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2020 SME Member Council

The SME Member Council was created in the fall of 2003 to lead the member engagement activities of SME's volunteer networks. It is responsible for assisting SME in recognizing and meeting the needs of its membership in a rapidly changing environment, building on the long-term SME strategic goals, strengthening local activities and formulating recommendations relative to SME membership recruitment, retention and engagement.

SME members interested in being considered for a seat on the Member Council may apply by submitting an International Director/Member Council Candidate Application (MS WORD). We also encourage you to learn more about the SME Member Council by reading its monthly From the Desk of... e-newsletter.



Brett A. Peters, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Brett A. Peters, PhD, is a dean and professor in the College of Engineering & Applied Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Previously, he was a faculty member of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M for 20 years, including department head for nine. Peters’ bachelor’s degree is from the University of Arkansas, and his master’s degree and doctorate are from Georgia Tech. His specialization is facility logistics, particularly layout and material handling system design for manufacturing and warehousing applications. Peters is past editorial board member of “IIE Transactions on Design and Manufacturing” and SME’s “Journal of Manufacturing Systems.” He is fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Peters served 10 years on the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education, including a term as president. He was Scholarship Fund Trustee for IIE and for the Material Handling Education Foundation. Peters served two years on SME’s International Awards & Recognition Committee and is currently a member of SME’s Student Relations Committee. SME Member Since 1994




William R. “Will” Sniadack
Neles Corp.

William R. "Will" Sniadack is a welding engineer on the manufacturing engineering team for Neles Corp. (formerly Metso Flow Control USA). As a member of SME's Worcester Chapter 25, Sniadack has served as golf-day manager, chair-elect and chair. During his time as golf day manager, Sniadack organized three successful annual golf fundraisers that helped provide much-needed scholarship money to local college students. Serving as chair, his focus was on technical programs such as touring local businesses and factories and getting involvement from other chapters and organizations. Sniadack is also a member of the American Welding Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology from Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2014. SME Member Since 2015


Immediate Past Chair

Edye S. Buchanan, CMfgT
BriskHeat Corp.

Edye S. Buchanan, CMfgT, is a sales strategist at BriskHeat in Columbus, Ohio. In her previous role as a product manager at Fives North American Combustion Inc., she was responsible for product design engineering, performance improvements and assisting in new product development. Buchanan was also a member of the team winning the company’s 2013 Innovation Award. She is currently the chair of the SME Member Council, served two terms as an SME International Director and is active on several Member Council Task Teams. Buchanan has been the board liaison to SME’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee twice, Member Council and International Awards & Recognition Committee. In 2014, she served as chair of the Organizational Review Task Team and International Officer Nominating Committee. In 1999 and 2000, Buchanan was on the SME Member Committee and was appointed to the first SME Member Council in 2003, serving for seven years including as vice-chair in 2010. She is a former chair of the Chapter Enhancement Committee and the council's Communications Task Force. Buchanan has been active in Lorain County Community College S254 and the former North Coast Chapter 134, serving as a chapter officer in both from 1988-93. Activity in Region 7 culminated as chair in 1999. Currently, she is the webmaster for Columbus Chapter 36 and previously was the program chair for Cleveland Chapter 3. Buchanan holds a bachelor's degree from Kent State University and an associate degree from Lorain County Community College. She received a 2013 STEP Award from The Manufacturing Institute, the SME President's Award in 2003, and Regional Awards of Merit in 2000 and 2002 for her outstanding service. Outside of SME, she serves as both a mentor and referee for the FIRST Lego League. SME Member Since 1987


Council Representatives

Vesna Cota
Tyco Electronics Canada ULC (retired)

Vesna Cota is an additive manufacturing specialist. She spent almost 30 years working in automotive product development with Tyco Electronics Canada ULC, a TE Connectivity Co. Cota currently serves on the board of directors for NSERC-CFI Strategic Network for Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, the Canadian ISO/TC261 Additive Manufacturing Standards Committee, the SME Member Council and the TCT Expert Advisory Board. She is a longstanding advisor for SME's RAPID + TCT, RAPID Canada conferences, CMTS and FABTECH. Cota also served as an advisor for SME's Additive Manufacturing Community from 2007-16. She has been active in the additive manufacturing community since the early 1990s and is a relentless promoter of additive manufacturing in Canada. As a chapter officer for SME's Toronto Chapter 26, Cota received SME's President’s Award for outstanding service and the SME Award for Organizing and Implementing Rapid Prototyping Seminar Series 1998-99. She was also a founding member and chair of the Engineering Design & Rapid Manufacturing Program Advisory Committee at Centennial College in 1999. Cota developed and delivered additive manufacturing training courses for Magna Inc. Management Training Program from 2000-03 as well as workshops for the Industrial Research Development Institute members’ Product Development program on Rapid Prototyping for Plastics and Rapid Prototyping for Metals. She also served on the 2003-04 Editorial Advisory Board of Design Product News. Cota became an SME master-level Additive Manufacturing Certificate holder in 2005. She received her degree in architecture from the University Of Zagreb, Croatia. SME Member Since 1995

Jennifer Fielding, PhD
Air Force Research Laboratory

Jennifer Fielding, PhD, who, with over 15 years of experience at the Air Force Research Laboratory, has performed research and program management in diverse fields such as polymer composites, multifunctional materials and additive manufacturing. Fielding is currently the chief of the Composite Performance and Applications Section, leading a team of over 40 scientists and engineers managing research programs on advanced composite materials performance. She served as the technical advisor for the Structures, Propulsion and Manufacturing Enterprise Branch. Fielding launched and managed America Makes, the first institute within the Manufacturing USA network on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy using a $120M cooperative agreement. Fielding served for five years as the deputy program manager for the defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology Program, a portfolio of emerging manufacturing technologies with a total value of $350M. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence and has been named a Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40. Fielding is active in SME as the chair of its Additive Manufacturing Community, in SAMPE currently as chair of SAMPE 2020 and is an active participant in SWE. SME Member Since 2014


John Kovalchuck, LSME, CMfgE
Macomb Community College (retired)

John Kovalchuck, LSME, CMfgE, is a retired CNC instructor in engineering and advanced technology at Macomb Community College. Kovalchuck has held two terms as SME international director, two terms as SME Certification chair and served as the SME International Strategies Committee chair. He was chair of the former Greater Detroit Chapter 235 and a two-term CASA/SME Lead Award Committee member. While at Ford, Kovalchuck was the superintendent of the Dearborn tool and die plant and an NC CAD/CAM systems manager. At GM/EDS, he was an applications engineer in the NC and CAD/CAM system engineering department. Kovalchuck instructed CNC at Western Illinois University and Bowling Green State University. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and holds 10 NIMS level-one certifications. Kovalchuck was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Air Force twice and Master Teacher by the Michigan Industrial Teachers Education Society. SME Member Since 1980


Joel Neidig

Joel Neidig is the CEO and co-founder of SIMBA Chain, a blockchain as a service startup. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University in operations management and has had 14 years of experience integrating manufacturing technology and software development. Neidig has been an active member of MTConnect since 2009, sitting on its Technical Advisory Group. He developed the first iOS and Android-compatible MTConnect apps and has created over 65 manufacturing apps. Neidig also sits on the Technical Advisory Committee for MxD. He has been named as a manufacturing “Thought Leader” by IMTS Insider. Neidig won second place in the MTConnect Challenge at the 2014 MC2 Conference for his application: “Expanding Manufacturing’s Vision: MTConnect + Google Glass.” Since the founding of Manufacturing USA, Neidig and his company have been involved in four research projects with MxD and two research projects with America Makes, one of which has transitioned to an additive manufacturing tech startup — Atlas 3D — that he helped cofound. Neidig has previously been the manufacturing keynote speaker at Autodesk University and recently presented at the Automotive Innovation Forum. He was the recipient of SME’s 2015 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award and was also named one of the 30 Advanced Manufacturing Visionaries by SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine. Neidig was also the recipient of the 2016 AGMA Next Generation Award. SME Member Since 2014


Kyle M. Riegel
Schunk Carbon Technology

Kyle Riegel is the recipient of the 2008 SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship and went on to graduate from Loras College with degrees in electromechanical engineering and applied mathematics. He is currently a field sales engineer for Schunk Carbon Technology, focusing on the wind industry. Previously, Riegel was a research and development engineer at United Equipment Accessories where he designed and manufactured a wide variety of products, including airport tug electrical shift controls, proprietary contact materials for slip rings in megawatt wind turbines and explosion-proof enclosures. While working full-time, Riegel earned his MBA from St. Ambrose University. In 2015, he was one of DiscoverE’s New Faces of Engineering Award winners as well as a recipient of SME’s 30 Under 30 recognition. Riegel currently sits as an active board member for the University of Northern Iowa’s Manufacturing Engineering Advisory Council, Cedar Falls Prime School Board and Loras College’s Engineering Board. He has mentored over 11 senior industrial engineering capstone groups at Iowa State University. SME Member Since 2008


Teresa Rinker, PhD
General Motors Research & Development

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


Phillip S. "Phil" Waldrop, PhD, LSME
Georgia Southern University (retired)

Phillip S. "Phil" Waldrop, PhD, LSME, is a 2010 SME Award of Merit recipient and a graduate of Ball State and Purdue universities. He retired from Georgia Southern University in 2011, having taught hands-on materials/processes and technical management courses. Waldrop continues to teach online graduate engineering management courses, including lean manufacturing, and serves as an advisor to the new manufacturing engineering degree program. Before college teaching, he taught high school machine shop. Waldrop’s industry experience ranges from turret lathe operator and CNC programmer to aerospace manufacturing R&D, management of B-2 aircraft program factory modernization projects and a strategic supplier development program in Spain. As an ATMAE-certified senior technology manager, he served as president of ATMAE’s Industry and Management divisions and served on the SPE Composites Division Board of Directors. For SME, Waldrop has served as chapter chair, student chapter advisor, Technical Community advisor and Nominating Committee member. He is currently an SME membership consultant and a member of SME’s Student Relations Committee. SME Member Since 1976


Michael R. Watson, LSME, CMfgE
AAF/Flanders (retired)

Michael R. Watson, LSME, CMfgE, retired as a project engineer from AAF/Flanders, working in six plants across the U.S. and Mexico. In this role, Watson assisted in machinery purchasing, installation and process improvements. Previously, as a process engineer for Penco Products, he was responsible for improvements of steel stamping and roll forming processes and supervision of Penco’s tool and die shop. Watson also worked at NACCO Materials Handling, helping improve its Class I lift-truck assembly process including tooling, line layout and facility expansion. He currently serves on SME’s Student Relations Committee, which he has chaired for the last two years. Watson recently served two years on the International Director and Member Council Nominating Committee and is a longtime scholarship reviewer for the SME Education Foundation. He chaired the former Coastal Plains Chapter 302 and Mid-Atlantic Region 2, served on the Member Council for four years and was an international director on the SME Board of Directors in 2009-10. Watson represented SME on the ATMAE Accreditation Board and served on the Family Scholarship, Chapter Enhancement and Constitution and Bylaws Committees. He received the Region Award of Merit and the SME Award of Merit. Watson earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from East Carolina University. SME Member Since 1979