Skip to content

Press Release

SME Selects 2020 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

SME, an association committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce, today announces that 15 achievers have been selected to receive the 2020 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. 

The 2020 awardees, from the U.S. and Canada, have centered their research and management efforts around manufacturing processes, environmental sustainability, additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, biomedical manufacturing, metalworking fluids, civil and environmental engineering, and advanced materials.

“Our 2020 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers are a diverse group of highly successful young manufacturing practitioners whose careers have already made considerable inroads in manufacturing technologies, operations and processes,” said Sandra L. Bouckley, FSME, P.Eng., executive director and CEO, SME. “They’ll continue to flourish, and we’re eager to see the influence their ongoing contributions will have on manufacturing.”

 2020 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Michael P. Sealy, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, has a passion for solving problems in medicine with manufacturing and fostering engineering entrepreneurial education. Sealy was one of the 15 awardees selected.

Each year, a manufacturing leader is designated as the award namesake. 2002 SME President Ron Harrelson, FSME, CMfgE, a retired senior learning consultant at Caterpillar Inc., is this year’s honoree. Harrelson is being acknowledged because of his lifelong contributions to manufacturing; commitment to serving as a role model and motivator for young engineers; and his long-term, active involvement in SME.

2020 Ronald P. Harrelson Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers:

  • Daniel R. Cooper, PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Gabriela Darras, ITC Inc., Peoria, Illinois
  • Ryan Gergely, PhD, General Motors, Warren, Michigan
  • Grace X. Gu, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • Xi Gu, PhD, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Ping Guo, PhD, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • Blake N. Johnson, PhD, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Feng Ju, PhD, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • Nenad Miljkovic, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • Brian Post, PhD, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Michael Sealy, PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Mihaela Vlasea, PhD, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Qiming Wang, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Rui Zhou, PhD, Apple, Sunnyvale, California
  • Yan Zhou, PhD, Houghton International, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

SME is currently seeking nominations for its 2021 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award. Nominees must be 35 years or younger on Aug. 1 of the year of their nomination to be considered. More details and the nomination form are available at