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SME Speaks: Recognizing the Accomplishments of SME's Education Foundation


By Gene Nelson
Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Twenty-five years ago, SME reaffirmed and expanded its mission, to advance manufacturing knowledge, by extending its reach and impact through the creation of the SME Education Foundation. In a year-long celebration, we are acknowledging that strategic move and all it has accomplished.

We only get one chance for a 25-year anniversary in any relationship, whether it's our wedding anniversary, our service years with a company, or another relationship that we want to recognize as significant. The 25th anniversary of the SME Education Foundation is our opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our organization, to think about the impact of what it has accomplished--and what it will accomplish--and, especially, to say "thank you" to the donors who have helped make it all possible.

SME is proud to have influenced the continuous improvement of manufacturing since our inception in 1932. By expanding this impact with the creation of the Education Foundation 25 years ago, we have made an even more direct impact on improving manufacturing education.

SME and its Education Foundation provide life-long learning opportunities, offering manufacturing professionals and students resources that help them be more efficient, and effective. Our Technical Community Network, conferences, certification programs, and publications are used by members in their day-to-day work. They enable members to do their jobs better, apply advanced manufacturing technologies, and gain a competitive edge for themselves and their companies. In addition, since the founding of the Education Foundation we have proactively worked with industry leaders to determine their specific needs, identify and address gaps in the education system and provide grants to universities and colleges to fill those gaps. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $15.5 million in grants to colleges and universities, funding specific curricula and degree programs and closing critical competency gaps for manufacturing industries through its Manufacturing Education Plan. It does this in support of the Society's core purpose--to advance manufacturing knowledge. And this makes SME the only organization that has gone to industry to identify competency gaps that need to be addressed, and then developed a plan that addresses them.

Through the Education Foundation, SME not only helps establish the courses necessary for students who want to become tomorrow's manufacturing professionals, but also provides scholarships to those pursuing undergraduate degrees and future careers in manufacturing. These scholarships are funded by industry leaders, dedicated SME chapters, members, and others. These donors have discovered that donating to the SME Education Foundation is a great way for them to help young people pursue important and satisfying careers in manufacturing.

The Education Foundation has awarded over $2.5 milion to students studying manufacturing-related programs. One of SME's first scholarships was founded by the Lexington SME Chapter 154 in 1958. It has since served as the inspiration for many other chapters, most of which now work with the Foundation to make a difference for students pursuing math, engineering, science, and technology educations.

SME's Education Foundation scholarships are powerful investments in the future of engineering. A great example is the impact that scholarship-winner Wendy Stary has made in manufacturing. Stary received several scholarships from the Foundation in support of her education. Today, as a project engineer customizing molds at Phillips Plastics Corporation, she is contributing to her company's success with product management responsibilities that require her to provide design support, material property data, and secondary-operation information on parts.

By helping Stary achieve her educational goals at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, SME helped prepare her for managing products from concept to production. SME is proud to continue to serve as a resource for Stary, an active member.

Researchers from Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, Canada work in a lab funded by an SME Education Plan Grant.

A STEPS participant works on a technical project while his engineer mentor looks on.

In addition to helping colleges and universities close critical workforce skills gaps and supporting students through annual scholarships, SME also introduces thousands of high school students to the exciting world of manufacturing through the Education Foundation's many youth programs, most notably its Science, Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) program. STEPS introduces young people--sixth to tenth grade--to the world of technology and engineering through one-week camps. STEPS provides attendees with hands-on experience using high-tech equipment and processes to build products like robots, airplanes, and other vehicles. After the camps, attendees have a better understanding of, and an increased interest in, manufacturing careers.

Over its 25-year history, the Foundation has contributed greatly to SME's successes in advancing manufacturing knowledge. And those individuals who have helped to lead the Foundation have found great satisfaction through that involvement. I know that SME has made a difference in my career at Ford Motor Company, and, based on my involvement with the Education Foundation Board of Directors for the past 14 years, I am confident that students, manufacturing engineers, technologists, educators, and other professionals can be glad they have a strong resource in SME and its Education Foundation.

Throughout 2005, we will reflect on 25 years of our Education Foundation's accomplishments. Your support of our celebration, and our Foundation, will recognize the accomplishments of a practical, yet visionary, strategy and help SME have an even greater impact on the future of manufacturing.



SME Brings Micro- and Nano- Manufacturing to Minneapolis

In the interest of ensuring that manufacturers and their companies stay ahead of the competition in implementing emerging manufacturing technologies, SME is including two exciting programs at its Twin Cities Conference, May 3 - 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, MN.

"Molecular Nanotechnology and Manufacturing: The Enabling Tools and Applications," will feature comprehensive presentations on nanotechnology--the new, radically precise, less expensive, and more flexible way of making products better and faster. SME's MicroManufacturing Conference and Exhibits will help manufacturers understand available technologies, how to better use them, and the many ways they are being applied.

MicroManufacturing Conference

This program addresses the challenges--and opportunities--of micromachining and micromolding.

Challenged with creating micro features on micro or macro parts? This is your chance to explore the many processes available to help you increase accuracy while reducing cycle time. SME is bringing dozens of industry professionals together to discuss technological advancements as well as practical ways to apply current technologies.

Topics will include:

  • Microdrilling, micromilling, microturning
  • Cutting processes: Swiss machining, high-speed machining, laser machining, and EDM
  • Cutting tools: availability, consistency, quality, and tool life
  • Comparison of big vs. small machines
  • Microinjection molding and micro two-shot molding
  • Achieving better finishes
  • How small can you go?
  • Inspecting small parts that have even smaller internal features
  • Materials--which ones to use, how to work with them, and molding methods for parts that will be micromachined
  • Where is the technology today? Where will it be tomorrow?

Learn more and register at

Nanotechnology Conference

Neither science fiction nor a distant reality, nanotechnology is already making an enormous impact on manufacturing. SME's Emerging Technology Forum, "Molecular Nanotechnology and Manufacturing," takes place May 4.

The forum will highlight the successful use of nanotechnology in manufacturing applications, and researchers' and developers' progress in creating the tools and instruments that manufacturers need to effectively position molecules and build complex structures with atomically precise control. These instruments, sometimes called "pick-and-shovel" tools by nanomanufacturers, include scanning probe microscopes and dip-pen lithography.

Manufacturing professionals will explore the capacity of these instruments, metrology devices, and other tools to measure, sense, fabricate, and manipulate matter at the molecular level. These tools help manufacturers in a number of industries create more powerful computers, lighter and stronger manufacturing materials, surgical instruments, and drug delivery systems that help patients better fight disease.

In addition to offering the latest nanotechnology applications and trends in both top-down fabrication and bottom-up assembly techniques, the event offers opportunities for peer networking, information sharing, and technology exchange with the leading developers of nanotools and manufacturing systems.

Speakers will represent a cross section of industries including automotive, aerospace/defense, medical/ healthcare, and pharmaceuticals and include speakers from the Foresight Institute, IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, National Center of Manufacturing Science, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Veeco Instruments Inc., and the Zyvex Corporation.

Visit to register today!

Visit for more details about Twin Cities 2005, onsite SME conferences, and the innovative "Tomorrow's Manufacturing Technology" pavilion.



SME Certification Helps Manufacturers Advance Their Skills and Knowledge 

Did you know that SME offers industry-validated certification programs that help manufacturing engineering professionals increase their knowledge and demonstrate their advanced expertise?

SME's certifications serve as differentiators for manufacturing employers looking to fill jobs and promote employees who have that "something extra." SME currently offers five certifications:

  • Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT): Highlights competence in the fundamentals of manufacturing

  • Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE): Recognizes comprehensive knowledge of more advanced manufacturing processes and practices

  • Certified Engineering Manager (CEM): Documents skills and understanding of business processes, external enterprise influences, customer focus, teamwork, and responsibilities (this certification is cosponsored by the Institute of Industrial Engineers IIE)

  • Certified Enterprise Integrator (CEI): Demonstrates proficiency in leading cross-functional initiatives throughout an organization's extended supply chain (also cosponsored by IIE)

  • Six Sigma Certification: This new certification called "Generation III," helps individuals and companies advance their capabilities in implementing Six Sigma methodologies. (co-sponsored by Arizona State University and Mikel J. Harry, PhD, of the Six Sigma Management Institute).

Companies that wish to take advantage of SME certifications can offer certification review courses and exams on site and encourage their employees to apply. Perhaps most importantly, they can use SME certification programs as a way to measure, monitor, and benchmark their current knowledge base while identifying areas needed for future training and development to remain competitive.

If you or your company are interested in using SME certification as a tool to improve your competitiveness, visit for more details, or call Jaimie Copland at (313) 425-3092.


This article was first published in the March 2005 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. 






Published Date : 3/1/2005

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