Leadership—a tradition at SAE International

  • 20-Jan-2010 09:14 EST

January marks an annual tradition at SAE International that has been taking place since its beginning in 1905—the end of one president’s tenure and the beginning of another’s.

Earlier this month, at SAE International’s Board Meeting, we thanked 2009 SAE International President, James E. Smith, Director, Center for Industrial Research Applications and Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University, for his excellent service. We also welcomed the 2010 President, Andrew Brown Jr., PE, FESD, Ph.D., NAE, Executive Director and Chief Technologist for Delphi Corp.

Such a transition offers a natural moment to reflect back and look ahead.

Throughout Smith’s tenure as president, in the many speeches he gave and articles he wrote, he often addressed the importance of leadership. He talked about why good leadership matters and the tremendous benefits that result, both personally and organizationally, when it occurs.

A professional society such as SAE International is testament to that belief. We rely upon the keen insight and leadership skills of our members. That was especially the case during 2009—a year when a global economic crisis challenged all levels and aspects of business.

Smith provided that leadership; he provided a steady voice during the most difficult times. He encouraged SAE International to not just “get through” those times but rather to define its own course and not be a victim. For that, I am grateful.

As president, Smith also was, and is, the consummate advocate for SAE’s membership. He has an unending focus on value. And, it’s not just what SAE International offers—it’s also how professionals use their SAE International membership to its fullest potential.

Time and again, Smith related his own personal stories of how he was able to further his career by staying engaged and active with SAE International since he was a student member. Such stories bring the value of SAE International to life. Again, I am grateful to Smith for that.

As I mentioned earlier, Smith now passes the leadership reins to Brown of Delphi. In addition to being a well-versed and well-respected member of the automotive engineering community, he has been a member of SAE International for nearly 17 years. During that time, Brown has served on several SAE boards and committees, including the SAE Board of Directors (2003-06); SAE Foundation Board of Trustees (2007-09); Technical Standards Board (1999-2003); Fellows Committee (2007-08); and the SAE Automotive Research Institute Advisory Council (2003-07).

Brown has some dynamic and exciting focus areas that center on transformation, regeneration, and growth. (See the Jan. 19 issue of Automotive Engineering International to read a feature article on Brown.)

2010 offers new opportunities for both SAE International and the mobility engineering industry. We are fortunate to have yet another outstanding leader who will help guide us through the year ahead.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to share your thoughts by e-mailing focus@sae.org.

David L. Schutt, SAE Chief Executive Officer

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