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SME Recognizes 2016 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

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 Young professionals’ accomplishments highlight manufacturing industry opportunity

(DEARBORN, Mich., March 28, 2016) ― Underscoring the exceptional opportunity available to young professionals in global technology and advanced manufacturing careers, SME is recognizing 16 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers from industry and academia to be honored for career achievement.

Selected through an extensive review process conducted for SME by executives from across industry and academia, the recognition is based on a candidate’s research and development efforts in emerging manufacturing applications, published works, design ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and leadership. All honorees are 35 or younger.

The 2016 award is named to honor and recognize Robert J. Hocken, PhD, FSME, former (retired) Norvin Kennedy Dickerson Jr., distinguished professor and director, Center for Precision Metrology, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I’m honored by and appreciative of this recognition, and I’m proud that my name will be associated with these fine young professionals,” said Hocken. “Their achievements and advancements in a rich variety of fields and applications are deserving of this elite award.”

For their achievements in applications throughout the manufacturing industry, SME recognizes five Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers in 2016:

  • David Blondheim Jr., PE, Engineering and Technical Support Manager, Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Engineering and technical support manager at Mercury Marine; using casting simulations and process data analysis for significant scrap reduction

  • Yujie Chen, PhD, Research Engineer, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois

Leading internal and external efforts in researching machining related technologies to deliver the best possible solution; authored or co-authored more than 20 articles

  • Andy Henderson, PhD, Advanced Manufacturing Engineer, GE Power, Greenville, South Carolina

Advanced manufacturing engineer in General Electric’s Power Business at the Gas Turbine Plant integrating new technology with manufacturing operations to improve processes

  • Jaydeep Karandikar, PhD, Process Engineer, Manufacturing Processes Laboratory, GE Global Research Center, Niskayuna, New York

Process engineer identifying manufacturing challenges, developing advanced manufacturing cost-effective solutions and overseeing successful implementation into production

  • Christian Rath, Manufacturing Engineer, Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Illinois

Manufacturing engineer with Global Quality and Manufacturing Engineering team; strong supporter of local STEM-based educational programs and building talent pipeline for future manufacturing and engineering professionals

Additionally, SME has selected 11 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers from academia in 2016:

  • Michael Cullinan, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Nanomanufacturing processes and equipment, the application of nanoscale science in engineering

  • Emmanuel De Moor, PhD, Assistant Professor, Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center, George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials, Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

Materials, microstructure, properties and processing interrelationships in sheet, plate, rail, bar, forging and wire steels

  • David Hoelzle, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Novel control laws for microscale additive manufacturing systems using nontraditional sensors; controlled microsystems that enable the mechanical perturbation and measurement of cultured tissues and cells

  • Liangbing Hu, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

Nanomaterials and nanostructures, roll-to-roll nanomanufacturing, energy storage focusing on solid-state batteries, Na-ion batteries and printed electronics

  • Xiaoning Jin, PhD, Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Advanced modeling for prognostics and health management of based on sensor information and design of predictive and preventive strategy for manufacturing operations

  • Chinedum E. Okwudire, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Smart and sustainable manufacturing: electromechanical design and controls to enhance precision and speed and maintain energy efficiency and low cost

  • Srikanth Pilla, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Automotive Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Lightweight functional materials focusing on two major thrusts: composites and thermoelectrics

  • Christopher Saldana, PhD, Assistant Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical, Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Full-field and full-volume measurement platforms based on optical, electron and X-ray imaging; novel manufacturing technologies for processing of alloys and composites

  • Rohan A. Shirwaiker, PhD, Assistant Professor, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Development of antimicrobial orthopedic implants and the 3D-biofabrication of musculoskeletal tissue constructs

  • Sameh Tawfick, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

Synthesis, assembly and manufacturing of nanostructured materials for applications of large-size scales including composites, foams and surface coatings

  • Hao Wu, PhD, Professor, School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Precision manufacture, flexible-hybrid electronics for wearable medical/human monitoring and structural health monitoring

Since 1980, SME’s Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers Award has recognized the careers and achievements of more than 370 professionals. Nominations are accepted annually on or before Aug. 1. Visit to learn more about the award and the nominating process.


About SME
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 is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or



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