thumbnail group

Connect With Us:

ME Channels / SME Speaks

SME Speaks: SME: The Year in Review

Throughout the year, the SME Speaks guest editorials that appear in this magazine have offered you a glimpse into the complex world that is SME. Being a complex organization—with a Neil A. Duffiecore of strong, loyal members—allows the Society to do what it does best: transfer manufacturing knowledge to knowledge seekers. We do this through our Education Foundation, events (Canadian and US), Technical Community Network, local chapters, publications, and professional development (training and certification). As I begin to close out my term as the 2008 SME President, I thought it would be an opportune time to reflect back on the success that the Society, its volunteers, and staff experienced in 2008, especially in the areas that I mentioned above.

You often hear us speak about knowledge transfer, which is obviously an important topic for the Society, and one area where we hope to succeed in the most. Each year, SME, through the SME Education Foundation, has the ability to influence the lives of young students by introducing them to the world of math, science, and engineering. Over the years, the Gateway Academies have grown and flourished under the direction of the Education Foundation and its partner, Project Lead the Way®. For example, in 2006, four Gateway Academy programs were held in two states; in 2008, there were 170 academies held in 26 states—these academies were attended by more than 3000 students. As you know, one of our greatest assets is our future generations. Each year, by exposing more and more young people to the world of science and engineering, the SME Education Foundation is enhancing and strengthening the future of manufacturing itself. In addition, the SME Education Foundation recently received a finalist award from Automation Alley for having the "Best Educational Program of the Year" at the 2008 Automation Alley Awards Gala. The award honored the Foundation for its dedication to the advancement of K-16 manufacturing education—specifically the Gateway Academies, its Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camp (STEPS), and for providing more than $27 million to youth programs, scholarships, and awards. 

When speaking of education and successful knowledge transfer, it is important to note that the current generation of engineers is seeking knowledge and improving their skill sets through SME's Certification program. Since the Certification program was implemented in 1972, more than 35,000 individuals have been certified by SME. In 2008, this area has seen significant growth, especially in the area of Lean Certification where there are approximately 3200 candidates "in process" to become Lean Certified. I can't say enough about how important becoming certified is to you as a manufacturing professional. Each certification that you achieve is essentially a map of your career achievements and a testament to your manufacturing knowledge, knowledge you can share with others. Many of SME's local chapters have been actively involved in hosting certification review programs in their areas, which helps keep continuing education in the forefront for SME members and the local manufacturing community.

With continuing education and our chapters' dedication to helping others succeed comes the knowledge that one of the Society's biggest strengths is its members. In 2007, SME celebrated its 75th anniversary, and this year Dayton Chapter 18 and Cincinnati Chapter 21 are celebrating their 70th anniversaries. The longevity of SME Chapters tells us that SME members value the professional connections and camaraderie that their membership in the Society brings. This year, for the first time in 15 years, the Society has seen its membership numbers begin to stabilize—a real success in these tough economic times.

Behind the scenes, improvements and strategic changes have been made to many of our internal processes and governance procedures. There is now a closer relationship between governance and membership, and our Board of Directors has approved our new Strategic Plan 2012. Besides guiding us in the coming years, mechanisms are in place for regularly updating the Plan and using it to set priorities and agendas for both volunteers and staff. Members can also expect to see more SME staff out in the field, connecting with local chapters and technical communities, and helping to facilitate member-to-member interaction. This is being accomplished through the newly combined role of the Member & Industry Relations Managers (MIRMs).

It is important to remember that, while SME is a membership-based organization, its events and publications help the Society to fulfill its mission and goals. A notable success for the events area was the 2008 FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show, which was held in Las Vegas in early October. More than 12,000 manufacturing and welding professionals filled the halls on opening day, an unprecedented number of attendees—56% of which were first-time attendees. Another successful area was, of course, Manufacturing Engineering magazine. In addition to publishing 12 informative and interesting issues, ME also published three highly acclaimed industry yearbooks on aerospace and defense, lean manufacturing, and medical manufacturing. Most of the articles featured in the yearbooks were written by industry experts, many of whom are SME members.

Congratulations to everyone who made 2008 a great success for the Society. I wish you and the Society many more successes in the years ahead. I look forward to continuing my involvement in the Society in the future, as I hope you do.


Congratulations SME Chapters

The Society would like to recognize the following Senior Chapters, which have recently celebrated milestone anniversaries:

70 Years

  • Philadelphia 15
  • Rochester 16
  • St. Louis 17
  • Dayton 18
  • Syracuse 19
  • Cincinnati 21

50 Years

  • Lexington 154   

SME is very proud of the longevity and loyalty these chapters represent. Active chapters are an essential component to ensuring that there are engaged and involved members at the local level. The first SME Senior Chapter, Detroit 1, was established more than 73 years ago. Since then, more than 200 Senior Chapters have been established across the US and in 15 other countries. The Society appreciates and recognizes the time and effort it takes the volunteer leaders to run the chapters and keep the participation levels of members high. To learn more about SME Chapters and how you can become involved, please visit


2009 SME Leadership Series

SME's Leadership Series is designed for SME volunteer leaders to enhance leadership skills, share success stories, generate ideas, and network with other volunteer leaders at SME. The next phase of the series will be called SME Leadership Series: Equipping the New Breed. Attendees will be reviewing a new book in this leadership series The New Breed Understanding & Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, by Jonathan McKee and Thomas W. McKee. The book addresses how to engage people of varying generations that have extremely busy lives with not much time to give. It also addresses how to deal with difficult-to-handle volunteers.

Following are the tentative dates and locations of the 2009 SME Leadership Series:

  • Atlanta—Jan. 23–24
  • San Diego—March 13–14
  • Buffalo, NY—May 1–2
  • Minneapolis—Sept. 11–12
  • Dearborn, MI—Oct. 9–10
  • Newport News, VA—Nov. 6–7

SME will cover lodging expenses for one night and meals at the event. Participants are responsible for transportation. To learn more about the Leadership Series, contact SME Customer Care at


New Volunteer Leaders' Toolkit Launched

In an effort to streamline the various "leader centers" that were housed on SME's Web site, SME staff and volunteer members held a kaizen to discuss the best way to "5S" these areas. The end result is an integrated Volunteer Leaders' Toolkit, which encompasses both the chapters and the Technical Community Network (TCN). In this new toolkit, you will find eight separate areas that are designed to help volunteer leaders be more effective at managing either a chapter, tech group, or a community. The eight areas are:

  • Why SME?
  • What is SME and how is it structured?
  • How do I recruit new members?
  • What other ways can I be involved?
  • How can I engage and retain members?
  • How do I form a new group?
  • What forms and templates are there?
  • How do I build leaders?
  • What communication tools are available?
  • Need some great ideas and best practice info?

The toolkit is mainly designed for the volunteer leader, but it can also be useful for a new member or potential member who would like to learn more about SME, how it is structured, and the various ways to become involved in the Society. Because of the way the toolkit is structured, volunteer leaders can also use it to promote SME and its benefits to potential members.

As with all lean endeavors, SME will continuously improve the toolkit and add content as it becomes available. We want to encourage everyone, who is a volunteer leader, to familiarize themselves with the new toolkit. Suggestions and additional content are always welcome and can be submitted to SME Customer Care at . The new Volunteer Leaders' Toolkit is located at


Save the Date for the 2009 SME Annual Meeting

The 2009 SME Annual Meeting & Conference, June 6–9, 2009, in Philadelphia, will bring together SME members and other industry leaders, innovators, and educators to share ideas and best practices, and to explore advancements in manufacturing technologies and business practices. Featuring the member-driven program Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture and the SME International Awards Gala, the program is open to SME members and nonmembers alike. The entire program has been built by SME members, with other manufacturing practitioners in mind. To learn more, visit


2009 SME-EF Election Results

The SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) has named new officers and selected two new members to serve on its Board of Directors. All terms will be effective January 1, 2009.

Executive Committee


    Khalil S. Taraman, PhD, FSME, PE
    Lawrence Technological University

    Vice President/Secretary

    Charles M. Chambers, PhD, JD
    Lawrence Technological University

    Treasurer/Chair of Finance

    Peter F. Mackie
    Wells Fargo

    Assistant Treasurer/Vice Chair of Finance

    Kenneth Vedra, Ed.D.
    Bellingham Public Schools

Board of Directors

    F. Brian Holmes, LSME, CMfgE
    Columbia Plastics Ltd.

    Glen H. Pearson
    Eastman Kodak Co. (Retired)

    Brian A. Ruestow
    F.W. Roberts Manufacturing Co., Inc.

    Pamela J. Ruschau, Esq.
    Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd.

    Albert (Al) Wavering
    National Institute of Standards & Technology

    Robert T. Williams
    Caterpillar Inc.
    This article was first published in the December 2008 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.    

Published Date : 12/1/2008

Editor's Picks

Advanced Manufacturing Media - SME
U.S. Office  |  One SME Drive, Dearborn, MI 48128  |  Customer Care: 800.733.4763  |  313.425.3000
Canadian Office  |  7100 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 312, Markham, ON, L3R 5J2  888.322.7333
Tooling U  |   3615 Superior Avenue East, Building 44, 6th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44114  |  866.706.8665