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SME Speaks: Making an Impact with Words

Dennis Bray







By Dennis S. Bray, PhD, FSME
SME International Director and Interim CEO
Member Since 1985

Every year, the leaders of SME, which includes volunteers and staff, sit down to discuss the coming year, and one of the many things discussed is the editorial content for SME Speaks. Throughout the years, as SME evolves, so do the topics in SME Speaks—2014 will be no exception. Our goal this year with SME Speaks, as one of our outward-facing communication methods, is to continue building on the theme outlined by SME President Mike Molnar in his January editorial that SME is a collaborative organization uniquely dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for industry. The 2014 editorials will therefore be a blend of both relevant topics from industry professionals and what SME is doing to make an impact on industry, all the while highlighting the role people have in innovation in manufacturing.

I believe that “The greatest opportunity to make a better future is to expand and utilize the abilities of people.” As we watch the manufacturing industry continue to improve and create new career opportunities for people in manufacturing, SME maintains its focus to: “Connect all those who are passionate about making things that improve the world.” Our SME Speaks’ editorials are one of our ways to accomplish this.

For several years now, SME has been trying to dispel the myth that a career in manufacturing involves working in a dirty factory environment, with no advanced training and/or higher education needed. As all of us know who are currently involved in industry, the large majority of manufacturing plants are clean, sterile environments with state-of-the-art machines and equipment. This type of cutting-edge manufacturing requires more education and training than ever before, which is why it’s no longer enough to just talk about SME’s products and services—we need to show how they are being used to make an impact.

For example, let’s talk about one very influential part of SME and how it’s making an impact on the future-generation workforce. Since 2007, the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) has provided in-kind gifts of more than $345 million thanks to the generosity of its industry partners. Whether it’s through monetary gifts, in-kind donations or volunteering, the Foundation’s corporate sponsors have been a vital part of helping it provide students access to an advanced manufacturing education that will allow them to compete in a 21st-century global economy. Not only is this a great example of collaboration, but it also addresses both the knowledge and skill needs for industry because engaging the younger generation and getting them excited about careers in manufacturing is a cornerstone of SME’s vision/mission/purpose. To capitalize on this, in a mid-year Speaks editorial, you’ll hear from a 2013 SME-EF scholarship winner and how winning $70,000 has made a difference in her life and education.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, SME, in association with its four partners, produces the highly successful FABTECH, which is the largest metalforming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America. FABTECH 2013 had a total of 40,667 attendees who visited 1573 exhibitors to see live equipment demonstrations, compare products side-by-side to find cost-saving solutions at product displays spread across 650,000 sq ft of exhibits at McCormick Place in Chicago. It was the largest FABTECH show in history and clearly illustrates the magnitude just one event can have. Through SME’s events, attendees are often exposed to the up-and-coming innovations making their way into manufacturing facilities throughout the country. You’ll learn more about these innovations in an upcoming issue as well.

In addition, you can expect editorials on education and workforce development that will express the need to continue building a strong infrastructure for manufacturing, you’ll also hear about advancements in different industries, as well as manufacturing trends; how SME is continuing its work with the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) as it continues to establish a network of regional manufacturing institutes; and periodic updates from SME’s leadership.

As always, it’s an exciting time to be associated and involved in manufacturing. SME and its leadership are happy to be a part of such an exciting industry, and we all look forward to highlighting the society’s endeavors to advance manufacturing and address both the knowledge and skill needs for industry. ME

Sandra Bouckley
Congratulations to STEP Honorees!

SME would like to extend its congratulations to two of its Board of Directors—Sandra Bouckley and Edye Buchanan, CMfgT. Bouckley is VP of Operations-Electrical Systems and Services Group-Electrical Sector for Eaton Corp. and is currently serving as SME’s secretary/treasurer, while Buchanan, a product manager for Fives North American Combustion Inc., is in her second term as an SME International Director.

The STEP Awards identify and highlight women who have demonstrated excellence in manufacturing. It recognizes women at all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to the C-suite. The awards are part of the Manufacturing Institute’s larger STEP Ahead Edye Buchananinitiative and was founded last year to examine and promote the role of women in science, technology, engineering and production through recognition, research and best practices for attracting, advancing and retaining strong female talent.

The pair were to be recognized for their achievements at the 2014 STEP Awards Dinner Program held on February 6 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. For complete award information and background on the honorees, visit


California Chapter Hosts One-Day Conference

SME’s Silicon Valley Chapter 98 will be holding its 9th Annual Conference, Thursday, May 22 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The one-day seminar will focus on 3D printing and robotics. Currently, the chapter has 20+ speakers and panelists, including serial entrepreneurs, company founders, R&D leaders, manufacturers, design firms and colleges. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Design-2-Part Show, in collaboration with SME’s North Bay and Sacramento Valley chapters. Learn more at


This article was first published in the February 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.

Published Date : 2/1/2014

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