thumbnail group

Connect With Us:

ME Channels / SME Speaks

SME Speaks: An Open Letter to the SME Community


Chas Manning

By Chas Manning 
Student Chapter Chair  
Boston University S063 
Society of Manufacturing Engineers 
Member Since 2010  



SME’s Boston University S063 student chapter had an amazing opportunity in June 2011 when it sent three of its student members (myself, Brianna Nelson, and Colleen Neely) to Seattle for the 2011 SME Annual Conference. This occasion was made possible because of the support from Boston University’s College of Engineering and the incredible generosity of SME’s Boston No. 33 chapter.    



Immediately upon arrival, we were welcomed with enthusiasm. SME staff and senior members were incredibly excited to meet with and speak to us about our ambitions and experiences at Boston University, both within and outside of our student chapter. We had the opportunity to meet a multitude of people who have developed amazing careers. I saw a recurring theme of excitement and honest interest in us as young manufacturing engineers. The Night at the Races provided the perfect social setting to facilitate discussion, and allowed us to prod the minds of senior members, discuss our interests, and enjoy a fun and relaxing evening.   



All of the workshops and sessions provided great ideas for improvements to bring back to the chapter and university. Although, at this point, I had been a registered member of SME for more than six months, I had no idea how many resources were available. We are planning to feature the webinars and technical papers as incentive to increase membership and attendance at our chapter meetings. Increasing the knowledge base of our members will be a main focus of our student chapter this year. The resources available will bring variety as well as an educational aspect to future meetings.   Brianna Nelson, Colleen Neely, and Chas Manning



By far the most valuable part of the conference was the networking opportunity. We utilized the unscheduled time between and after events to meet as many people as we could, and form relationships with professionals who have been a part of industry for quite a long time. We took every opportunity to meet and network with these people who were invested in the future of the manufacturing discipline and, on an individual level, our futures as manufacturing engineers.  

I know I speak for my fellow Boston University students when I thank the Society on both a local and national level for the amazing experience that was the 2011 SME Annual Conference. SME is truly everyone you need to MEET, everything you need to KNOW, and everything you need to GROW. I encourage everyone, especially students who are interested in manufacturing engineering, to attend the 2012 SME Annual Conference, June 3-5, in Cleveland. Conference details and registration are available at ME


LA High School of Engineering and Manufacturing Named Exemplary 

Hawthorne High School of Engineering and Manufacturing (HHSEM), Los Angeles, has been named an exemplary school for their innovative pre-engineering program by the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF). The Foundation is taking a community-based approach to manufacturing education and job creation by creating strong partnerships between exemplary schools, businesses, and organizations with a new initiative PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) launched in fall 2011. Hawthorne High School of Engineering and Manufacturing was selected based on its Project Lead The Way® (PLTW) technology-based engineering courses of study, which includes computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), having skilled and dedicated instructors, having engaged and active students, and having strong corporate and administrative support from the manufacturing community, including members of SME and the involvement of SME’s Los Angeles & Ventura County No. 173 chapter. SME-EF is investing $156,000 in PRIME and funding each of the six exemplary schools with $26,000, which includes $10,000 to update equipment, software, and/or professional development; $1,000 to support their involvement in technology-based competitions tied to organizations such as Skills USA and/or FIRST Robotics; $5,000 toward the introduction of a Gateway Academy, technology-based summer day camp; and $10,000 to support scholarships for students with provided connections. More information on the Foundation and its activities can be found at


First-Annual Student Competition Taking Place at SME Annual Conference 

The SME Annual Conference Student Competition is a collegiate-level manufacturing competition where student chapter members choose their own manufacturing project. The students then build the project to highlight and be evaluated at the 2012 SME Annual Conference, June 3-5, in Cleveland. Any type of engineering principle, concept, or process may be applied in the design and manufacturing of the project entry. Invitations were sent to all active student chapters to solicit abstracts for the projects. Abstracts can be Capstone-based projects, entries into other competitions or class projects as long as members of the SME student chapter will participate in the project. Only one abstract per student chapter is being accepted. A committee consisting of members of the SME Technical Community Network and the Student Relations Committee will judge the abstracts based on criteria similar to that used for SME's annual Manufacturing Challenge Contest. Entries will be split between “university” and “community college/technical school” divisions. A maximum of 12 projects will receive preliminary approval and will be asked for a commitment to participate. Those approved will be asked for interim reports to ensure progress. Visit to learn more about the competition.



FABTECH 2011 Breaks All Records 

The largest expo in show history proves that manufacturing is not only alive but thriving. FABTECH 2011 shattered all records of previous shows, with the number of buyers walking the floor, educational conference attendance, and the overall square footage of exhibit space. The four-day exposition and conference at Chicago’s McCormick Place welcomed a historic 35,457 attendees—a 35% increase over 2009, the last time FABTECH was held in Chicago. FABTECH is North America’s most comprehensive event for metalforming, fabricating, welding, and finishing companies. The 2011 show had more than 1,300 exhibitors, filling a record 522,000 net square feet and attendees from more than 80 countries. “Exhibitors cited the improved labor conditions and the new cost savings as key to their decisions to bring a record number of machines, equipment, and multistory displays,” John Catalano, SME show manager explains. “The new policies strengthen FABTECH’s commitment to Chicago for future shows.” Many longtime exhibitors described FABTECH 2011 as their best show ever. “We’ve been exhibiting at FABTECH for at least 20 years, and in my 10-year tenure, this show was our busiest. We received a record number of leads, and we were able to get our message in front of thousands,” according to Betsy Van Duyne, marketing manager, Hypertherm, Inc. “The results from this show should prove to skeptics that manufacturing is alive and well in North America!” The many new exhibitors were also impressed with the value they received from the show. FABTECH 2012 will be held in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, November 12-14. Event details are available


2012 Chapter Awards Program 

The Chapter Awards Program was initiated last year as a means of encouraging and rewarding chapter effectiveness. The 2010 Chapter Planning and Assessment Guides (CPAGs) submitted by SME senior chapters were used as the basis for determining the winners. In May 2011, 14 chapters received Bronze or Silver awards for excellence in one or two categories; there were no Gold or Platinum winners. Many more chapters should have won; however, mistakes and/or omissions were made in completion of their CPAGs. The criterion for winning 2012 awards is almost the same; slight changes will allow more flexibility in how effectiveness will be demonstrated. There are four categories for success as identified by the committee:  

  • Professional development, which includes not simply the number, hours, and quality of meetings held by the chapter, but how leaders are developed to continue the work of the chapter. 
  • Communication to members and the community through Web site or social media pages as well as e-mail blasts, bulletins, phone calls, and so on. 
  • Advancement of manufacturing including interaction with other chapters, other societies, and community outreach. 
  • Merit, such as submitting a best practice, and net membership numbers. 

Chapters that meet the requirements for all four categories will receive the Platinum Award; if three categories are met, the chapter will receive the Gold Award; the Silver Award for meeting two categories; and Bronze for one. Chapters submitting their CPAG after the due date will not be eligible for an award. This year, the Chapter Enhancement Committee is going one step further with this program. In addition to earning the distinction of Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, depending on the number of award categories successfully completed, chapters will earn a small monetary bonus for their accomplishment(s). While the bonus will only be a token amount between $30 and $60, it is the committee's hope that this will serve as some incentive for chapter leaders to spend the time required to properly complete the CPAG. The CPAG and associated instructions can be downloaded at 


This article was first published in the February 2012 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF

Published Date : 2/1/2012

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