Changes coming for a stronger, revitalized SAE

  • 28-Jul-2009 01:59 EDT

A transformation is under way in the mobility engineering industry and all throughout business. Change is happening everywhere. Some like to call it “reinventing;” others like to call it “repositioning;” regardless of how you characterize it, the result is the same—things are being done differently.

And SAE International is no exception.

Several weeks ago, SAE International’s 2009 President, James E. Smith, wrote a frank and direct letter to SAE’s members. In it he outlined some changes that our organization has made and will be making to ensure that SAE International does not just survive the current economic challenges we all face but also will thrive once they pass. And, more importantly, SAE International will continue to offer those program, products, and services that provide the greatest value to our members and customers in today’s and tomorrow’s business climate.

It is all about the right kind of change.

For example, some of the meetings that SAE International has held over the years will have a new format and feel, while some will remain the same. Still others may no longer be offered. Many of our products will change in scope to reflect the changed needs and expectations of the marketplace; others will be discontinued. And, new products and services will be added to enhance the range of solutions that we offer to mobility engineering professionals. We are communicating these changes directly to our members and to customers through phone calls, e-mails, e-newsletters and via our Web site.

What is important to remember is that these changes are being made to ensure that SAE International provides the mobility engineering community with unquestionable value and at the same time remains economically strong and viable for many, many years to come—just as we have been doing for more than 100 years. Input and feedback from our members and customers and guidance from the society’s member leaders are the transforming power.

We hope that these changes will delight our members and customers. However, we understand that some individuals may not be happy with all of the changes that we are making. Many SAE International members and volunteers have a vested interest in a particular meeting or product that may be discontinued; their disappointment is understandable. They have offered their time and talents over the years to help bring it to fruition; we thank them for their time, energy, and devotion.

I ask, though, that everyone consider the whole rather than the part. The renewed SAE International we are building together is one that is more nimble and responsive to the needs of the transformed mobility industry. It is one that is built on a strong foundation of the past but is not tethered to the status quo. The new SAE International reflects the mobility engineering industry—proactive, dynamic, and collaborative.

The one thing that has not changed is the importance of people to SAE International. Our members, volunteers, customers, business associates, and staff are the reason that this organization is able to reinvent itself after more than a century. You are the reason that we strive to do better.

As we change, I ask that you continue to stay engaged with SAE International. Or, if you have not worked with us lately, give us another try. I also ask that you give us time. All of the changes will not happen at once, and they all may not make sense immediately. But as the pieces come together, I am confident you will experience and embrace the stronger and revitalized SAE.

As always, I welcome your feedback and constructive input to this topic and any other issues on your mind. Let us know what you think; let us know how we can do a better job of serving you and mobility engineering. Please feel free to e-mail me at

David L. Schutt, SAE Chief Executive Officer

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