LaRoux Gillespie Elected as Society of Manufacturing Engineers 2012 President

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) announced the election of a widely recognized manufacturing authority as its 2012 president. LaRoux K. Gillespie, Dr. Eng., FSME, PE, CMfgE, a metal finishing consultant and retired Kansas City Honeywell quality leader was sworn in — along with the rest of the 2012 SME Executive Committee and Board of Directors — at the Society’s Awards & Installation Banquet held November 12, 2011, in Chicago.

As president, Gillespie hopes to inspireother manufacturers to realize the impact they can make through an organization like SME.

“SME has provided me — and thousands of others — with tools to learn, leadership opportunities and a lifelong association with those coming to learn and those who are already world authorities,” said Gillespie. “The Society has been an important part of my professional growth.”

Gillespie has been a member since a University of Kansas professor introduced him to SME (then ASTE) in 1963. He later became a leader in Kansas City No. 57 chapter, the SME Robotics International chapter, and eventually, 67 leadership positions within the Society.

“I enjoy learning, leading and making things happen, and SME provided a chance to listen to others, lead technical conferences, publish my ideas and research, and organize others,” Gillespie said. “SME offers so many no-cost or low-cost opportunities for manufacturing knowledge that it provides the highest return on your investment of anything I have seen.”

Gillespie’s career path gives him a broad view of manufacturing — process engineer with Bendix in 1966 on micro-size precision parts, precision assemblies, electronics, to his last role as quality assurance manager of Honeywell’s Federal Manufacturing & Technologies division, where heled a 200-employee group responsible for product and operating quality  in one of the county’s most sophisticated multipurpose plants.

Today, Gillespie is an independent consultant and researcher. He writes about manufacturing for Cutting Tool Engineering and MICROmanufacturing magazines, and annually publishes other papers and reports on micromanufacturing and deburring.

Throughout his more than four decades with the Society, Gillespie’s held a number of leadership roles, including terms on the SME Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Profile 21 study of manufacturing engineering in the 21st century, education committees, certification, machining technology, deburring conferences, publications, accreditation, group technology, student leadership and most recently a study of taxonomies for use in identifying information. He was elected an SME Fellow in 1988.

Gillespie is also a recipient of several local and regional awards, the Bendix Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, two AlliedSignal Special Recognition Awards, Jack A. Knuth Continuous Achievement Award (Honeywell), ASME’s Arthur L. Williston Award and Medal, and the 1984 SME Albert M. Sergeant Progress Award.

Gillespie has also been active with the Engineer’s Council for Professional Development, manpower and engineering guidance councils, served on four university advisory boards, and he has been a member of several other manufacturing and engineering-related organizations. Gillespie is a registered professional engineer in Missouri, and a registered manufacturing engineering in California. He is an SME certified manufacturing engineer (CMfgE), a chartered Engineer (Great Britain) and an Able Toastmaster. Gillespie has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas, a master’s of manufacturing engineering from Utah State University and holds a doctor of engineering degree from Meiji University in Japan. In 2011, he also received an honorary doctorate from Don State Technical University in Russia.

Also elected to serve on the 2012 SME Executive Committee:

President-Elect: Dennis S. Bray, PhD, FSME
Bray is the president and CEO of Contour Precision Group, LLC, located in Clover, South Carolina.  Prior to joining Contour Precision in 2010, Bray was the managing member of Bray Innovation Group, LLC. He  also served as president and CEO of Cincinnati Inc. His entire career has been devoted to broadening the knowledge base of manufacturing. A member of the Society since 1985, Bray was elected to the SME College of Fellows in 2003. Additional honors include the SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award and the Ford Foundation Fellowship-University of Wisconsin. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Vice-President: Michael F. Molnar, FSME, CMfgE, PE
Molnar is the chief manufacturing officer for the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. Previously, he was the director of environmental policy and sustainable development for Cummins Inc. where he was responsible for corporate initiatives such as energy efficiency, sustainability of operations and compliance affairs. Molnar has more than 25 years of industrial experience in leadership roles across functions. He has held many leadership positions with SME since joining in 1982, including chair of the SME Member Council. Molnar was elected an SME Fellow in 2008 and holds BSME and MSMSE degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Secretary/Treasurer: Wayne Frost, CMfgE
Frost is retired from John Deere Waterloo Works where he managed the lean manufacturing program and currently works as a consultant. With John Deere for 37 years, he accepted increasingly responsible positions in manufacturing management, quality assurance and supply management. An active SME member since 1983, Frost has served at the international, regional and chapter levels. His honors include the SME Award of Merit, SME President’s Award, the SME Waterloo Chapter Kurt E. Lear Award and the John Deere General Manager’s Award. Frost earned a BS and MS from the University of Northern Iowa.

At-Large Executive Committee Member: Thomas R. Kurfess, PhD, FSME, CMfgT, PE
Kurfess is one of the world's leading experts in the field of microscale manufacturing metrology, with research focused on the design and development of high-precision manufacturing and metrology systems. In 2005, he joined the faculty at Clemson University as the BMW chair of manufacturing where he also currently leads the Automotive Engineering Program. Kurfess joined SME in 1983, was elected to the 2006 Class of SME Fellows, served as the 2007-08 NAMRI/SME president and is a former member of the Manufacturing Enterprise Council. Kurfess received his SB, SM and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1986, 1987 and 1989, respectively, and his SM degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT in 1988.

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