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SME Speaks: Are You Where You Want to Be?

  LaRoux Gillespie

By LaRoux K. Gillespie, Dr. Eng., FSME, CMfgE, PE
Society of Manufacturing Engineers 

How do you document your professional development? How does your company determine how far along you are in your position and when you are ready for the next step up? As a manager of many people, I have had to assess that many times. Clearly what you do in the company plays a major part in those decisions and how you are compared with others in the company. What you do outside also may impact those evaluations because that denotes additional leadership or skills.

Graduate degrees imply more professional development. Certifications clearly imply abilities that others may not have. Writing professional articles or papers clearly shows a level of professional development. Speaking at leading conferences denotes acceptance of your abilities outside the company. Attaining high levels in volunteer organizations denotes external respect for abilities. Being a spokesman for events denotes authority. Shoulder-to-shoulder meetings with key leaders imply an acceptance as an equal, and, hence, high levels of professional development. Discussions on the latest technology or its implementation document currency of knowledge and potential leadership in implementing such work in plant venues. Introducing plant personnel to external authorities denotes professional accomplishment. All of this activity symbolizes professional development.

SME offers almost all of those opportunities for developing the professional. It is there at little or no cost in most instances. While SME does not provide graduate degrees, it does support all the manufacturing engineering and technology programs by helping assess and develop current curricula. It interfaces with the world’s leading manufacturing researchers, provides publishing opportunities, and is always looking for speakers on a host of manufacturing issues. SME’s certification programs provide rigorous documentation of abilities and understanding. Tooling U provides convenient training on a host of subjects for engineers, machinists, managers, inspectors, and other shop personnel.

SME offers professional development opportunities for every individual in the small shop as well as those in the large automated plants. Whether it is learning via lunch-break videos, weeklong research conferences, monthly webinars, certification reviews and testing, or simply publishing a technical paper with or without formally presenting it in front of a group, SME provides those opportunities. Local chapters are always searching for new faces to help build their leadership team, and the Technical Communities and associated tech groups are thrilled to have others join them—no experience necessary. Weekend leadership programs help address working with the newest and the longest-serving employee. It is all there for the very sophisticated as well as for the recent graduate or new employee. It’s there for the engineer, the manager, the CNC operator, the programmer, the supply chain personnel, and the staff who have to find the next way to improve the bottom line as well as for those who are searching for the next technology.

Professional development is a personal responsibility. While some companies provide some support in this effort, it is your life and ultimately it’s up to you to build your future. You can do it alone, with a partner, or even as a part of a company-wide effort. You can make the journey through local chapters, tech groups, lean manufacturing venues, college and high school programs, advanced education, teaching, etc.

For most of us it is a fun, rewarding journey. We make a lot of friends who are there to help us when we need something, and we answer their calls when they need help. We laugh a lot, struggle at times, and eventually help others as we help ourselves.

"How do I begin?" you ask. Call SME Customer Care at 800-733-4763, and they will work with you to suggest what might best fit your life and interests. Think about that for a minute. How are you doing on your professional development? Are you where you want to be? ME


2011 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers Announced

The following 12 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments in manufacturing, such as technical publications, patents, academic or industry leadership, or for several significant accomplishments in one or more areas of activity.

Shorya Awtar
Shorya Awtar
, Sc.D., is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Awtar worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and for General Electric Corporate R&D. His current research and teaching interests lie in machine design, flexure mechanisms, mechatronic systems, and precision engineering.


Emmanuel Brousseau
Emmanuel Brousseau
, PhD, is currently the recipient of an academic fellowship from the Research Councils UK at Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University (Wales, UK). His research interests include micro and nanofabrication, metrology, intelligent CAD/CAM, and technology management. Brousseau leads the Nano Manufacturing Technologies Laboratory at Cardiff School of Engineering. Throughout his career, Brousseau has collaborated with several research centers, universities, and companies in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland.

David M. Dietrich

David M. Dietrich
, PhD, is a materials process and physics engineer at The Boeing Co. (Berkeley, MO). His program-management industry experience has been dedicated to researching the additive manufacturing field for the Boeing Research and Technology Division. This experience has given Dietrich the ability to gain focus of all aspects of additive manufacturing, including polymer and metal-based processes. Dietrich holds a PhD in engineering management and an MS in manufacturing engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Dalong Gao
Dalong Gao
, PhD, is a senior researcher at the Manufacturing Systems Research Lab of the General Motors Global Research and Development Center (Warren, MI). Gao’s technical interests include manufacturing processes as well as safe robots and controls. He is leading several major research projects, while working with top universities, industries, associations, and government agencies. Gao received MS degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical, and computer engineering in 2002 and 2003, and his PhD degree in mechanical engineering in 2005, all from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Sayata Ghose

Sayata Ghose
, PhD, is currently a senior research scientist with the National Institute of Aerospace (Hampton, VA) and a resident researcher with the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch at NASA Langley Research Center. Her most recent work has focused on autoclave-free manufacturing processes for high-temperature matrix resins required for composite structures on aerospace vehicles, such as supersonic aircraft and launch vehicles. Ghose holds one US patent and has four patent applications.

Sandip P. Harimkar
Sandip P. Harimkar
, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK). His research interests encompass advanced processing and characterization of materials, with emphasis on investigating the mechanisms of micro/nanostructure evolution and its influence on properties. Specific areas of research include spark plasma sintering of nanostructured materials, laser micromachining of materials, laser surface modifications of ceramics, and laser cladding of amorphous/composite coatings. He received his PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2007.

Martin B. G. Jun

Martin B.G. Jun
, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC, Canada). His current research interests include nanoparticle deposition, development of sustainable cutting fluid and application system, development of micro/nanometrology systems, and understanding micromachining mechanics and dynamics. Jun’s various research projects have attracted significant funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, and interest from the industry.

Mohammed Omar
Mohammed Omar
, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (Clemson, SC). Omar received his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Jordan in 2001, and his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2005. Omar published two books on automotive manufacturing and has contributed to a chapter in the book New Trends in the Automotive Industry. He also has three US patents and two international patents. His research and teaching focus is on the automotive manufacturing systems and quality control nondestructive testing methods.

 Binil Starly
Binil Starly
, PhD, is currently appointed as an assistant professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK). Starly’s research spans the design and fabrication of 3-D tissue constructs for applications in tissue engineering and drug screening studies. His research and education interests include shape engineering, reverse engineering, rapid manufacturing, and CAD/CAE/CAM. Starly has published more than 20 journal publications in the field of design/manufacturing, customized biomedical implants, and scaffold-based tissue engineering. He received the 2010 NASA TechBrief Award for his work on micro-organ devices, with a patent pending on the technology.

 Kevin T. Turner

Kevin T. Turner
, PhD, is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his BS degree in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1999, and his MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001 and 2004, respectively. His primary research interests are the manufacturing and mechanics of micro and nanoscale systems. Turner’s research spans multiple topics, including wafer bonding, tip-based nanomanufacturing, and transfer and integration of semiconductor nanomembranes.

Chengying 'Cheryl' Xu

Chengying "Cheryl" Xu
, PhD, is currently an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL). She received her PhD in 2006 in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, and her MS in mechanical manufacturing and automation from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2001. Xu’s research interests include intelligent systems, control, manufacturing, smart sensor/actuator, online monitoring and diagnostics, mechatronics, and automation. She is a coauthor of the book Intelligent Systems: Modeling, Optimization and Control.

Yihong 'David' Yang
Yihong "David" Yang
, PhD, is an engineering project team leader at Caterpillar Inc. (Peoria, IL). His engineering career started in 2005 in the Caterpillar Tech Center. Yang dedicated his efforts in virtual manufacturing engineering domain, which uses various analysis and simulation, and digital/visualization tools to develop and validate the design and manufacturing processes in a virtual environment to achieve quality, velocity, and safety. He led a team to validate Caterpillar’s major tractor new design concepts for manufacturability, ergonomics, and serviceability. Yang holds a PhD degree in manufacturing engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Nominations for SME’s Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award
are due annually on August 1. To submit a nomination, visit


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


Published Date : 5/1/2011

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