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2024 SME International Honor Award Winners

These seven SME International Honor Award winners are recognized for their significant contributions to manufacturing in the areas of manufacturing technologies, processes, technical writing, education, research and management, and service to SME.

Eli Whitney Productivity Award
Awarded for distinguished accomplishments in improving capability within the broad concept of orderly production.


Melissa Orme, PhD
Vice President
The Boeing Company
El Segundo, CA

Melissa is the Vice President for Additive Manufacturing at the Boeing Company, where she leads Additive Manufacturing activities ranging from engineering and manufacturing of new designs that differentiate Boeing products; to developing new materials and processes; to establishing the digital thread of the end-to-end values stream.  Melissa is a renowned pioneer, innovator and leader in Additive Manufacturing, where her seminal work spans three decades and has resulted in 15 US patents and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.   She has a rich and diverse professional background, having begun her career in academia where she rose to the rank of Full Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California Irvine. There, she established globally recognized research laboratories in the field that is now termed ‘Additive Manufacturing,’ where she developed methods for controlled electrostatically charged and deflected molten metal droplet deposition for precision manufacturing, direct writing of electronic components, and precise powder production.   Subsequently, she transitioned from academia to high tech startups where she served as the Chief Technology Officer of Morf3D, a company that is focused on producing and delivering flight qualified additively manufactured hardware to the aerospace industry.  From Morf3D she was recruited by Boeing to lead Additive Manufacturing across all business units. SME Member Since 2023

Joseph A. Siegel Service Award
Awarded to an SME member for significant and unique contributions that benefit SME. This award is the only International Honor Award that must only be conferred upon SME members.


Kathryn M. Daniels, PhD, CMfgE, LSME
Tri-Phase Engineering
Valley Cener, KS

Kathryn Daniels, (Certified Manufacturing Engineer), I have an M.S Technical Education and a Ph.D.  in Industrial Engineering. I have been employed as: Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Manager, and Manufacturing Consultant. I have been a visiting professor at Pittsburg State University, Butler County Community College, WSU Tech, and Wichita State University. I am a 30-year member of SME. I served as Chairman of the Certification Committee, a reviewer for two editions of “Fundamentals of Manufacturing,” an SME Scholarship Reviewer, SME Student Relations Committee, Wichita SME Chapter Certification Committee, and officer and Chairman of local chapter. I am the advisor for Wichita State University SME Student Chapter. I work to facilitate the movement of student leaders to leadership in the Wichita senior chapter. I offer support to make students successful.

While retired professionally, I am a consultant on engineering and continue to be a very busy leader for SME. SME Member Since 1993

Donald C. Burnham Manufacturing Management Award
Recognizes exceptional success in the integration of the infrastructure and processes of manufacturing through innovative use of human, technical and financial resources.


Jonathan H. Owen, PhD
Director, Head of Advanced Analytics Center of Expertise
General Motors
Warren, MI

Jonathan H. Owen, Ph.D., serves as head of GM's Advanced Analytics Center of Expertise (AACE) in Enterprise Data, Analytics, and Insights (EDAI) at General Motors. With a career spanning over two decades at GM, Jon has spearheaded strategic innovation in prescriptive analytics and applied data science, collaborating internally to boost revenue, profitability, and operational efficiency through improved data-driven decision making. His contributions span diverse areas such as revenue management, portfolio planning, vehicle technology selection and content optimization, supply chain and logistics, market demand modeling, and dealer effectiveness. Jon is an eight-time winner of GM’s “Boss” Kettering Award, the company’s highest recognition for technical invention and innovation, as well as numerous external professional accolades. He is a Fellow of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) and IISE (Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers), and he serves on several university and non-profit advisory boards. SME Member Since 2015

SME Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal
Honors significant published research leading to a better understanding of materials, facilities, principles, operations and their application to improve manufacturing processes.


Marion Merklein, Dr.-Ing.
FAU, Institute of Manufacturing Technology
Erlangen, Germany

Marion Merklein is full professor of manufacturing at the department of mechanical engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany. She is Fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP), member of the Standing Advisory Board of ICTP and received prizes and awards, e.g., the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award from the DFG, 2013. She was dean of the faculty of engineering from 2011 to 2015, is member of the senate from the German Research Foundation (DFG). Additionally, she is member of different national academies, e.g., National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Her research interests are focused on metal forming, joining by forming technologies, material characterisation and modelling and digitization. She is author of two books, (inter)national patents and more than 600 papers in international journals and conferences.

SME Albert M. Sargent Progress Award
Recognizes significant accomplishments in the field of manufacturing processes, methods or systems.


Yong Huang, PhD
University Term Professor
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

Dr. Yong Huang is a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. His research interests are two-fold: 1) understanding of dynamic material behavior (solids and liquids) and process-induced damage or defect structures using and during manufacturing, and 2) printing and machining of biological and engineering materials for healthcare, energy, environmental, infrastructure, and space applications. His current research topics include three-dimensional (3D) printing of biological and engineering materials from difficult-to-print ink materials using inkjetting, extrusion, and laser-induced forward transfer, design and fabrication of microphysiological and engineered living systems, and study of dynamic material behavior using jetting and machining. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. SME Member Since 2023

SME Education Award
Honors the educator most respected for the development of manufacturing-related curricula, fostering sound training methods or inspiring students to enter the profession of manufacturing.


Chinedum Okwudire, PhD
Associate Professor
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Chinedum (Chi) Okwudire is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Miller Faculty Scholar at the University of Michigan. His research is focused on exploiting knowledge at the intersection of machine design, control and computing to boost the performance of manufacturing automation systems at low cost. Chi has received several awards including the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation; the Young Investigator Award from the International Symposium on Flexible Automation; the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from SME (formerly, Society of Manufacturing Engineers); the Ralph Teetor Educational Award from SAE International; and the Russell Severance Springer Visiting Professorship from UC Berkeley. In 2022, he was selected by SME as one of the 25 leaders transforming manufacturing. He is a member of SME’s Technical Community Leadership Committee on Additive Manufacturing. He has co-authored several award-winning papers in the areas of manufacturing automation, control, and mechatronics.

SME Gold Medal
Recognizes outstanding service to the manufacturing engineering profession in technical communications through published literature, technical writings or lectures.


Lihui Wang, PhD, FSME
Professor and Chair of Sustainable Manufacturing
Stockholm, Sweden

Lihui Wang is a Chair Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. His research interests are focused on cyber-physical production systems, human-robot collaborative assembly, brain robotics, and adaptive manufacturing systems. Professor Wang is actively engaged in various professional activities. He is the Editor-in-Chief of SME Journal of Manufacturing Systems, International Journal of Manufacturing Research, and Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing. He has published 10 books and authored in excess of 680 scientific publications. Professor Wang is a Fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP), and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Canada, and was the President (2020-2021) of North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME, and the Chairman (2018-2020) of Swedish Production Academy. In 2020, he was elected one of the 20 Most Influential Professors in Smart Manufacturing by SME. SME Member Since 1999