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SME Speaks: Thank You, SME Members

Ronald A. Bohlander

It is my pleasure as the 2008 chair of SME's Member Council to say "thank you" to all the many volunteers who have done so much to make the Society a true community. As involved members, we share a strong sense of the excitement of meeting challenges in our personal career journeys, and also in the lives of the companies and institutions we work for in the global manufacturing community. Beyond that, we share a commitment to one another in building a Society of mutually supportive people, and creating many avenues in which we share our professional excitement and knowledge. So I say "thank you" in humble appreciation for this faithful group of people who make up the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.     

SME is tens of thousands strong in individual members, but we are not just a shapeless cloud of people with a common identity card. We are a network of people who have accepted responsibilities to accomplish specific tasks, while serving members of the manufacturing community. SME leaders are found in many roles, such as: local chapters, tech groups, organizers of meetings and webinars, authors and editors, accreditation and certification programs, membership consultants, technical community advisors and leaders, Member Council members and subcommittee members, members of the Manufacturing Enterprise Council, Board of Directors and Officers members, and Executive Committee members. As you know, it takes a great deal of dedication and time to fulfill these particular roles. The services that you provide to the Society and its members are invaluable.

There is a paradox concerning today's world of busyness. We are perhaps more interconnected, and at the same time more alone, than ever before in history. We have at our fingertips an incredible library of information through the Internet, and ever-increasing tools for connections to information stores and people all over the globe. Overwhelming volumes of information and expanding expectations for productivity and competitiveness have turned us into empowered, but very busy, people. We are guarded about signing up for more commitments. What do we need a professional society for in this emerging world? Why do we need each other when we can have everyone else on the Internet for free? I think the answer is twofold: (1) Our wilderness of information needs validation. We need a forum and a chance to explore competing ideas in depth. It is valuable to have real people to talk to outside our own companies and organizations. (2) In a world of disruptive events, individuals need contacts and friends to navigate threats and opportunities.

So today's world of burgeoning information and individualism is a wild place, and there is little hope of an escape via some kind of nostalgia trip to kinder, gentler times. I am very grateful that SME leaders have grasped the emerging change in the world and are making two important contributions to our community. First, they are faithfully "stepping out" to sustain group activities. New programs that are attractive to the present professional constituency are being found. New contributors and leaders are joining those who have carried the torch for many years, and the mantle of leadership is being passed on. Such sustaining activity is not found everywhere. There are struggles. But life goes on in community building. Second, I have seen enormous creativity. Chapters have established new alliances in their local communities to bring new program options to the manufacturing professionals there. People in local communities are rediscovering the opportunity to put together fluid sessions on particular technology topics of strong interest, meeting periodically for as long as appropriate. Such initiatives have become seeds for regional or national conferences.

Meanwhile, SME's technical community network has brought forth a remarkable array of webinars as well as regional and national conferences and publications. New programs have been a learning experience, not just in the subject matter technologies or the technologies of delivering webinars, but also in learning how to market these programs and build momentum for them.

Technical excellence, leadership, ideas—these characteristics are welcomed and celebrated by the Society. Each year, SME recognizes a remarkable new crop of SME Fellows with very distinguished careers. The Society also celebrates the organized network of people who share their insights and loyalty. In the present day, we think of networks in terms of vast arrays of copper lines, optical fibers, and wi-fi connections. In the past, when we talked about nets, we meant things made of string and fiber of another kind. We talked about mending our nets and taking care of them. We knew what a hole in a net meant in terms of lost opportunity. Networks of people are not casual; they depend on people assuming the responsibility of keeping things together, and making programs and connections happen. I have a favorite quote from author William McFee:

Responsibility's like a string we can only see the middle of. Both ends are out of sight.

My interpretation of this quote is that we cannot always see the cause and effect of our actions. There is, however, a thread of responsibility that runs through everything we do, and the future depends on caring people taking hold of this thread and helping to chart its course. Today, we say "thank you" for those who have a bit of the net in hand.

Congratulations to the SME Fellows of 2008

Eight manufacturing leaders have been elected to the 2008 SME College of Fellows, and were recently recognized at SME's Fall Meeting held October 24–26 in Toronto. Fellow recipients are recognized by their peers and the manufacturing community as key contributors to the social, technical, and educational progress of manufacturing.
Kuang-Chao Fan

Kuang-Chao Fan, PhD
Distinguished and Chon-Juo Zhang Chair Professor
National Taiwan University
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Taipei, Taiwan

Fan has been a professor of mechanical engineering at National Taiwan University since 1989. He has served as chair of the Chinese Institute of Automation Technology, chair of the SME Taipei Chapter, and as the associate dean of the Engineering College at National Taiwan University. Fan is the vice chairman of the Automatic Optical Inspection Equipment Association in Taiwan. He has also been a consultant to Taiwan's Ministry of Education from 1994 to 1999, and is currently a national project reviewer for Taiwan's government. His research interests include manufacturing metrology, precision machining, and machine tool technology. In addition, Fan has published more than 80 journal papers. He is the author or coauthor of more than 150 conference papers and three books.

William J. Geary

William J. Geary
President, Boeing Canada Operations
Limited and General Manager
Boeing, Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

William (Willy) Geary is the general manager of Boeing Winnipeg operations. Appointed in June 2007, Geary is responsible for leading the largest aerospace composite manufacturer in Canada, and the country's third largest aerospace facility. He was the manufacturing superintendent of Final Assembly for 737 Airplane Programs beginning in September 2006. Prior positions in commercial airplanes include chief engineer for 737 aircraft interiors, director of 737/757 and 747 production engineering, and various management assignments in engineering and tooling. Geary was the 2006 SME President and served on the Society's Board of Directors. In 1990, he was awarded SME's Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award.

Gert Goch

Gert Goch,
Dr Eng
Director, BIMAQ
(Bremen Institute of Metrology, Automation, and Quality Science)
University of Bremen
Bremen, Germany

Prior to his current role as director of BIMAQ, Goch was a dedicated professor at Germany's University of Hannover, the University of Ulm, and the University of Bremen, respectively. As an engineer and researcher, he has distinguished himself as a leader of such specialties as metrology and sensor technology, diagnosis of production processes, and industrial automation. Goch holds eight patents and is the author or coauthor of more than 190 scientific publications. His current research efforts have received more than 2 million Euros (approximately $3 million US) per year in public funding.

Michael F. Molnar

Michael F. Molnar,
Technical Director
Cummins Inc.
Columbus, IN

Molnar is honored for his significant contributions to advancing manufacturing technology, public policy, and advocacy of the manufacturing engineering profession. Currently, as Cummins Inc.'s director of environmental policy and sustainable development, he has served as a White House Fellow in support of manufacturing science and technology policy. Molnar has contributed to numerous technical publications, and has been a keynote or featured speaker at conferences and symposiums throughout the US and Germany. He has been an active member of SME for 25 years, and presently serves on the SME Technical Community Network Steering Committee and the SME Member Council.

Neal P. Jeffries

Neal P. Jeffries, PhD, CMfgE
Executive Director
Center for Manufacturing Technology

Jeffries is cofounder and president of the Center for Manufacturing Technology. Founded in 1977, this nonprofit institute offers manufacturing technology education for industry, and presents about 100 programs each year throughout the US and overseas on such topics as quick-changeover, mistake-proofing, lean manufacturing, and more. Prior to his current role, he gained extensive industrial and government experience at various global organizations, such as GE, DuPont, and the US Air Force. His dedication to manufacturing technology is also exemplified by his nearly 10 years of preparing the next generation of engineers at the University of Cincinnati. Additionally, Jeffries has not only written two books, but is also the author or coauthor of more than 100 technical papers. He holds nine patents in the US and overseas, and has engineering degrees from Purdue, Cincinnati, Stanford, and MIT.

Shivakumar Raman

Shivakumar Raman, PhD
John A. Myers Professor in Engineering
and David Ross Boyd Professor
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Over the past 20 years, Raman has established a reputation as an outstanding educator, teaching manufacturing processes and metrology at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Oklahoma. For his years of dedication there, Raman has received several awards, including the Institute of Industrial Engineers' Student Chapter Outstanding Professor Award (five times) and the OU Regents' Award for Superior Teaching. Beyond the classroom, his research interests include such topics as machining tribology, tolerance and surface metrology, and process variables within manufacturing systems. His research has resulted in improved models of characterizing friction at the tool-chip interface, as well as new methods for the characterization of complex geometries for part verification and methods for adaptive metrology. He has coauthored more than 130 articles for journals and conference proceedings.

Kevin Scott Smith

Kevin Scott Smith,
Professor and Deputy Director of
the Center for Precision Metrology
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte, NC

Smith is a professor of mechanical engineering at UNC Charlotte, where he is also the deputy director of the Center for Precision Metrology. He previously served as the associate director of the Machine Tool Research Center at the University of Florida. Smith is a Fellow of CIRP (the International Academy for Production Engineering). He is the president of the North American Manufacturing Research Institute of SME (NAMRI/SME) and a previous recipient of SME's Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. His career in manufacturing research and education spans more than 20 years. He currently holds two patents, and is the author or coauthor of more than 100 technical papers.

Y. Lawrence Yao

Y. Lawrence Yao,
Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Columbia University
New York

Yao also serves as director of Columbia University's Manufacturing Research Laboratory. Before joining Columbia in 1994, he served as senior lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. His research interests include multidisciplinary research in manufacturing and design; nontraditional manufacturing; laser materials processing; laser-assisted material removal, shaping, and surface modification; laser applications in industry and art restoration; and robotics in industry and health care. Yao is the author or coauthor of nearly 100 technical papers, and serves as associate editor of SME's two peer-reviewed journals, the Journal of Manufacturing Processes and the Journal of Manufacturing Systems. Beyond teaching and research, he currently serves on several boards, including NAMRI/SME.

Nominations Needed

Is there someone you know who deserves to be recognized for their accomplishments? SME is now accepting nominations for the 2009 SME College of Fellows. To submit your nomination, visit


This article was first published in the November 2008 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. 

Published Date : 11/1/2008

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