The heavy-duty side of the automotive industry will get more attention from the Society of Automotive Engineers Inc. this year.
Rodica Baranescu, SAE president-elect, wants to improve the quality of programs and services for engineers in the heavy-duty industry.
'This is near and dear to my personal and professional interest and is important for a big constituency, the heavy-duty industry,' Baranescu said. 'For the people who work in this industry - the trucks, buses, farm equipment - we want to strengthen and improve the heavy-duty programs offered to our membership. We would like to provide the same level of services to the heavy-duty industry that we now offer engineers in the light-vehicle segment.'
Baranescu, chief engineer for International Truck & Engine Corp., is the first woman to be elected president of SAE. She will replace Donald Ableson of General Motors on March 9 during the SAE 2000 World Congress annual banquet in Detroit.
SAE now has two annual exhibitions for the heavy-duty engineers. The 2000 International Off-Highway & Powerplant Congress & Exhibition will be held Sept. 11-13 in Milwaukee, and the International Truck & Bus Meeting & Exposition will be Dec. 4-6 in Portland, Ore.
The truck and bus exposition has been the more successful of the two in recent years, Baranescu said. Programs offered at the off-highway exposition have not been generating the kind of attendance that SAE would like, she said.
'I'd like to champion this, offer them richer programs,' she said. Baranescu wants to offer more opportunities for seminars and courses throughout the year.
'Twenty years ago, ... it was very well attended, and I was very active in the technical sessions,' she said. 'For whatever reasons, we have not been able to sustain the interest of the participants.'
Even the truck and bus show, which is generally a popular exposition, can be improved, she said.
Baranescu, who joined International Truck & Engine Corp. (formerly Navistar International Transportation Corp.) in 1980, also wants to reach heavy-duty service technicians through the new Service Technicians Society, an SAE affiliate.
The Service Technicians Society, formed four years ago, is dedicated to advancing the knowledge, skills and image of service technicians. It now has 8,000 members, but most of them are from the light-duty side, she said.
'The purpose and the goal are to enhance the image and the recognition of the technicians that service automotive, light and heavy,' Baranescu said. 'We want to develop more services and increase STS membership on the heavy-duty commercial side.'
She said SAE supported the formation of the Service Technicians Society, although its members are not members of SAE. But the model, the concept of this society, is similar to that of SAE, she said.
The Service Technicians Society will hold its second annual conference March 6-7 as part of SAE's World Congress in Detroit.