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SME Speaks: Engineers Week: A Time to Celebrate Engineering!

It's February—the shortest, coldest, most-often-misspelled month of the year. In my book, that makes February just about the most unappreciated page on the calendar. But for all of those apparent shortcomings, this month has a truly redeeming quality: it is the time that we engineers set aside to celebrate our great profession. This year, Engineers Week (EWeek) will be observed from February 18 through 24. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers is lead engineering society for EWeek 2007, and is joined by industry lead Tyco Electronics Corp. For SME, our involvement with EWeek 2007 is particularly poignant, since the Society observes its 75th Anniversary this year. As Chair, Engineers Week 2007, a role in which I am representing SME, I wanted to share my enthusiasm about EWeek, and let you know about some of the great activities taking place in February and throughout the coming year.

EWeek is an actual week each year. It falls around the timeframe of George Washington's birthday, as he was a strong advocate for engineering, and is considered by many to be "America's first engineer." EWeek is also the name of the organization that oversees local and national programs designed to:

  • Raise public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to quality of life.
  • Promote recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy.
  • Motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and rigorous engineering workforce.

Many exciting activities are planned for EWeek 2007. For starters, the Future City Competition is entering its 15th year, with the national finals to be held during EWeek in Washington, DC. Through this annual competition, which begins at the regional level, teams of middle school students and mentors use SimCity 3000 software to design (and ultimately construct) model prototypes of a futuristic city. Each year, the teams are given a specific challenge. During this year's competition, the challenge is to utilize an energy strategy, including fuel cell systems, to power these cities of tomorrow.

For several years, SME has proudly contributed two team awards to be bestowed during the national competitions: one for the first runner-up city in the overall competition, and one for the city with the Best Manufacturing Zone. The number of Future City Competition teams and regions has grown almost every year since the program began, and SME members have been involved all along. Largely, our members contribute their enthusiasm and knowledge as mentors and judges at the regional and national competitions.

There is another innovative way that EWeek is going to provide young people with information about engineering careers this year. A new public television program, "Design Squad," will begin airing during EWeek on WGBH, a PBS station. I've seen advance clips of this program and I can tell you that it uses very cool,"reality TV-type" competitions to show how much fun engineering can be. Watch for this program on your local PBS station, and if you don't see it listed you should contact your station and encourage them to air it.

In addition to "Design Squad," the organizations involved in EWeek are working together to produce a new DVD that educators and engineering societies can use to get young people more interested in pursuing careers in engineering. As many of you know, most of the videos and DVDs currently available for this purpose are somewhat dated. In our lead role this year, SME is helping to make the completion of this DVD a priority. The EWeek societies and partners have brought forward comprehensive research to help guide the content of the DVD and speak to the things that young people will find most compelling about engineering careers. It is a major project, and will likely continue into 2008. Once it's completed, this DVD will be available to help encourage young people to pursue careers in our exciting field.

Engineers Week is not only about national projects and activities. Literally thousands of local celebrations are being hosted by engineers who are proud of their profession, and who want to share the "gospel of engineering" with as many K-12 potential future engineers as possible. The festivities include engineering competitions, displays, expos, lectures, banquets, and dozens of other activities. Thanks to the efforts of these dedicated volunteers, I know we are getting the word out about the value of this great profession.

I'm excited about EWeek 2007, and I hope you are, too. I urge you to take some time this month not only to celebrate and appreciate engineering, but also to promote this wonderful career choice, if you are not already doing so. Our EWeek theme is "Engineers Make a World of Difference." Why not get actively involved in one or more of the items listed above, and make a difference in some young person's life through your volunteer efforts? I guarantee this: you'll never regret it. And maybe—just maybe—by the time March rolls around, you'll be wishing February was just a little longer than 28 days.

For more information about Engineers Week 2007, including the Future City competition and Design Squad, visit


SME Investment Initiative Supports Canadian Manufacturing

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers recently purchased seven Reed Exhibition Canada (RX Canada) trade shows as part of a major investment to support Canadian manufacturing companies and their employees. The shows that were purchased include:

  • Plant Maintenance & Design Engineering
  • Western Manufacturing Technology Show
  • Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show
  • Advanced Manufacturing Expo
  • Montreal Manufacturing Technology
  • Southwest Ontario Industrial
  • Canadian Manufacturing Week

SME has purchased these trade shows as part of its initiative to take a more active role in supporting Canadian manufacturing. According to SME president and Canada native Brian Holmes: "This investment not only represents a significant commitment to Canadian manufacturing, but it positions SME as an important partner to these manufacturers for years to come."

As part of the trade show investment, SME will assume control of Reed's Canadian office in Toronto. In addition to having show sales and management expertise, the Toronto staff is bilingual in English and French, and thoroughly understands the Canadian marketplace.

Did you know that the Canadian market has approximately 54,000 manufacturing establishments that employ nearly 2.2 million people? In fact, Ontario is now the leading producer of light vehicles in North America. Quebec is a major aerospace manufacturing center, while Alberta's oil-and-gas investments have increased demand for manufacturing goods and related services several-fold. As with manufacturers everywhere, workforce development is a hot topic for them. SME is excited to support the needs of Canadian manufacturers with the Society's highly-regarded technical, professional development, and networking resources.

The Canadian investment is the latest addition to an impressive portfolio for SME. For more than 10 years, SME has been the only not-forprofit show management organization with three or more tradeshows ranked in the top 200 as listed by Tradeshow Week. SME's ranked events include the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show, WESTEC, and EASTEC. Combined, the three shows equal more than 771,000 ft2 with almost 2000 exhibiting companies. The three events attract nearly 59,000 visitors annually. SME also has significant initiatives in aerospace and defense and lean certification that could provide additional opportunities for member engagement and industry development in North America.

For further information, please send an e-mail to


CNC Video Is Free in February

SME recently launched a free online streaming video channel known as Manufacturing Engineering TV (METV). Each month, you can watch an award-winning SME video program—in its entirety—on your computer, free of charge. In February, you can watch "Computer Numerical Control," a 24-min video that explains the basics of Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, by featuring segments on Computer Numerical Control Principles and Computer Numerical Control Programming. Watch this video, and check out the rest of the year's scheduled lineup, at


This article was first published in the February 2007 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. 

Published Date : 2/1/2007

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