Ben Linville-Engler

Certificate and Industry Director, System Design and Management
School of Engineering
Award presented by 
President Reif

We begin with the Collier Medal. This annual award, especially dear to the MIT community, is named in honor of Sean Collier, the MIT Police officer who was killed while protecting our community in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing. The Collier Medal is bestowed upon a person who embodies Sean's open-hearted kindness and dedication to serving our community.

The 2021 recipient is: Ben Linville-Engler.

Ben is the Certificate and Industry Director in MIT’s System Design and Management program. When his students dream up plans for a new medical device that will change lives, Ben helps them understand the critical steps that innovators often miss…like quality management and regulatory strategy.

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ben’s expertise was required well beyond the classroom. Massachusetts desperately needed PPE to keep healthcare workers safe, and hundreds of manufacturers across MIT and the Commonwealth rallied to help. But, like his students, many had gaps in their understanding of how to get their products into the hands of frontline workers. Ben volunteered to fill these gaps.

And then he began working, as one colleague notes, "what appeared to be literally around the clock."

Joining the state's Manufacturing Emergency Response Team, Ben became the liaison to the FDA, keeping up with constantly changing regulations. He helped manufacturers pivot from making running shoes, dress shirts or greeting cards… to producing ventilators, face masks and medical gowns. Colleagues praise his collaborative, inclusive leadership…talent for building strong coalitions across academia, industry and government…and expertise in clearing the way for emergency supplies to reach people in need.

Massachusetts is now seen as a model for how to launch a large, diverse manufacturing response to a pandemic—and Ben’s leadership has been instrumental in that success.

To put it simply: Ben helped save lives. He also saved jobs…through his efforts, more than 1,200 people returned to work or were hired for new positions.

And he did all this while he and his wife were caring for their one-year-old son at home.

The sweeping impact of Ben’s work may be impossible to quantify, but his ingenuity… determination… and tireless commitment to serving others are impossible to ignore.

Ben, on behalf of a grateful community, I am honored to present you with the Collier Medal.

Thank you, team, for your incredible dedication. And congratulations!