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Local Chapters Pave the Way for Involvement and Leadership Opportunities

 Maite Mauri








  By Maite Mauri
Program Manager, ACES
SME Member Since 2011

I’ve been asked many times why I’m an involved volunteer member at SME. The answer is simple: it makes me happy. Attending a company tour and learning about the different ways manufacturers are tackling the quickly evolving materials, customer demands and global markets is eye opening. Listening to a professional expert share insights into new technologies that are changing the way we design and manufacture products during a tech talk event, like how additive manufacturing is being used by companies to redesign attachments for aircraft overhead bins to reduce weight by as much as 80%, is exciting and inspiring. Representing SME at an annual engineering expo for K-12 students to introduce them to the different facets of engineering, and to encourage them to continue learning and being curious about the world around them, is rewarding beyond measure.

Allow me to take a step back to 2005. As a student at California State University, Long Beach, after strong encouragement from a professor, I took the lead to reinstate the SME student chapter. I recruited a team of students that would work on an extracurricular project for three months, and we presented the project at an SME conference—WESTEC 2006–at the LA Convention Center. This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was able to develop and demonstrate my leadership and project management skills, I walked the floor of the exposition and watched the machines demonstrate cutting-edge technologies, I received the William B. Johnson Leadership in Manufacturing Award presented by Buzz Aldrin, and I was offered multiple employment opportunities directly from senior leaders of some of the biggest manufacturers in the Los Angeles area–all within two days. This is just one example of how SME opens doors, provides opportunities for development and networking, and is dedicated to enabling the next generation to pursue manufacturing and engineering professions.

The last two years, I had the honor of being chair of SME’s Seattle Chapter 39 where I worked with a very active group of members who are committed to education. The Manufacturing Institute recently published a paper by Deloitte titled “The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing 2015 and beyond.” Manufacturing is a valuable industry as “every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the U.S. economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates an additional 250 jobs in other sectors.” However, there is a skills gap–six out of 10 manufacturing job openings remain open because of a shortage in skilled workers. Young people have a negative view of the manufacturing industry and they lack STEM skills.

That’s where the local chapter comes in. Chapter 39 leaders have created direct connections with local high schools, universities and colleges. It sponsors four student chapters as well as the only PRIME school in Washington State, adding up to about 80 students per year. Chapter volunteers attend the annual engineering expo for K-12 students, where hundreds of young students are introduced to manufacturing. Additionally, the chapter leaders are involved in several educator committees, helping educators better understand the current manufacturing industry needs. Thirty-five to 50 professional members take SME’s CMfgE/CMfgT Review Course every year, offered free of charge to SME members thanks to chapter volunteers.

A successful organization is defined by its people. People who have bias for action and are obsessed with continuously improving are able to positively influence their communities. There are many ways in which each and every one of us can affect the so-called skills gap in manufacturing. SME has many different programs from PRIME for high schools to technical webinars and forums to local chapters and expos. Find the one that is the best fit and join the rest of the volunteer leaders of SME. We need your help.

I encourage you to take charge and reduce the skills gap. Your involvement is critical to the success of manufacturing in the US. It’s up to you to inspire the next generation. Visit for your local chapter connections.

SME Connect: Virtual Community for Members

SME Connect,, has recently undergone a transformation with a new design, layout and features. Through SME Connect, members have the opportunity to network with their peers, post discussions through the Technical Community Network, add upcoming events, blog and gather the latest manufacturing news and information.

Recent Technical Community Network discussions:

  • 3D printing; Connect
  • Biocompatible materials;
  • TCPC turning;
  • Metal-forming simulation;
  • Tool center point control;
  • Alternative energy;
  • Robotic end-effectors;
  • Tube and pipe fabrication;
  • Additive manufacturing’s feasibility;
  • Model-based definition for assembly;
  • Production counters for stamping operations;
  • Why manufacturing companies fail;
  • Lean manufacturing and cell production; and
  • Improving quality of composite parts.

A daily digest is emailed to SME members with links to any new discussions and/or responses to previously posted discussions. An SME membership is required to participate. Visit to learn more.

SME Names Christopher Wojcik Director of MembershipChristopher Wojcik

Christopher Wojcik joined SME on Jan. 13 as the director of Membership at SME. He assumed management of SME’s Membership group operations as well as strategic direction, planning, implementation and measurement of membership programs. Wojcik joins SME from the American Society of Interior Designers where he served as vice president of Membership and Industry Development. He also held membership leadership positions at The American Medical Student Association and the Society of General Internal Medicine. SME’s growth strategy for Membership ranges from new high school student membership to bolstering programs for college and trade school students, as well as manufacturing practitioners through all aspects of their careers. Much of these efforts will focus on building membership programs for companies and organizations to support their employees.


This article was first published in the February 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF. 


Published Date : 2/1/2016

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