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SME Speaks: Our Members Make the World Go 'Round

   Chris Riegel


By Chris Riegel, CMfgE, PE
2011 SME Member Council
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
Member Since 1991

What is the driving force that allows the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) to be the world’s leading professional society for advancing manufacturing knowledge? The answer is our members who are willing to share their talents and time with other members and manufacturing practitioners throughout the world. SME members are the ones who volunteer their energy to create programs and activities through local chapters, technical communities, publications, expositions, and professional development. SME provides these various platforms to allow members to share manufacturing knowledge with each other. Thousands of SME members each year participate in the formal leadership roles, which range from Technical Community leaders, International Committee members, chapter leaders, event advisors, Member Council, Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and countless others. Without volunteers in these positions, SME would be unable to support the wide range of products it has to offer. As chair of the Member Council, I recognize the tremendous amount of effort and man hours our members spend to assure all of the Societies activities are successful and meaningful experiences for everyone involved. I therefore wish to thank all the active members who drive these activities.

SME’s structure allows members many different approaches, avenues, and levels of involvement. While involvement is important in the various leadership positions, it is also essential to recognize the thousands of members who make the active choice to break away from their busy lives to be engaged as participants in the various Society activities. Participation at all levels is important, whether it be attending a local chapter meeting to exchange ideas with others, participating in a technical webinar to share your opinions or increase your knowledge, or even when replying to online surveys. This two-way interaction is what makes our Society unique from other knowledge institutions, which tend to have a more one-way flow of information. As our lives change, it is important for members to balance their professional involvement with the rest of their family and work activities. We would rather have a member scale back from their involvement for a while rather than be burned out and leave the Society altogether. If you aspire to be more involved in SME now or in the future, I encourage you to place your name on the Volunteer Leader Watch List, which you can find at

Whatever level of SME involvement you may have, please know that you are not alone in your effort to achieve success for yourself and the Society. Just as with the game show, "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," it is okay to call a friend for advice/assistance. SME has an extensive network with a large list of resources available for support. The majority of answers may be obtained by calling or e-mailing your member and industry relations managers (MIRMs), Member Services, or Customer Care at (800) 733-4763. The MIRMs are assisted by volunteers like the SME membership consultants (MCons), who have more than likely experienced similar issues to the ones you may be challenged with. The SME Web site is also a wealth of information, with many best practices and guides on how to manage your activities or member unit.

My final word of advice is to always remember to recognize your fellow members for their efforts. There are many ways in which you can acknowledge someone, such as with the annual President’s Award, which can be given to a deserving chapter/community member, or the Joseph A. Siegel Award, which is bestowed upon an SME member for significant and unique contributions that benefit the Society. For many members, though, a pat on the back or a card in the mail is appreciated. Since I don’t have a card or an award I can give each of you, once again, please accept my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for taking the time and using your talent to make our Society better. Together we are creating value for the worldwide manufacturing community. ME



Cleveland Site of 2012
SME Annual Conference 

Following upon the success of SME’s 2011 Annual Conference in Seattle, plans are now under way for the 2012 SME Annual Conference, which will take place in Cleveland at the Marriott Cleveland Downtown, June 3-5. The 2012 conference advisory team is made of up SME members from the host chapter, Cleveland No. 3, as well as representatives from the Product & Process Design and Management Community and the 2011 host chapter (Seattle No. 39), and other key SME groups. Conference advisors and SME staff are currently hard at work developing content for the conference. Tentative conference topics include manufacturing leadership and innovation. In addition to content planning, the SME Annual Conference has issued a "Call for Posters." The posters are presentations of a research project or member-related (community and/or chapter) activity. The presenter(s) accompany his/her poster to discuss his/her research and/or outcomes with conference participants. Posters are displayed throughout the conference and are open to all event participants. The poster session provides additional information of interest that may not fit into one of the conference sessions. Abstract submission deadline is March 2, 2012. Anyone interested in learning more about the conference and/or submitting a poster may go to




Designs Sought for Annual Direct
Digital Manufacturing Competition  

The 2012 Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition, which is sponsored by SME’s Direct Digital Manufacturing Technical Group, is seeking designs that illustrate the benefits and impacts of direct digital manufacturing. For 2012, student designers are to use their imagination to design a product that mainly utilizes DDM processes. The product must be able to be used in another assembly. The designed product will be a device, mechanism, assembly, or a subassembly representing part of another product. The resultant design should represent a fully working prototype. Any internal electronics or mechanics must be specified within the design. The geometry of the design must be defined within a three-dimensional (3-D), computer-aided design (CAD) system capable of producing robust STL files. First prize winners receive a complimentary conference pass to the 2012 RAPID Conference & Exposition, a stipend of $300 to use for travel and lodging to the conference, and a complimentary one-year SME student membership. To learn more about the competition, visit




2012 SME Fellows Nominations
Now Being Accepted

Nominations are currently being sought for the 2012 SME College of Fellows. Since 1986, the SME College of Fellows has honored SME members who have made outstanding contributions to the social, technological, and educational aspects of the manufacturing profession. This is a highly prestigious honor that can only be earned through years (20 or more) of dedication and service to manufacturing—it is not an SME service award. An SME College of Fellows nomination must be made by an honorary, fellow, life, or senior member of SME. Guidelines, instructions, and a downloadable nomination form are available at Nominations are due by December 1.



Scholarship Opportunities Available

Each year, the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) awards several scholarships to deserving students. The Foundation awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors, current undergraduates, and master’s or doctoral degree students pursuing degrees in manufacturing and related fields at two-year and four-year colleges. Successful scholarship applicants will receive a minimum award of $1000. On average, the Foundation awards more than 100 scholarships annually. All applicants must:

  • Be pursuing a degree in manufacturing engineering, manufacturing engineering technology, or a closely related manufacturing field of study.
  • Meet minimum requirements as outlined in the individual scholarship descriptions.
  • Be pursuing a degree in manufacturing engineering, manufacturing engineering technology, or a closely related manufacturing field of study.
  • The application and supporting documentation for scholarships must be submitted online by February 1, 2012. Visit to submit your application.



FABTECH Canada 2012

Due to the growing success of FABTECH, North America’s largest metalforming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event, SME will be launching FABTECH Canada, March 20–22, 2012, at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto. This is the ONLY exclusive fabricating, welding, and metalforming event in Canada. For more information, please contact Janine Saperson, event manager, at or (888) 322-7333, Ext. 222. Event Web site:



SME Launches Two New E-Newsletters

In addition to SME’s highly successful Lean Directions and Quality in Manufacturing e-newsletters, SME has recently added two new e-newsletters to its portfolio: AeroDef Manufacturing and Energy Manufacturing. AeroDef Manufacturing provides up-to-date news on innovations, technologies, management practices, and trends throughout the supply chain in the aerospace and defense industry, while Energy Manufacturing chronicles new trends, technologies, and manufacturing processes being implemented in the oil and gas industry as well as geothermal, solar, nuclear, and wind. Exclusive industry news offers authoritative assessments of the demands placed on manufacturers to drive innovation. Subscriptions to the e-newsletters are free. To subscribe, go to



SME President’s Award

SME has many award opportunities, but one award in particular, the SME President’s Award, has special meaning because it is given to a chapter and/or Technical Community member who has gone above and beyond in service to their fellow members. The chapter or community may decide what criteria will be used in their member unit, keeping the goal of recognizing an outstanding contribution to SME and the member unit’s success by the member. The President’s Award consists of a pin and a certificate in a certificate holder. Each chapter or community will be provided one award per calendar year at no cost; additional awards will be $40 apiece, which will cover all associated costs. Presentation of the award is to be in person at an appropriate SME event whenever possible. Any member unit interested in giving out a President’s Award to a deserving SME member can download the nomination form at

This article was first published in the November 2011 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF

Published Date : 11/1/2011

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