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Judges

John Adams

John Adams
Director and Executive Vice President - Retired
Honda of America Manufacturing Inc.

John Adams served 25+ years in manufacturing engineering and manufacturing management at Honda operations in North America. He also served as a member of Hondas regional production engineering strategy team. He was a SAE member and participant throughout his career. Prior to Honda, he spent 10 years in the design and manufacture of automation for the die casting industry.


Dr. Andrew Brown Jr., P.E., FESD, FSAE, NAE

Dr. Andrew Brown Jr., P.E., FESD, FSAE, NAE
Retired Vice President and Chief Technologist – Innovation and Technology Office
Delphi Automotive

Dr. Andrew Brown, Jr. is ret. Vice President & Chief Technologist for Delphi Automotive. Dr. Brown provided leadership on corporate innovation and technology issues to help achieve profitable competitive advantage. He also represented Delphi globally in outside forums on matters of innovation and technology including government and regulatory agencies, customers, alliance partners, vendors, contracting agencies, academia, etc. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Brown had responsibility for common policies, practices, processes and performances across Delphi's 19,000 member technical community globally and its budget of $1.8 billion, including establishing Delphi's global engineering footprint with new centers in Poland, India, China, Mexico, etc. In December 2014, he was inducted into the Delphi Innovation Hall of Fame.


Howard Comstock

Howard Comstock
President and CEO
Regional Auto Centers

Howard Comstock spent 40 years as automotive and race program engineer including NASCAR Sprint stock car program manager for Chrysler for 14 years. Over his career he had the privilege of being able to engineer, build, drive, and crew chief in some of the best racing series in the world. Earlier Mr. Comstock was also part of the Ford factory TransAm and IMSA road racing programs and the Ford factory NASCAR Sprint Cup team. He began his career on NHRA drag racing and road racing teams for Chrysler. His competitive teams believed that they innovated their way to the winner's circle. His current automotive involvement is commercial collision repair and making structural wood components for 1908 - 1935 Ford and Chevrolet classic cars.


John R. Crary

John R. Crary
CIO – Retired
American Red Cross

John Crary recently retired as CIO for the American Red Cross where for the past six years he was responsible for the establishment of new systems strategies for more than 600 collaborative sites across the U.S. Before that, he had a 30+ year career as VP and CIO of Lear Corporation where he managed all their IT infrastructure, design, offshoring, outsourcing and consolidation issues. In addition to his global enterprise responsibilities in both organizations, Mr. Crary has been a member of IT Advisory Boards at Oakland University, U of M and Wayne State. He is Associate Professor of IT Leadership at Oakland University. He was awarded CIO of the year in 2007 by Automation Alley.


J Ferron

J Ferron
Director of Judges
Automotive News PACE Innovation Awards

J Ferron was appointed Director of Judges for the Automotive News PACE Award's honoring innovation, technological advances and breakthrough processes after he retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

At PwC and J.D. Power & Associates, Mr. Ferron's international consulting work spanned the entire manufacturing and distribution value network. He is an author, industry commentator, an attorney and an industry thought leader on processes for companies to accelerate collaboration and innovation in their enterprises.

He co-authored the PwC study, The Second Automotive Century, regarding the coming radical changes in the automotive industry. He was one of the authors of, The Collaborative Imperative, published by PwC Consulting (later re-published by IBM) to document the business model changes for successful collaborative business relationships.

As Senior Partner at J. D. Power & Associates, and also Managing Director of their Tokyo joint-venture company he published, The Revolution in Auto Retailing, and was a research associate working with MIT's International Motor Vehicle Program which published the best selling, The Machine that Changed the World! (Republished 2007).

As National Automotive Dealers Association vice president he worked on Capitol Hill and with regulatory agencies representing 20,000 franchised car, truck and heavy truck dealers. There he co-authored the book, Betting on the Franchise, which predicted the unbundling of the dealership facilities, network shrinkage, public ownership, industry consolidation, and the narrowing retail margins.

Mr. Ferron is chairman emeritus of the Northwood University Board of Trustees, a business university for entrepreneurs, overseeing the expanding international curricula for undergraduate, graduate, and advanced degree programs for the approximately 6,000 full time equivalent students.

He is a lawyer, with a juris doctor degree from George Washington University National Law Center. He is on the Visiting Committee of the University of Michigan Center of Theoretical Physics. He is a long time SAE member.

Mr. Ferron is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. A pilot and combat veteran, he flew over 350 sorties in Vietnam on two different tours and has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters.


Beth Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.

Beth Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
Founder
Information Strategists, LLC

Dr. Beth Fitzsimmons founded Information Strategists, LLC, in 1987, a company that provides a full range of information services for high tech companies. It features the development of technical information centers, corporate information audits, electronic online and Internet information resources, database creation and maintenance, customized market research, and patent searches. Clients include scientists, engineers, marketing specialists and executives of major U.S. corporations.

Dr. Fitzsimmons earned a degree in Chemistry from Simmons College, an MLS from the University of Albany and in 2001 she earned her doctorate in Public Policy specializing in Information Policy from George Mason University. Her dissertation was entitled "Knowledge Spillovers from Joint Government-Industry supported Research: A Case-Study from the Automotive Industry".

In February, 2011, Dr. Fitzsimmons was appointed Regent at Eastern Michigan University by Governor Rick Snyder and currently she chairs two standing committees–Student Advisory Committee and Educational Policy Committee. She serves on the Board of Visitors at the University of Albany and recently served on the Board of Visitors (SILS) at UNC (Chapel Hill) and the Department of Commerce NTIS Advisory Board. She was elected a member of the Knowledge Trust and is a member of the American Chemical Society and served on its Committee on Patents and Related Matters (CPRM).


Ron Graves, Ph.D.

Ron Graves, Ph.D.
Director, Fuels, Engines, Emissions Research Center
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Ron Graves is presently the Director of the Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center (FEERC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 1976 after receiving his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He was national project manager for the DOE Alternative Fuels Utilization Program from 1984 to 1990 during which he started the fuels-engine laboratory at ORNL that grew to be FEERC. He was technical manager of DOE's earliest projects in diesel emission controls. Ron was chosen by DOE as the technical coordinator for the Diesel Crosscut Team in 1997 and continues in that role. He was a member of the DOE/Industry Advanced Petroleum Based Fuels (APBF) Steering Committee, the DOE program that contributed heavily to the EPA rule for lowering sulfur in diesel fuel in December 2000. Dr. Graves is ORNL's representative to the 21st Century Truck Partnership "Lab Council" and is responsible for facilitating the engine-fuels efforts in that government-industry initiative. He was a major contributor to preparation of DOE's Heavy Vehicle R&D plans from 1983-1997 and then authored the emission-control sections of the 21st Century Truck Technical Roadmap in 2000. He is an invited member of the FreedomCAR Advanced Combustion & Emission Control Tech Team.

He is a member of the Coordinating Research Council Working Group on Advanced Vehicle Fuels and Lubricants. Ron has a record of over 55 publications and reports that encompass subjects in fossil energy, internal combustion engines, fuels, and materials. He is a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers and has organized or chaired about twenty-five technical sessions and has participated on numerous expert panels. He has three patents, with one additional in progress. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Tennessee.


Gerald Gruber, Ph.D.

Gerald Gruber, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer (retired)
Aculon, Inc.

Dr. Gerald Gruber was chief executive officer at Aculon, Inc. from 2005 to 2008. Prior to joining Aculon, he served in several key roles at PPG Industries from 1988 to 2005 including director of automotive coatings from 1988 to 1993; vice president of coatings from 1995 to 1997; and vice president and chief technology officer from 1997 to 2005.

Dr. Gruber serves on the boards of U.S. Polymers, Aculon, Duquesne University Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Science and Math and Science Collaborative Steering Council, Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Gruber graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa in 1966 with a bachelor of science in chemistry. He earned his PhD from Case Western Reserve University School of Chemistry in 1970. He is also a graduate of the Northwestern University Kellogg School Advanced Executive Program and the Harvard University Key Executives Program.


Thomas Hachiya

Thomas Hachiya
Principal
Sansei Technik Services

Thomas Hachiya, a 20-year industry veteran, has held management positions with General Motors, Electronic Data Systems and was a Managing Director at BearingPoint. His accomplishments include heading a research and development institute, leading a $1 billion automotive supplier's concurrent engineering task force for a new vehicle program, spearheading multi-company initiatives in concurrent engineering, metal-stamping automation, computer integrated manufacturing, and information technology management, and leading multi-country consulting initiatives for Global 1000 clients.


Thomas H. Hanna

Thomas H. Hanna
President and CEO (retired)
American Automobile Manufacturers Association

Thomas Hanna is a former President and CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, the national trade association of the U S domestic motor vehicle manufacturing companies (OEMs). During his tenure he served a term as president of OICA, the Paris-based international association of automobile manufacturers.

Prior to AAMA, Mr. Hanna was technical director of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, Michigan. Earlier experience included supervisory and engineering positions in the foundry industry.

After retirement he was executive director of the Detroit Executive Service Corps, a consultancy to non-profit organizations.

Mr. Hanna is a four-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


Thomas H. Hanna

Susan Helper, Ph.D.
Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University

Susan Helper is the Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2013-2015, and as Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 2012-3. Dr. Helper has been a visiting scholar at University of Oxford, the University of California (Berkeley), Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on understanding the costs and benefits of the globalization of supply chains for corporations and communities. She has published in journals such as Sloan Management Review, American Economic Review, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Dr. Helper received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and her B.A. from Oberlin College.


Alan C. Johnson

Alan C. Johnson
Principal
ACJ Ventures LLC

Alan Johnson is an experienced operating executive having served in the automotive supply industry for over 30 years. He has directed multiple businesses in a global environment. Most recently Mr. Johnson was president and CEO of Advanced Accessory Systems a position he also held at LDM Technologies. He has also served as president and COO at Plastech Engineered Products and Exide Corporation. His career began with Federal-Mogul Corporation.

Mr. Johnson's leadership and experience have comprised a wide range of responsibilities including process and product development, product engineering and R&D. Areas of technology include engines systems and components, sealing systems and components, lighting, fuel systems, batteries, plastic components, class A surface finishes and roof racks.

He has been a member of the SAE, Rubber Manufacturing Association and has served on the Board of OESA.


William L. Kath

William L. Kath
Executive Engineer, Technology Strategy Manager (Retired), Product Development Group
Ford Motor Company

During a 32 year career at Ford Motor Company, Bill Kath served in car product planning, powertrain planning, and as executive engineer, first in car research, then in powertrain systems, chassis engineering, and body interiors/restraints. From 1988 to 1991 he served as Ford's resident director at Mazda Motor Corporation in Hiroshima, Japan. Upon his return to Ford, he served as executive engineer, value and reliability engineering, and then as technology strategy manager, technical affairs.

Subsequent to his Ford career, he served briefly as senior vice president, engineering at Breed Technologies, an early supplier/innovator of crash sensors and restraint systems. Mr. Kath is a life member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).


Francis G. Leo

Francis G. Leo
President & CEO
IAT Group

Francis Leo began his 32-year manufacturing career at Johnson Controls, Inc., in 1975 where he served a regional engineering manager with responsibility for building automation systems. He joined Lamb Technicon Corporation in 1979 where he served as manager of the Micro–Electronics Department. In that capacity Mr. Leo was responsible for organizing and developing a micro-electronics department for the company and designing and developing Lamb's first CAD/CAM group. While at Lamb, he also served as general manager of Corporate Electronics & Controls Systems with responsibility for overseeing the development and supportive activities of several departments including: Computer Integrated Manufacturing; Controls Engineering; Electronics Systems and research & development projects.

In 1985, Mr. Leo was named president and CEO of Mictron, Inc., a subsidiary of Lamb Technicon, Corp and remained in that capacity when the company became a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Company. While at Mictron, he had achieved patent in machine control – diagnostics and Chrysler's PENTASTAR award for supplying the development and implementation of the Chrysler Factory Information System (FIS) and many other electronic control devices for high-speed and high volume production machining systems. In 1990, Mictron was acquired by AEG's Automation Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Daimler Benz AG, and Mr. Leo was named vice president and general manager of its Automation Systems Division, USA.

In 1993, Mr. Leo formed his owned company and was president & CEO of International Industrial Group that supplied manufacturing solutions to companies on a global scale. Demand for his expertise in manufacturing solutions and systems led to increased demand for his consulting services and speaking engagements in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States.

Since his joining AAM in 2006, Mr. Leo has held key positions in developing new businesses in Asia & Europe. He spearheaded the growth of AAM-India from grass roots to a World Class engineering and manufacturing supplier of Driveline Products globally. AAM presently has three manufacturing locations, a large product development and engineering center and a Testing & Validation Technical Center in India. He had built very quickly new business relationships with all major OEMs such as TATA MOTORS, Daimler Benz, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra in the Light and Heavy Commercial industries. AAM has received award as World Class leader in India, supplying Quality driveline products to TATA MOTORS! He also has been able to win businesses for AAM in Europe and China.

Mr. Leo in 2013 was selected to be one of the members of the Judges Group for the Automotive News PACE Awards that honor innovation, technological advances and breakthrough processes developed by automotive suppliers.

A native of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Mr. Leo obtained his certificate of education in General Science from St. Michael's College in Batticaloa, Ceylon, and graduate training in Marine Engineering, from Taos Ltd., in Colombo, Ceylon. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering from Bell & Howell Schools, DeVry Institute of Technology in Chicago. He has also done continued education in the field of Business Management, Computer Sciences and Sales/Marketing from well recognized institutions in the USA.


Makoto Makino

Makoto Makino
President (Retired)
Honda Engineering of North America Inc.

Makoto Makino worked 37 years for Honda Engineering Co. Ltd Japan (1976 – 2013). The majority of his assignments were in production engineering (research, development and equipment design). From 2009 to 2013, he served as president of Honda Engineering North America Inc. His worked included development of spot welding robots, riding simulators, laser welding, solar tracker, Asimo (humanoid robot), production engineering and Honda hybrid systems.


Laura D. Marlino

Laura D. Marlino
Technical Program Manager for Power Electronics and Electric Machinery
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Laura Marlino currently manages the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery efforts at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy's FreedomCAR effort.

As part of her responsibilities she oversees the technical progress on R&D efforts for hybrid, plug in hybrid and fuel cell vehicle technology developments.

Prior to this position Ms. Marlino spent 10 years as a research engineer in the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She received her BS in electronics engineering from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico and her MSEE from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee.

During her engineering career she has been employed with Teledyne Camera Systems in California doing analog video design and Honeywell Aerospace and Marine in New Mexico as both a test and design engineer involved with cockpit displays and processors for military aircraft. She also has worked as an IC design engineer with ASIC International in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

For the past three years Ms. Marlino has been involved with program management with the FreedomCAR program. She is also a member of the Electrical and Electronics Technical Team within the United States Council for Automotive Research.


E. Kidder (Kit) Meade

E. Kidder (Kit) Meade
President, EKM III, Inc., Group VP Marketing
Litton Industrial Automation

Kit Meade spent 25 years as a consultant to and executive in the automotive industry. He served as Executive VP of Lamb Technicon, a supplier of high volume machining and assembly lines; as Group VP Marketing for Litton Industrial Automation, including the startup and operation of a manufacturing joint venture to produce diesel engine components. He served as a consultant to several Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs after founding EKM III, Inc. in 1997. He currently is involved with the application of lean manufacturing inventory methods and technology in the health care industry.


Robert F. Mull

Robert F. Mull
Executive Director, Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Product Development Group
Ford Motor Company (retired)

Robert Mull retired from Ford Motor Company October 1, 2006 after 34 years of service. His last position was Executive Director, Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Product Development Group. He was responsible for all test operations, including proving grounds, engine and transmission test, emissions test, body and chassis test, and safety test labs, cold weather sites, material testing and standards, prototype planning and build, body CAD, durability engineering, road loads analysis, design aid, and computer aided engineering.

He served as Director, Worldwide Strategy and Cycle Planning for Ford's worldwide product plan, as Director of Product Development for Ford's Asia Pacific region, and spent 7 years working in Asia, including Japan. He has worked on numerous domestic and worldwide product programs throughout his career, was the Director for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) from 1993 to 1996, and was a member of the Ford of Mexico Advisory Board from 1998 to 2000.

Mr. Mull was a member of the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Chairman of the SAE Motor Vehicle Council, and a Vice President of the Technical Standards Board. He served on several study committees of the U.S. Congress' Office of Technology Assessment and the President's Council on Competitiveness.

Mr. Mull served as a member of the Arbor Hospice Board of Directors for several years, and presently serves on the Board of the Arbor Hospice Foundation. He is an active member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club, and volunteer tutor of the homeless trying to pass the GED, a member of the Department of Treasury Taxpayer Advocacy Panel that works with the IRS to improve the US tax system, is a member of Jumpstart, a non-profit organization that promotes K to 12 financial literacy, is a volunteer tax preparer for the Women's Center of Southeast Michigan, and a teacher of financial literacy in the Ann Arbor high schools.

Mr. Mull has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration both from the University of Michigan. Mr. Mull was a Combat Engineering Officer in the U. S. Army. He is married, has twin daughters and a son, and resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Allan D Murray, Ph.D.

Allan D Murray, Ph.D.
President
Ecoplexus Inc.

Al Murray is president of Ecoplexus Inc., an automotive technology services company. He has successfully taken many advanced products and technologies from concept through production during his 31 years at Ford Motor Company. His most recent position at Ford was as technology director for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV, now FreedomCAR), a government/industry initiative established to develop affordable fuel-efficient vehicles. In this position, he led government/industry teams researching a wide range of technologies including advanced vehicle construction, power trains, fuel cells, batteries, and power electronics. He has also served as chairman and president of the nonprofit Michigan Materials and Processes Institute (MMPI), which sponsored collaborative university and supplier materials research. He has an MBA degree from Wayne State University, and MS and PhD degrees in metallurgical engineering and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), director-emeritus of the SPE Automotive Division, and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers.


Douglas A. Ober, CFA

Douglas A. Ober, CFA
Senior Vice President (Retired)
BNY Mellon Asset Management

Douglas Ober, a Senior Vice President at BNY Mellon Asset Management, is currently responsible for the firm's Institutional Client Development efforts throughout the Midwest. He was formerly responsible for the Bank of New York's Midwest Corporate Division, which included a heavy concentration of North American auto manufacturers and automotive suppliers. His activities included domestic and foreign financing for both OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, as well as strategic advisory services and financial structuring. He has more than 23 years of corporate finance, treasury and international trade experience. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Society of Automotive Analysts. He has focused on the automotive industry since 1991.


Michael Pecht, Ph.D.

Michael Pecht, Ph.D.
Founder and Director of CALCE (Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering)
University of Maryland

Dr. Michael Pecht is a world renowned reliability engineer and educator. In 2008, he was awarded the highest reliability honor, the IEEE Reliability Society's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, he received the IEEE Exceptional Technical Achievement Award for his reliability contributions in the area of prognostics and systems health management.

Dr. Pecht has an MS in electrical engineering and an MS and PhD in engineering mechanics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is a professional engineer, an IEEE Fellow, an ASME Fellow, an SAE Fellow and an IMAPS Fellow. He has previously received the European Micro and Nano-Reliability Award for outstanding contributions to reliability research, 3M Research Award for electronics packaging, and the IMAPS William D. Ashman Memorial Achievement Award for his contributions in electronics reliability analysis.

He served as chief editor of the IEEE Transactions on Reliability for eight years and on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum. He is chief editor for Microelectronics Reliability and an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technology. He is the founder and director of CALCE (Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering) at the University of Maryland, which is funded by over 150 of the world's leading electronics companies at more than US$6M/year. The CALCE Center received the NSF Innovation Award in 2009.

He is also a chair professor in mechanical engineering and a professor in applied mathematics at the University of Maryland. He has written more than twenty books on product reliability, development, use and supply chain management and over 400 technical articles. He consults for 22 major international electronics companies, providing expertise in strategic planning, design, test, prognostics, IP and risk assessment of products and systems.


Richardson

John R. Richardson, Ph. D.
EDI Manager
TDS Logistics Europe

John Richardson has his intermediate degrees in engineering physics, solid state physics and his Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in solid state physics. Over his career he has worked for GE Research Labs, on design, production and installation of automotive manufacturing equipment for John T Hepburn Ltd Toronto, and also design and constructed robotic cells for NASA solid rocket motors. Dr. Richardson's career took him also to a number of automotive suppliers, AutoTrim, Breed, Crane Valve and TDS Automotive in Genk, Belgium. In Belgium he helped build custom EDI and supply chain systems for Ford and Audi vehicle production in China.


Michael J. Smitka, Ph.D.

Michael J. Smitka, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
Washington and Lee University

Michael Smitka is an economist who specializes on the automotive industry and on the Japanese economy. Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia, he is the author of Competitive Ties: Subcontracting in the Japanese Automotive Industry, a study of automotive suppliers, and a variety of articles on the auto industry in the US and in East Asia. His BA is from Harvard and PhD from Yale, but he grew up in the city of Detroit, and worked summers in stamping plants in the early 1970s; he also spent 3 years in international banking in New York. Over the past 30 years he spent a cumulative total of 6 years in Japan, with additional stays in Germany, Korea and China. Along with his general interest in the auto industry, one of his research interests is organizational change, and he finds the PACE finalists to be exemplars of the interaction of innovation and organizational structure.


Lyn St. James

Lyn St. James
President
LSJ Enterprises

Lyn St. James is a race car driver who's raced in 15 Indycar races, including seven Indianapolis 500's. The second woman to qualify for the 500, she was awarded Rookie of the Year honors in 1992, and since her final race in 2000 there have now been seven women qualify and race in the 500. Ms. St. James also has two victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona and one win at the 12 Hours of Sebring. She competed twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and has successfully competed in sports cars and Indycars and continues to compete in vintage races. Ms. St James founded the 501c3 Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation in 1994 for the education, training and advancement of women in automotive fields. She serves on several boards including the board of trustees of Kettering University.


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