Sung Jin Kim

Sung Jin Kim

Technology Director, Corporate Research Center, Midea Group, CHINA
PhD ME 1992

For his outstanding and innovative technical leadership, designing multiple award-winning products in the international appliance business which opened up new markets.

According to Sung Jin Kim, no matter the task given to an engineer, it entails finding the best solution with limited human resources, budget, and time.

“I have been with many different industries, including appliances, gas turbines, medical imaging equipment, and industrial robots,” he said, and the conclusion is always the same. “To become a successful engineer, you must have a comprehensive technological understanding of your project.”

He credits Purdue for “not just a theoretical but very practical” approach to becoming a well-rounded engineer.

Since joining China’s Midea Group Corporate Research Center (CRC), the largest manufacturer of major domestic appliances in the world, Kim has supervised and mentored more than 300 projects with the average product implementation rate passing the 50 percent mark. Under his leadership, 398 patents have been granted, and the Chinese government has certified 15 new technology introductions at “Leading the World” level. In Kim’s role as technology director, he has doubled the number of R&D engineers to 500, including six Purdue Mechanical Engineering PhDs, all trained in the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories.

Still closely tied to Purdue, he has sponsored more than $1 million of research in the School of Mechanical Engineering, which, in 2008, honored him with the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award.

Before joining Midea, Kim enjoyed a lucrative 10-year career as vice president of the Washing Machine R&D Team in Korea’s Samsung Electronics digital appliances business, eventually rising to the position of senior vice president. There, he grew the business by more than 500 percent, from approximately $800 million to $4 billion in sales, and was responsible for the first Samsung horizontal axis washing machine introduced in the American market. At the time, the machine was recognized as the quietest of its type, earning it the International Consumer Electronics Association’s 2007 Innovation Award. The Korean model received the highly esteemed Industrial Research 52 Award, an honor so highly coveted that it also is known as the Jang Young-Shil Award, named after one of the greatest inventors in Korean history.

Earlier in his career, Kim was an adjunct mechanical engineering professor at Pusan National University in Korea, was recruited to join the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, as a lead engineer, and served as chief engineer and team leader of the Noise and Vibration Team in LG Electronics’ Living System Research Laboratory in Korea. Two years before leaving LG, he was promoted to the director level, becoming the youngest person in the company to achieve that distinction.

In assessing his Purdue experience, Kim said he walked away with both his PhD and the confidence to prosper as a global citizen.

“Purdue provided a wonderful environment of diversity, including multi-national professors and students from many countries. I was able to grow into an engineer with an international sense by meeting, talking, and discussing various topics with professors and students from around the world,” Kim said.

Those connections to faculty are still prevalent.  His favorite professors were J. Stuart Bolton and Patricia Davies.  “We became very good friends at Purdue and have maintained close contact since then,” he said. “I made my daughter’s name Patricia Kim because I wished my daughter to be as smart as Professor Patricia Davies.”

Career Highlights

2017-present Technology Director, Corporate Research Center, Midea Group, CHINA
2004-2014 Senior Vice President, Director of Laundry Products R&D, Digital Appliance Business, Samsung Electronics, KOREA
2000-2003 Senior Mechanical Engineer, Engineering Mechanics Laboratory, Corporate R&D, General Electric
1983-1999 Chief Engineer, Noise and Vibration Team Leader, Living Systems Research Laboratory, KOREA
1996-1999 Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Pusan National University, KOREA


1983 BS Mechanical Engineering, YonSei University, KOREA
1985 MS Mechanical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, KOREA
1992 PhD Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University