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Press Release

SME Names 2018 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

(DEARBORN, Mich.) ― SME, committed to the manufacturing industry through promoting advanced manufacturing technology and workforce development, has selected 18 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers to be honored for exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry. All are age 35 or younger and represent both industry and academia. SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers are selected based on work in emerging manufacturing applications, technical publications, patents, and academic or industry leadership.

“Scientists and professors, engineers and industry leaders: all of these honorees are richly deserving,” said Jeff Krause, SME executive director and CEO. “Through their accomplishments and leadership, they’re advancing manufacturing and they’re important role models for young students and professionals.”

Each year, the SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer award is named to honor a specific individual’s lifelong contributions to manufacturing and SME. The 2018 award is named after 2002 SME President Marcus B. Crotts, FSME, CMfgE, PE, retired chairman of Crotts & Saunders Engineering Inc.

2018 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers:

Yogesh BalajeeSenior Control Engineer, Puratos USA, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Mostafa BedewyPhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh

Dan BraleyUSN/USMC Flight Control Surfaces and Wings Technical Integrator, Boeing Global Surfaces and F/A-18 Program, The Boeing Co., St. Louis

Grant BrandalPhD, Research Scientist, Manufacturing Technologies, GE Global Research Center, Niskayuna, New York

Mariely “Ely” BrooksManager of Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Automation, 
St. Augustine Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence, St. Augustine, Florida

Christina FontanosProduction Build Manager, Manufacturing & Quality Engineering Division, Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland

Arun L. Gain, PhD, Analytics Project Leader, Caterpillar Inc., Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Thomas Hedberg Jr., PE, Mechanical Engineer, Systems Integration Division, Engineering Laboratory 
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Moneer HeluMechanical Engineer, Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Matthew L. HilgendorfCMfgT, EIT, Value Stream Manager, Atkore International, 
Harvey, Illinois

Thanh Duc NguyenPhD, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Institute of Regenerative Engineering, University of Connecticut,
Storrs, Connecticut

Ala QattawiPhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Merced, Merced, California

Yancheng Wang, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, China

Changxue XuPhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial, Manufacturing & Systems Engineering 
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Wenjun Xu, PhD, Professor, School of Information Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China

Meng “Peter” Zhang, PhD, Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, 
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Yu Shrike ZhangPhD, Research Faculty and Associate Bioengineer, Division of Engineering in Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Xin ZhaoPhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Since 1980, SME’s Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers Award has recognized the careers and achievements of more than 380 manufacturing engineers. Nominations are accepted annually on or before Aug. 1. Visit to learn more about the award and the nominating process.


About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With more than 85 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through an education foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or




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