisconsin-Madison