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SME Speaks: Let's Talk About the 'M' in SME

Mark C. Tomlinson, CMfgE, EMCP

By Mark C Tomlinson, CMfgE, EMCP
Executive Director/CEO
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
Member Since 1996


In the past, I have talked extensively about the collaborative activities SME has been involved in, which supports our vision of being the go-to place for manufacturing knowledge. Over the last five years, the Society has established an array of collaborations and partnerships that have helped it deliver knowledge through events like AeroDef, imX, Mfg4, and FABTECH; professional development, such as lean certification, the certification umbrella system, and Tooling U; and membership with NIST MEP and NIMMS to name a few.

So what does all of this activity have to do with the "M" in SME, and why do we think it is important to have it talked about at the national and international level? Because we as members of this human race know how important it is to make things in order to keep an economy viable! Just ask the Greeks, who rely primarily on a service economy, or the US for that matter when we get out of balance—manufacturing is at the center of a financially stable country.

In the past 10 years I can count the number of times on one hand when manufacturing was discussed or even mentioned at the national level. Today, it is in the news daily. Why? Because officials have finally realized its importance in stabilizing an economy.

Have we created enough jobs to put everyone back to work? Have we identified what skills are going to be needed for our future workforce? Do we have the right training available? Are the schools focused on filling the pipeline? Not yet, but SME and its valuable partners are working on these issues collectively. All of us are at the beginning of the journey, and everyone must continue to take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented.

How can we do that? Well it starts with believing that the future of manufacturing is bright, and with the help of SME and its partners, we will assist, prod, and push leaders to do the right thing to support the process of making things. This in turn strengthens our belief that the world will be a better place than when we entered it because of innovation and productivity, and that we have the talent to innovate, create, and distribute valuable products to assist in realizing the goals in front of us. Using tools provided by SME and its partners, attending valuable events such as CMTS, imX, and FABTECH, or becoming certified using online training tools provided by Tooling U are just a few steps we can take.

Let’s put the past in the past and focus on the future. No, your old job is not coming back, but a new more exciting job may exist if we update our skills and understand where and how things are being made to support our future. I know that transition and change are not easy, and many of our fellow manufacturing practitioners have been struggling for quite some time. However, SME believes that it is on the verge of something great, that the M in SME really matters.

SME is committed to this vision, and you have both the leadership and staff of the Society committed to providing the right knowledge at the right time in the way you would like to receive it. All of us are tirelessly working on a daily basis to improve the way we deliver knowledge to individuals by upgrading our knowledge delivery mechanisms and for companies and their valuable employees by providing unique events like imX and CMTS.

In addition, the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) is partnering with organizations like NACME and Project Lead The Way to ensure the future workforce—our children—get excited about making things. The Foundation provides scholarship opportunities for those students who want to continue their dream of changing the world—fulfilling dreams that may not have been realized otherwise.

So we have started down the road, the M is being talked about, and actions are being taken. Will this momentum continue? Can you visualize a future where being in manufacturing is as important as being a doctor or financial professional? Will we make this world a better place to live in for our children and our children’s children? No one can really predict the future. However, we, the members of SME and the manufacturing community, can make sure that Making Things in a productive way stays at the center of any viable economic community. How? By believing in the M of SME!!! ME




Ten Join 2011 SME College of Fellows


Ten manufacturing leaders have been elected to the 2011 SME College of Fellows. Recipients are recognized by their peers and the manufacturing community as key contributors to the social, technical, and educational progress of manufacturing.


Viktor Astakhov, PhD, FSME, received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Tula State Polytechnic University, Tula-Moscow, Russia, in 1983. Currently, Astakhov is the tool research and application manager of the General Motors Business Unit of PSMI (Rochester Hills, MI). He has published fundamental and textbooks, book chapters, and many papers in professional journals as well as papers in trade periodicals. Astakhov has won a number of national and international awards for both his teaching and research. His main research and application interests include theory (including physics, analytical, and numerical [FEM] modeling) of metal cutting and its applications; cutting tool design, assessment, and optimization; machinability of materials; new tool materials and coatings; design of experiments; and coolant application practices. Member Since 2000.


George "Nick" Bullen, FSME, is currently the president and CEO of Smart Blades Inc. (Oxnard, CA). In November 2010, Bullen retired as principal engineer and technical expert for advanced manufacturing technology and advanced programs for Northrop Grumman Corp. He has 16 patents for technology innovations related to mechanization, robotics, and robotics control software, and is the founder of the Aerospace Automation Consortium. Bullen is widely published in magazines, proceedings, journals, and peer-reviewed journals, and received the AIAA Design Engineering Award in 2000. He has an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, a BS degree from Pepperdine University, an AS degree from Mesa College, and is currently finishing his PhD in engineering research. Member Since 2010.


F. Frank Chen, PhD, FSME, has demonstrated prolific research careers in both industry and academia. He is the founding director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Lean Systems at the University of Texas at San Antonio, which has an active industry-based research consortium aimed at advancing lean and sustainable manufacturing and flexible automation tools. Member Since 1983.


Dianne Chong, PhD, FSME, is vice president of materials assembly, Factory & Support Technology, an organization within Boeing Research & Technology (Seattle). Chong currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Global Science and Technology and is a commissioner to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. An expert in metallurgical engineering, her PhD as well as her master’s and bachelor’s degrees are from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Chong also holds an executive master’s degree in manufacturing management from Washington University. Member Since 1997.


Placid M. Ferreira, PhD, FSME, is the head and Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ferreira received a PhD in industrial engineering from Purdue University, a master’s of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Bombay. His research spans several areas of manufacturing engineering, including precision machine tools, micro and nanoscale fabrication, and flexible automation. Member Since 2006.


Changsheng Guo, PhD, FSME, is a project manager with United Technologies Research Center (Hartford, CT), where he leads projects in modeling and optimization of manufacturing processes. Guo received his PhD in mechanical engineering and his MBA from the University of Massachusetts, as well as a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University in China.
Member Since 1993.


Wallace Hopp, PhD, FSME, is an accomplished manufacturing scholar and educator. He has published nearly 100 papers and book chapters focusing on the design, control, and management of operations systems, with emphasis on manufacturing and supply chain systems, innovation processes, and health care systems. Hopp coauthored the influential Factory Physics text, founded the bachelor's in manufacturing engineering and the master's of management and manufacturing programs at Northwestern University. He has been active in professional service, including terms as editor of Management Science and president of POMS, and as an industry consultant. Hopp, is currently the associate dean for faculty and research at the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI). Member Since 1992.


Jack Jeswiet, PhD, FSME, PE, is professor of mechanical engineering at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) where he is the chair of undergraduate studies. Jeswiet is a professional engineer in the Province of Ontario, Canada. His research interests include: sustainable product design (ecodesign); sheet metalforming, including incremental sheet forming; microplastic metalforming; measurement of friction and temperature in metalforming; and powder metallurgy. Jeswiet's recent activities include board of directors of CSME; chair, CIRP Scientific Committee on Forming; vice-chair, CIRP Scientific Committee on Life Cycle/Assembly; and warden of Camp 3 of the Obligation of the Engineer. Member Since 2009.  


Pradeep Rohatgi, PhD, FSME, received his undergraduate degree from Banaras University, India, and his master’s and doctorate in science from MIT in 1963 and 1964, respectively. Rohatgi currently serves as a Wisconsin and UWM distinguished professor and as the director of the UWM Composite and Advanced Materials Manufacture Centers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His initial research on cast metal-matrix composites has been listed as a major landmark in the history of metal casting on synthesis, processing, and characterization of cast metal-matrix composites. Member Since 2005.


Lihui Wang, PhD, FSME, PE, is a professor in the Virtual Systems Research Centre at the University of Skövde (Skövde, Sweden). An accomplished researcher, educator, and professional engineer, Wang’s research interests are focused on collaborative process planning, Web-based, real-time monitoring, and remote control, as well as intelligent and adaptive manufacturing systems. He has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME) since 2004. Currently, Wang is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Manufacturing Research, editor of the Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, editor (Northern Europe) of the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, and associate editor of the Journal of Manufacturing Systems. Member Since 1999.


Nominations for SME Fellows are currently being accepted and are due December 1. To submit a nomination, visit


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

Published Date : 9/1/2011

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