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2016 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

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These 16 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers, age 35 or younger, are being recognized for their exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry. Each year, the award is named in honor of a specific individual who has made lifelong contributions to manufacturing and SME. The 2016 award is named after Robert J. Hocken, PhD, FSME, Norvin Kennedy Dickerson Jr. Distinguished Professor and Director, Center of Precision Metrology, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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

David Blondheim Jr. graduated in 2004 with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University. He began his engineering career at Manitowoc Tool & Machining, a machine job shop. While working full time, he completed his professional engineer certification, earned his MBA from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2008 and obtained his master’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University in 2012. After eight years of progressive experience at MTM, he left his vice president of engineering role to take on new challenges leading the engineering team at Mercury Marine’s castings division in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Blondheim is currently the engineering and technical support manager at Mercury Marine. His accomplishments include significant scrap reductions through the use of casting simulations and process data analysis. Blondheim is a member of SME, ASQ, NADCA and Trout Unlimited. His other interests include mentoring students through SkillsUSA.  

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

Yujie Chen is currently a research engineer for Caterpillar Inc. He started his career in the Product Development & Global Technology Division within Caterpillar, after receiving his doctorate from International Center for Automotive Research of Clemson University. At Caterpillar, he is leading internal and external efforts in researching machining-related technologies to deliver the best possible solution. Chen dedicates himself to applying research results to solve real-world problems within the manufacturing industry. He has brought virtual technologies into manufacturing processes and improved quality, productivity and safety to shorten the prototype to marketable product timeline. Chen also supports digital manufacturing research and leads projects to digitalize manufacturing process control within the factory. He is a reviewer for multiple conferences and journals, and also chairs multiple manufacturing conferences. Chen has authored or co-authored more than 20 articles from his graduate study and career at Caterpillar.

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

Michael Cullinan is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining UT Austin, Cullinan was a National Research Council postdoctoral associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Cullinan received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT in 2011. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College. Cullinan’s research focuses on the development of novel nanomanufacturing systems and on finding ways to exploit nanoscale physical phenomena to improve existing macroscale devices and to create novel micro and nanoscale devices. His research interests include the design and development of nanomanufacturing processes and equipment, the application of nanoscale science in engineering, the engineering of thin films, nanotubes and nanowires, the manufacturing/assembly of nanostructured materials and the design of micro/nanoscale machine elements for mechanical systems. SME Member Since 2015

Emmanuel DeMoorEmmanuel 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

Emmanuel De Moor is an assistant professor with the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center, an industry-university cooperative research center, at the George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. De Moor obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in materials engineering from the University of Ghent, Belgium. His research interests pertain to microstructure, properties and processing interrelationships in sheet, plate, rail, bar, forging and wire steels.

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

Andy Henderson is an advanced manufacturing engineer in General Electric’s Power Business at the Gas Turbine Plant. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006 and doctorate in automotive engineering from Clemson University in 2012. Between receiving his bachelor’s degree and graduate school, he was a diesel engine test engineer with Caterpillar Inc. at its tech center in Peoria, Illinois. His doctoral research focused on integrating on-machine sensing with an updated mechanistic cutting-force model for improved, in-process, estimation of cutting tool wear when milling gamma-prime Nickel-based superalloys. Since joining GE, Henderson has focused on integrating new technology with manufacturing operations to improve processes. He has provided thought leadership around GE’s Brilliant Factory efforts. Henderson has developed the Brilliant Factory roadmap for GE’s Greenville plant and has led multiple research projects with universities and internal manufacturing research groups.

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

David Hoelzle is an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and 2011, respectively, and his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University in 2005. Between his doctorate and current position, Hoelzle completed a postdoc in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests lie in applied control theory and dynamics for applications in additive manufacturing and bio-diagnostic devices. Currently, Hoelzle is investigating novel control laws for microscale additive manufacturing systems using nontraditional sensors, such as machine vision and atomic force microscopy (AFM) as the feedback sensor. On the bio-diagnostics front, he is interested in controlled microsystems that enable the mechanical perturbation and measurement of cultured tissues and cells.

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

Liangbing Hu received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2002, where he worked with Professor Yuhueng Zhang on colossal magnetoresistance (CMR) materials for three years. Hu performed his doctoral work at the University of California Los Angeles with Professor George Gruner, focusing on carbon-nanotube-based nanoelectronics (2002-07). In 2006, he joined Unidym Inc. as a cofounding scientist. At Unidym, Hu’s role was the development of roll-to-roll, printed carbon nanotube transparent electrodes and device integrations into touch screens, LCDs, flexible OLEDs and solar cells. He worked with Professor Yi Cui at Stanford University from 2009-11, where he researched various energy devices based on nanomaterials and nanostructures. Currently, Hu is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland College Park. His research interests include nanomaterials and nanostructures, roll-to-roll nanomanufacturing, energy storage focusing on solid-state batteries, Na-ion batteries and printed electronics.

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

Xiaoning Jin is an assistant research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Jin received her master’s and doctoral degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Her primary research focus is advanced modeling for prognostics and health management based on sensor information and design of predictive and preventive strategy for manufacturing operations. Jin’s work intersects industrial engineering and manufacturing systems, and innovatively combines physics-based modeling techniques with advance data analytics. The potential impact of this research ranges from discrete production systems to high throughput continuous manufacturing systems with improved productivity, resource utilization efficiency, and enhanced system intelligence and resilience in responses to dynamic environment. Jin has published more than 15 journal papers and received the ASME Best Paper Award (MSEC2014) and 2014 International Conference on Frontiers of Design and Manufacturing. SME Member Since 2015

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

Jaydeep Karandikar is a process engineer at the Manufacturing Processes Laboratory, GE Global Research Center. His responsibilities include identifying manufacturing challenges, developing advanced manufacturing cost-effective solutions and overseeing successful implementation into production. Karandikar received his master’s degree from the University of Florida and doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte under the guidance of Professor Tony Schmitz. After completing his doctorate, Karandikar was a postdoc at Georgia Tech under Professor Tom Kurfess. His research interests are machining dynamics, probabilistic optimization, prognosis and health monitoring, and the application of decision analysis and Bayesian inference to manufacturing, including process optimization. Karandikar's work has resulted in one book chapter and numerous journal and conference publications. He has also received several awards based on his research and achievements.

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

Chinedum Okwudire is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Michigan in 2011, he was the mechatronic systems optimization team leader at DTL (DMG Mori USA) based in Davis, California. Okwudire received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 2009. Okwudire’s research is focused on smart and sustainable manufacturing. His work exploits the synergies of electromechanical design and controls (i.e., mechatronics) to enhance the precision and speed of manufacturing machines, while maintaining high energy efficiency and low costs. Applications of Okwudire’s work range from low-cost vibration reduction in ultra-precision manufacturing machines to intelligent CNCs for high-speed, high-precision and energy-efficient manufacturing. He and his students have received a number of awards including the 2014 NSF CAREER Award and best paper awards at the 2015 American Society for Precision Engineering and Dynamic Systems and Control Conferences.

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

Srikanth Pilla is an assistant professor of automotive engineering at Clemson University and holds an affiliated appointment in the department of materials science and engineering. Pilla earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a postdoctoral training from Stanford University. Prior to joining Clemson, Pilla worked as an assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His prime area of research is lightweight functional materials focusing on two major thrusts: composites and thermoelectrics. Specifically, his research is aimed at fundamental understanding of the synthesis-processing-structure-property relationships in polymers, biopolymers, polymer-derived ceramics, multifunctional composites, thermoelectrics, nanocomposites, microcellular foams and LCA modeling and analysis. Pilla chaired and organized several technical sessions at SAE World Congress and SPE-ANTEC. He currently serves as an associate editor of SAE’s “International Journal of Materials and Manufacturing” and on the boards of the “Journal of Renewable Materials,” SPE Injection Molding and Bioplastics Divisions.

Christian RathChristian Rath
Manufacturing Engineer
Caterpillar Inc.
Peoria, Illinois

Christian Rath is a manufacturing engineer within the Global Quality and Manufacturing Engineering team at Caterpillar Inc. Rath is responsible for the implementation of lean manufacturing practices at multiple Caterpillar facilities around the world. He specializes in systematic layout planning, new facility start-up planning, product launches and support of APQP processes. Prior to his career at Caterpillar, Rath was an application engineer in the tier one automotive supplier sector. He received a bachelor's degree in automotive technology with an emphasis on industrial technology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Rath is also the 2016 chair for SME’s Greater Peoria Chapter 31. His vision for 2016 includes a focus on sustainability of manufacturing in the area accomplished through training and networking opportunities for local professionals. He is a strong supporter of local STEM-based educational programs and building the talent pipeline for our future manufacturing and engineering professionals. SME Member Since 2014

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

Christopher Saldana is an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Saldana's research is focused on developing integrated frameworks for describing relationships between process parameters, thermomechanical variables, evolving material structure and microstructure, and overall process/material performance. His research has involved development of in-situ, full-field and full-volume measurement platforms based on optical, electron and X-ray imaging, as well as novel manufacturing technologies for frontline processing of alloys and composites. Applications of his research include scalable manufacture of microscale surface textures and surface microstructure control for high-performance automotive, aerospace and biomedical systems. Saldana earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees from Purdue University and Virginia Tech, respectively, and has been recognized with several other awards, including NSF CAREER and R&D100 Technology Awards. SME Member Since 2015

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

Rohan A. Shirwaiker is an assistant professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University. He is also an associate faculty of the UNC-NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics, and the Comparative Medicine Institute. Shirwaiker received his doctorate (2011) and master’s (2007) degrees in industrial engineering from Penn State University, and bachelor’s degree (2005) in production engineering from the University of Mumbai. He possesses expertise in the design and manufacturing of implantable medical products. Shirwaiker’s two major research thrusts include the development of antimicrobial orthopaedic implants and the 3D-biofabrication of musculoskeletal tissue constructs. His work has appeared in over 40 journals, conference proceedings and books, and has also been featured in print and broadcast media. Shirwaiker is a recipient of multiple academic awards including SME’s Distinguished Faculty Advisor Award in 2014. He is a member of SME, IIE, ORS, APM and TBP. SME Member Since 2012

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

Sameh Tawfick is an assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research is focused on synthesis, assembly and manufacturing of nanostructured materials for applications of large-size scales including composites, foams and surface coatings. Before starting his independent academic career, he was a postdoctoral associate in the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT. Tawfick obtained his doctorate in 2012 from the University of Michigan where he was the Rackham predoctoral fellow, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Cairo University, Egypt, all in mechanical engineering. Tawfick’s awards include the Robert M. Caddell Memorial Award for outstanding research in manufacturing, the Azarkhin Award and the Ivor K. McIvor Award for outstanding research in applied mechanics. SME Member Since 2015

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

Hao Wu is a professor in the School of Mechanical Science and Engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Wu received his bachelor’s degree from HUST in (2007) and doctorate from Georgia Institute of Technology (2012), both in mechanical engineering. He joined Intel Corp. as a senior process technology development engineer in March 2013. At Intel, Wu developed first-of-a-kind tools to enable Intel’s leading packaging technology including embedded multichip interconnect bridge (EMIB) and through-silicon-via (TSV). Wu has published more than 20 research articles in high-quality journals and conference proceedings and holds several patents in both China and the U.S. He served for several ASME and SME conferences as a session chair and topic organizer and is an associate editor of "Precision Engineering" (2015-19). Wu received various Intel awards including the Intel Distinguished Invention Awards and was selected by the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents Plan Program for Young Professionals in 2016. He returned to HUST in May 2016, and his research interest includes precision manufacture, flexible-hybrid electronics for wearable medical/human monitoring and structural health monitoring.