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2019 Barbara M. Fossum Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

These 14 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 2019 award is named after 2010 SME President Barbara M. Fossum, PhD, FSME, independent consultant and retired senior research fellow of the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas at Austin.


Amy Alexander
Senior Biomedical Engineer
Anatomic Modeling Laboratory
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Alexander is a senior biomedical engineer in the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Radiology’s Anatomic Modeling Lab. In her role, Alexander converts 2D radiological images into 3D models and patient-specific surgical cutting guides. These life-size, patient-specific models and guides help surgeons from different specialties prepare for complex procedures. Additionally, these 3D prints form a communication bridge for patients regarding their personal surgical plan. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a master’s degree from MSOE’s Rader School of Business. Alexander has served on SME’s Medical 3D Printing Workgroup for over three years, is a member of the Radiological Society of North America’s 3D Printing in Medicine Special Interest Group and is certified in additive manufacturing through SME. She is an active member of SME, RSNA and HIMSS. SME Member Since 2017


Weilong “Ben” Cong, PhD
Assistant Professor
Industrial, Manufacturing, & Systems Engineering
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

Cong received his doctorate in industrial engineering from Kansas State University in 2013. After graduation, he became a research assistant professor in the same department. Cong is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering at Texas Tech University. His research interests include nontraditional machining of high-performance materials in aerospace and healthcare applications and additive manufacturing for development of novel microstructural metal and ceramic materials. Cong’s research has generated more than 100 publications and has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. According to Google Scholar data, his publications received more than 2,000 citations. SME Member Since 2018


Omar Fergani, PhD
Senior Product Engineer
Siemens Digital Factory

Fergani is a senior product manager in charge of the additive manufacturing solutions at Siemens Digital Factory Division in the Manufacturing Engineering Software Group. He is mainly focusing on developing cutting-edge software technology to achieve the print-first-time-right vision and to unleash the digital capabilities of additive manufacturing. Fergani is part of an ambitious program at Siemens that aims to transform the traditional manufacturing business through the powerful digital enterprise solutions. Before this position, he oversaw developing the first CAE simulation for metal additive manufacturing that provides the full digital twin of production. Previously, Fergani had multiple experiences in the energy business as product engineer and was leading the technology of a medical startup. He is a holder of a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a double master’s degree in manufacturing and materials from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. SME Member Since 2015

Weihong “Grace” Guo, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Piscataway, New Jersey
Guo’s research aims at ensuring and improving manufacturing performance, especially process robustness and product quality. Her research focuses on the fusion of advanced statistical and domain knowledge to develop methodologies for modeling, monitoring, diagnosis and prognostics for complex manufacturing systems. Guo received a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Tsinghua University (China), and a master’s degree and doctorate in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. At Rutgers, she is the founding director of the Data Analytics & Process Insights Laboratory. Guo received the first-place Best Paper Award at the 2018 ASME Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference, a second-place Best Paper Award at MSEC 2016, the Best Paper Award at the 11th International Conference on Frontiers of Design and Manufacturing and the Wilson Prize for the Best Student Paper in Manufacturing from the University of Michigan. She has served as a symposium organizer at ASME/NAMRC conferences. SME Member Since 2018
Stephanie Locks-Hartle
Mechanical and Systems Engineer
Future Technical Leaders Program
Northrop Grumman Corp.
Locks-Hartle is a mechanical and systems engineer in the Future Technical Leaders program at Northrop Grumman Corp. While in this program, she pioneered an effort within the company’s Corporate Technology Office to identify and advocate for transformational manufacturing technology across the enterprise. Locks-Hartle established and led a cross-company team to design a framework and make recommendations for its implementation. As a result, she developed a set of questions that can be used by the manufacturing community to critically assess their manufacturing technology migration maturity, which was published in SAE International’s 2018 book, “The Future of the Airplane Factory: Digitally Optimized Intelligent Airplane Assembly.” Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Locks-Hartle completed her graduate studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus in metrology and manufacturing. Additionally, Locks-Hartle earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Cornell University where her research focused on actuation technology for humanoid robotics and aerospace systems. SME Member Since 2018

Parash Kalita, PhD
Product Development Manager
NanoMech Inc.
Springdale, Arkansas

Kalita is currently working as a product development manager at NanoMech Inc., driving industry-leading research and product development in hybrid nanocomposites and surface-engineered coatings and materials. He achieved his doctorate degree in MicroEP and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville). Kalita’s career interest as well as expertise is in understanding the structure-process-property interrelationships exhibited by hybrid-organic-inorganic nanocomposites and developing advanced manufacturing capabilities. He possesses an excellent track record of academic and industrial success with multiple patent-pending technologies, commercially successful products, internationally recognized awards and research publications. SME Member Since 2018


Kaibo Liu, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Liu is an assistant professor at the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and engineering management from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a master’s degree and doctorate in statistics in industrial engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Liu’s research is in system informatics and industrial big-data analytics, with an emphasis on the data fusion approach for system modeling, monitoring, diagnosis, prognostics and decision making. Liu has received several best paper awards from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference, and featured articles from IIE and INFORMS magazines. He is the 2019 recipient of the American Society for Quality’s Feigenbaum Medal Award. In addition, his research results and papers have led to successful funding supports by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Laboratory, Department of Energy and industry. Liu is currently serving as an associate editor of “IEEE Transactions” on automation science and engineering and IEEE’s International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering proceedings. SME Member Since 2019


Matthew E. Lynch, PhD
Staff Research Engineer
United Technologies Research Center
East Hartford, Connecticut

Lynch is a staff research engineer at the United Technologies Research Center. He has been heavily engaged in additive manufacturing within United Technologies Corp., having led several projects including the multiyear additive topology optimized manufacturing effort. His areas of technical interest include design for additive manufacturing, postprocessing for additive manufacturing and model-based inspection. Lynch is actively engaged with external collaborators and the broader technical community. He built key partnerships with universities and for several years has helped organize a conference session for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Lynch also serves as the business development coordinator for the Physical Sciences Department at UTRC, facilitating external engagement with customers in manufacturing and beyond. He received his doctorate in materials science and engineering from Georgia Tech and prior to that studied MSE and mathematics at Virginia Tech. SME Member Since 2018


Alex Meyer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Surface Mining & Technology Division

Meyer has worked for 12 years at Caterpillar and is currently the manufacturing engineering manager at its Electric Rope Shovel and Dragline Facility responsible for producing some of the largest earth-moving equipment in the world. Over the past several years, he led the manufacturing engineering efforts to modernize and reconfigure 1 million square feet of a 100+ year-old legacy manufacturing space. As part of these optimization efforts, Meyer acquired and implemented multiple five-axis, gear-milling machining centers. This $10 million R&D project spanned 10 years of his career and has cemented the South Milwaukee factory as a global gear-milling center of excellence within Caterpillar and the entire industry. Meyer recently completed an executive mining certificate program through the University of Arizona focused on the development of deep customer and mining industry expertise. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and Chinese language and East Asian studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. SME Member Since 2018


Teresa Rinker, PhD
Senior Researcher
Manufacturing Systems Research Lab
General Motors Research & Development
Warren, Michigan

Rinker is a senior researcher at General Motors Research & Development in the Manufacturing Systems Research Lab. While studying mechanical engineering as an undergrad at Michigan State University, she had an opportunity to research functionally graded ceramics, which sparked an initial interest in manufacturing. After graduation, Rinker became a manufacturing engineer for Toyota in a weld and vehicle assembly shop, which furthered her interest in automotive manufacturing. During graduate school, Rinker studied joining and fatigue failure of dissimilar ultrasonic welds in magnesium and steel where she was an NSF graduate research fellow at the University of Michigan. While there, Rinker received a master’s degree in both mechanical engineering and material science and engineering in 2010 and 2013, along with her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2013. Currently, Rinker is working on battery joining for electric vehicles. Her research interests include destructive and nondestructive testing as well as welding of dissimilar metals. SME Member Since 2016


Chenhui Shao, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Illinois

Shao is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his bachelor’s degree in automation from the University of Science and Technology of China; a master’s degree in industrial and operations engineering; a master’s degree in statistics; and a doctorate in mechanical engineering, all from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Shao’s research mainly focuses on digital and smart manufacturing, big data analytics in manufacturing, machine learning, high-performance computing, and manufacturing system control and automation. He has earned multiple honors and awards, including SME’s 30 Under 30 honoree; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students; Best Paper Award from ASME International’s Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference; Best Applications Paper Award from “IISE Transactions”; Scholar-in-Residence from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; and feature article in “IIE Transactions.” SME Member Since 2018


Wenzhuo Wu, PhD
Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star Assistant Professor
School of Industrial Engineering
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

Wu is the Ravi and Eleanor Talwar rising star assistant professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. He received his bachelor’s degree in electronic information science and technology in 2005 from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, and his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the National University of Singapore in 2008. Wu received his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in materials science and engineering in 2013. His research interests include design, manufacturing and integration of 1D and 2D nanomaterials for applications in energy, electronics, optoelectronics and wearable devices. Wu was a recipient of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award in 2016, and the IOP Semiconductor Science and Technology Best Early Career Research in 2017. SME Member Since 2017


Cunjiang Yu, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Houston

Yu is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston. He received his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University in 2010 and was trained as a postdoc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the University of Houston in 2013. Yu’s research focus is to develop soft electronics using heterogeneous integration and additive manufacturing processes toward various applications. He is a recipient of the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2018); Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2018); MIT Technology Review 35 Top Innovators under 35 of China (2017); National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2016); American Vacuum Society Paul Holloway Young Investigator Award (2016); and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award (2016), as well as various other awards. SME Member Since 2018


Wenyang Zhang, PhD
Staff Mechanical Design Engineer
Tesla Inc.
Palo Alto, California

Zhang has 11 years of experience in material design, synthesis, manufacturing and development for tribological and lubrication-related applications. The advanced lubricant and lubricant additives developed by him and his team have been acquired and implemented by multiple Fortune 100 and 500 companies. From scientific ideation to product implementation through invention and commercialization of multiple patents to successful delivery of solutions to energy and sustainability-related issues, directly contributed to major customer acquisitions. In addition, as the recognition of Zhang's innovative contribution in the field of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing, he has won multiple honors and awards including multiple Edison Awards. Zhang is also a member of SME, STLE, NLGI and ASTM, and an active leader in several committees. He has published and presented numerous peer-reviewed publications in top international journals, conference papers, presentations and patents. SME Member Since 2018