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How One Research Conference Still Inspires Me

Hitomi Yamaguchi Greenslet
By Hitomi Yamaguchi Greenslet, Dr. Eng., FSME 2018-19 President, North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME), SME Member Since 1997

My first participation in SME’s North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC) was in 1994 at NAMRC-XXII, hosted by Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). I presented my work, “Development of a New Type of Magnetic Finishing Tool for Internal Finishing of Tubes Using Rotating Magnetic Field,” in the Machining Innovation 1 session at 10:30 a.m. on May 25, 1994.

At the time, I was a graduate student in Japan, and it was my first experience giving a presentation in the U.S. I was excited about the opportunity, but nervous about presenting my work at such a prestigious conference. To calm myself, I repeatedly practiced my presentation in my mind until I spoke. I had no energy after finishing, and I do not recall how I managed the rest of the day. What I still remember are some vigorous and constructive discussions and the welcoming atmosphere.

According to the conference program, 61 papers were presented at NAMRC-XXII in eight technical sessions spread over two and a half days. In contrast, more than twice as many papers were presented at NAMRC 46 in 2018. This small conference in 1994 might have facilitated the opportunity for worldwide professors, researchers, and engineers to network and discuss manufacturing research and education. I could sense their passion for manufacturing even in casual conversation.

As a graduate student, participating in NAMRC-XXII was an eye-opening experience and has been an outstanding memory throughout my professional career. By the end of the conference, I knew that NAMRC was one of the events I wanted to participate in repeatedly. This boosted my motivation to write high-quality papers on topics related to manufacturing.

Twenty-four years have passed since I first stepped into this community. As the style of human life evolves, manufacturing technology must constantly advance to respond and improve the quality of our lives. Not only engineers and researchers but also today’s educators and students must be flexible enough to respond to these changes. How should manufacturing education respond to these modifications within the existing educational system? This is the real challenge our manufacturing community is facing. I believe my senior colleagues have always discussed this challenge and responded to such changes in the past.

Likewise, NAMRC has maintained the same tradition and responded accordingly. NAMRC’s size, including the number of papers presented as well as participants, has grown over the years, which influences the conference organization. The NAMRC proceedings are now open access, and NAMRC has adapted to the changes over time by introducing new topics such as additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, cyber-physical systems, industrial application, and manufacturing education.

Twenty-four years ago, I could not imagine that manufacturing education would be one of the topics discussed at NAMRC. However, I now feel the need to emphasize the importance of that topic and promote a better manufacturing education for the next generation, not only as the president of NAMRI/SME but also as a professor and member of the manufacturing community. Although the style of technology transfer has, perhaps, changed over the years, I can still sense the passion for manufacturing among the attendees.

Hitomi Greenslet, pictured with 2018 SME President Thomas Kurfess, PhD, FSME, PE, was elected to the 2016 Class of SME Fellows.

Right before I graduated from university, my supervisor, Dr. Shinmura, advised me to set lifetime goals so I would not simply drift along, driven only by life after graduation. I made two goals that I still strive to meet every day. One is to be a good researcher/engineer, and the other is to pass whatever I learned from my seniors to the next generation. These goals are a way to sincerely thank the countless people who taught me various things, ranging from technical knowledge to philosophical matters. Without their support, I could not stand where I am today. Therefore, promotion of manufacturing education naturally comes to mind.

I have faced several turning points throughout my professional life, such as changing jobs, moving from one place to another and so on. For instance, I took an internship in Switzerland; I have worked in Japan and the U.S.; and I have worked in academia, national labs and private industry. Even so, I have always been in the manufacturing community, and I am still working toward the lifetime goals I set years ago. I host students (from both K-12 and university) in my laboratory every summer and have hosted events where professionals can share their experiences with engineering education and career development; however, my mission is only partially complete.

If I had not participated in NAMRC-XXII back in 1994, I am not sure if I would be where I am now. I would like to thank everyone who supported my participation in NAMRC-XXII 24 years ago and those who inspired me during the conference. One day, I hope to be like the people who inspired me.

NAMRC 47, June 10-14, 2019, will be hosted by the Penn State Behrend School of Engineering (Erie, PA). I look forward to meeting you there.

[1] Weinmann, K.J., 1998, “Twenty-Five Years of NAMRC and Beyond – A Brief History and Outlook,” Transactions of NAMRI/SME, Vol. XXVI, pp. 11-15.

Midwest Chapter Roundtable Conference

On Oct. 5 and 6, 12 SME chapters met at the Midwest Chapter Roundtable Conference held in Ames, IA. The conference agenda consisted of four modules: leadership, chapter operations, engagement, recruitment and retention.

The leadership panelists were made up of industry and SME volunteer leadership: Matt Edwards, Pella Windows (Pella, IA); Duane Dierschow, Emerson Flow Controls (Marshalltown, IA); Wayne Frost, LSME, CMfgE, 2015 SME president; and James Schlusemann, 2018-19 international director, SME Board of Directors. Discussions were centered around:

  • Collaborative leadership;
  • Working with four generations of the workforce;
  • Workforce adaptation of automation and artificial intelligence; and
  • A genuine leader: expectations, commitment, integrity, listening and more.

Presenters included Krishna Vuppala and Rob Drumm, Waterloo Chapter 186 officers; Joe Vanstrom, faculty advisor for SME’s Iowa State University S132 student chapter; and Kyle Riegel, 2018-19 SME Member Council representative.

In addition, SME member Kurt Carlson, a technician and instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire, WI), was also presented with his 2018 SME Award of Merit during the conference. A keynote speaker provided a presentation on 3D printing with examples of industry adaptation and changes to production processes. The conference included laboratory machinery tours at Iowa State and concluded with a professional and student chapter summit.

Manufacturing Innovation Summit Draws Over 375 Attendees

SME’s Nashville Chapter 43 held its second-annual Nissan Manufacturing Innovation Summit Oct. 10-11 at the Tennessee College of Applied Technologies (Smyrna, TN). Thomas Kurfess, 2018 SME president, was on hand to kick-off the event with his keynote: “Innovation Implementation into a Manufacturing Environment—Thinking/Looking Outside the Box.” The summit had more than 62 tabletop booths, 24 breakout sessions and over 375 attendees. It was designed to provide Nissan and other manufacturers exposure to new and innovative ideas for improving quality and lowering costs.

Chapter 43 handled registration of the booths, attendees and other logistical issues for Nissan. Two SME student chapters—Middle Tennessee State University S239 and Tennessee Technology University S215—were represented as well with S239 providing bags for the event. Chapter 43 uses the proceeds of this event to fund its scholarship program and other activities for the chapter.

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