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SME Speaks: Moving SME & Manufacturing Forward

Dennis Bray








By Dennis S. Bray, PhD, FSME
SME President
Member Since 1985

When I first wrote to you as the incoming SME president in early January, a common theme throughout my editorial was “making it possible”—making it possible to continue to move manufacturing forward and to continue to grow SME. A year later, I can now say, we’ve made it possible. This year was about laying the foundation for success in the coming years. It was about addressing SME’s brand in the marketplace, setting its course for success and achieving synergy throughout the organization.

These incremental changes were accomplished by moving from our longstanding moniker, “Society of Manufacturing Engineers,” to SME. This decision was largely made because we want SME to be inclusive, not exclusive. It’s an organization that anyone involved in manufacturing can be a part of—not just engineers or manufacturing engineers. Adding to that was the overall change in the SME logo, which reflects SME’s fresh new outlook and overall strategic direction.

As you look at SME from the outside, you may only see that there are many different parts of the organization. You may wonder how all of these parts fit together. What sometimes may not be obvious is what the organization as a whole has to offer. This is where synergy comes in. Let’s start with the SME Education Foundation. For more than 30 years, the Foundation has been preparing the future engineers and technologists for advanced manufacturing careers through outreach programs to enrich students to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), supporting high schools with the PRIME school program and providing scholarships to outstanding students. In conjunction with SME-EF’s efforts, Tooling U-SME works with manufacturers to build training programs and support workforce learning initiatives. Building a strong, knowledgeable workforce leads to strong, more successful manufacturers. These manufacturers then become key technology providers and decision makers who attend SME events to learn about the latest and greatest in advanced manufacturing, including equipment, technical solutions, new industry markets and niches, and so on. The strong connections they forge when attending SME events lead to even greater resources found through Manufacturing Engineering Media and its vast media platforms, including print editions, digital, mobile apps and eNewsletters, all of which cover a variety of technologies and industries, including aerospace and defense, additive manufacturing, lean, alternative energy and much, much more. And then, at its core, and its most valuable asset, is the SME Member. The SME Member who believes in SME, its rich history, and the power in relationships and technical expertise.

As we move into 2014, the changes that were made are what I would consider SME’s foundation for the future. As someone who’s been involved in manufacturing for many years, I am keenly aware of all that is happening in the marketplace. I know that the world we live in is made better by manufacturing. It helps us prosper in challenging times. It’s what’s seen us through the many ups and downs of the economy. It’s what helps move technology forward. It’s also the cornerstone of SME and what it stands for.

As our boilerplate and vision/mission/purpose state, SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME inspires, prepares and supports the advancement of manufacturing and attracting the future generation workforce. At SME, we are making the future. Together.

I am very proud of all the accomplishments SME achieved in 2013. It took a great deal of effort and time on the part of the SME Board of Directors, volunteer leaders, members and staff to achieve this level of success. As many SME presidents before me, I will now go back to my day-to-day activities knowing that there will be a new president and leadership team to carry on. It has been an honor to be your SME president—thank you for the opportunity. ME


SME Education Foundation Announces New Board Members

The SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) recently announced the election of four new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the board is:

  • Gwen Malone, GM Technical Fellow and Senior Manager of Ergonomics,
    GM Global Manufacturing Engineering Division
  • Jennifer McNelly, President, The Manufacturing Institute
  • Karla Middlebrooks, Contributing Partner, Excellence In Action (EIA)
  • Roy Sweatman, Owner, Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT)

The SME-EF Board of Directors facilitates educational community-industry-government-SME interaction for the advancement of manufacturing education. Its purpose is implemented by raising funds and dispersing them in areas such as scholarships, youth programs, faculty development and other related areas. The four new board members will begin their term on January 1, 2014.

RAPID 2014 Returns to Detroit

The frequency of news stories declaring the wonders of 3D printing can lead one to believe this technology is the newest thing since smartphones. However, SME began showcasing additive manufacturing and related technologies nearly 25 years ago in Detroit. The RAPID Conference and Exposition—known worldwide as the authority in additive manufacturing, 3D printing and 3D scanning—will return to its origins at Detroit’s newly renovated Cobo Center, June 9–12, 2014. Located in a different city each year since 1990, RAPID brings additive manufacturing technologies to manufacturing professionals across the country. With its return to the Motor City, RAPID will feature the very latest of this technology including the ability to print parts for jets to customized medical devices for patients. The event receives support from SME’s Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community and will be co-located with THE BIG M and NAMRC/MSEC/ICM&P. Learn more at

Member Networking Tool—SME Connect

SME Connect is an exclusive online resource for SME members who want to interact virtually with other at-large members, or those from their Technical Community and/or chapter. It’s also a great avenue for starting/participating in manufacturing-related discussions, starting an opinion-piece blog or learning more about all the membership activities taking place throughout North America. SME encourages all of its members to visit and start connecting! 


This article was first published in the December 2013 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF

Published Date : 12/1/2013

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