Welcome to Leon M.Tolbert's Website


Leon M. Tolbert received his Bachelor's of Electrical Engineering with highest honors in 1989, his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1991, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1999 from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.

He joined the Engineering Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1991 and worked on several electrical distribution and power quality projects at the three U.S. Department of Energy plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1997, he became a Research Engineer in the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center (PEEMRC) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Some of his projects included thermal and efficiency modeling for hybrid electric vehicles, development of multilevel inverter PWM methods, and testing methods to approximate electric machine efficiency.

In 1999, he was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he is presently the Min H. Kao Professor in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He served as the Department Head from 2013 through 2018. He does research in the areas of power electronics, application of WBG (SiC and GaN) power devices, multilevel converters, electric vehicles, interface with renewable and distributed energy resources, and reactive power compensation and active filters. He is a founding member and thrust leader for CURENT, the NSF/DOE Engineering Research Center established at UT in 2011. He is also a faculty member in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE) .

Dr. Tolbert is also an adjunct participant at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Tennessee, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the IEEE Industry Applications Society, IEEE Power Electronics Society, IEEE Power and Energy Society, and IEEE Industrial Electronics Society. He was the Review Chair for the Industry Power Converter Committee of the IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications from 2014-2017. He was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics from 2007 - 2012, and was elected to be an At-Large Member of the IEEE Power Electronics Society Advisory Committee for 2010 - 2012. He was the Membership Chair for the IEEE Power Electronics Society from 2011-2012. He was the chairman of the Education Activities Committee of the IEEE Power Electronics Society from 2003-2007. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the 2001 IEEE Industry Applications Society Outstanding Young Member Award. He has had six prize papers: second prize in 1992, first prize in 2006, and second prize in 2013 from the IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, and a prize paper in 2009 from the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. He has received the following awards at The University of Tennessee: the Charles Ferris Faculty Award in 2019, Moses A. and Mayme Brooks Distinguished Professor Award in 2010, Engineering Research Fellow Award in 2003, 2007, 2012, 2013, and 2017; Chancellor's Citation for Research and Creative Achievement in 2016, Chancellor's Multidisciplinary Research Award in 2012, and Chancellor's Citation for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement in 2003.

Contact Information

520 Min H. Kao Bldg
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-2250
e-mail: tolbert@utk.edu


Phone: (865) 974-2881

Fax: (865) 974-5483