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2021 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.



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



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


Immediate Past Chair


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


Council Representatives


Zachary P. "Zach" Bibik
Vestas Blades

Zachary P. "Zach" Bibik is a mechanical engineer with the Vestas Blades Launch & Execution Center Quality Measurement & Data Intelligence Team. Bibik is the recipient of the 2015 SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship and earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Colorado State University. In his current role, he focuses on automation and tooling design in wind turbine blade manufacturing. Bibik has served as a founding member of the SME Emerging Professionals Task Group, a liaison on the SME Student Relations Committee and will be serving his first year on the SME Member Council. SME Member Since 2015

Vesna Cota

Vesna Cota is the founder of VMMI and 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


Gabriela Darras
Caterpillar Inc.

Darras is a manufacturing engineering manager for Caterpillar's Oil & Gas and Marine Division. Previously, as a director of operations at ITC, Darras oversaw a team of manufacturing engineers, software developers and technical experts to launch and implement projects from product development to manufacturing, offering business solutions that helped customers improve their manufacturing operations, implement new technologies and adapt to industry changes. In this role, she led strategic initiatives that contributed to the development of the ITC team and the expansion of manufacturing solutions, including cutting-edge software that was crucial to ITC customers’ increasing effort to improve machining operations and thrive in their transformation toward flexible and digital manufacturing. Prior to ITC, Darras worked as a consulting manager at CGN Global where she led and provided support to numerous business transformation projects. She holds a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in production engineering from the Universidad Privada Boliviana. Darras has been a chapter officer for SME’s Greater Peoria Chapter 31 since 2013, serving as its chair in 2014. She is currently the co-chair of SME’s Chapter Enhancement Committee. SME Member Since 2010

Gregory A. Harris, PhD, PE
Auburn University
Gregory A. Harris, PhD, PE, is an associate professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Auburn University where he teaches courses in advanced manufacturing and systems engineering; the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems; and the associate director for digital strategy for the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence. Before joining the ISE faculty at Auburn, Harris was with the U.S. Army, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and served as the Government Program Manager for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a presidential initiative to increase innovation and competitiveness in U.S. manufacturing. His work includes research and application in advanced manufacturing systems, model-based enterprise, Industry 4.0, continuous improvement, sustainability and supply chain. Harris is the former director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has more than 30 years of experience as an industrial engineer, quality engineer, operations manager, plant manager, director of operations and consultant in manufacturing and supply chain. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University, an MBA from St. Edwards University and his doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from UAH. He is a registered professional engineer. SME Member Since 2017

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


Jason B. Wolf
Air Force Research Laboratory

Jason B. Wolf serves as a mechanical engineer and program manager with the Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Wolf is responsible for planning, managing and executing programs that provide advanced manufacturing processes, techniques and technologies for timely, high-quality and economical production and sustainment to strengthen the defense industrial base. In this capacity, he has managed a portfolio of projects valued over $80M. Wolf serves as a subject-matter expert on the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel – Metals Subpanel. Before working at AFRL, he exercised his manufacturing abilities as a manufacturing apprentice at the NASA Glenn Research Center and as a tool and diemaker apprentice at Exact Tool & Die in Cleveland. Wolf served as an advisory council member for Polaris Career Center’s Precision CNC Machining Program, a program he graduated from as a high school student. In 2018, Wolf was recognized as an SME 30 Under 30 honoree. He earned his master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2019 and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cleveland State University in 2015. Wolf is an active member of SME, ASME and AIAA. SME Member Since 2016