SME Recognizes Young Leaders

2010 SME Richard E. Morley Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award Recipients Announced

DEARBORN, Mich., - It's been said that "invention is the talent of youth..." This is particularly true of several of the winners of the 2010 Society of Manufacturing Engineers Richard E. Morley Outstanding Young Manufacturing Award who are being honored for among other accomplishments inventions or patents.

"Since 1979, SME has recognized young people age 35 and under for outstanding technical accomplishments in the manufacturing profession. As in years past, we have a number of inventive manufacturing professionals set to receive this prestigious award," said Barbara M. Fossum, PhD, FSME, SME president 2010.

"And it's only fitting that the award is named for SME member and innovator Richard E. Morley, the inventor of the programmable controller," she added.

This year's Richard E. Morley Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award recipients, include:

Srikanth Bontha, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Temple University


Srikanth Bontha is currently an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at Temple University. Before becoming an assistant professor there in 2009, Bontha spent more than three years in industry at Kennametal Inc., where he led product development projects and conducted research in the area of cutting tools. He currently holds three patents and has published 15 articles in top-ranked journals and international conference proceedings.

Salil S. Desai, PhD

Associate Professor, Industrial & Systems Engineering and Director, Integrated Nano and Bio Manufacturing Laboratory

North Carolina A&T State University

Greensboro, N.C.

Salil S. Desai is an associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University and the director of the Integrated Nano and Bio Manufacturing Laboratory. There, he investigates hybrid nano manufacturing combining direct-write fabrication and nanoimprint lithography with applications in the areas of drug delivery, stem cell differentiation and fuel cells. He is already the author of more than 50 publications including book chapters, journal and proceedings papers. Desai also holds one international patent and is the author of a number of invention disclosures.

Mervyn Fathianathan, PhD

Managing Director

BioMers Pte Ltd.


Mervyn Fathianathan is currently managing director of BioMers Pte Ltd, a company engaged in the design and manufacture of polymer composite based medical devices. At BioMers, he led the development of the world's only clear orthodontic braces. He has a patent pending for the design of a polymer composite based dental retainer. His inventions have been commercialized and sold in more than 35 countries.

A. John Hart, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department Mechanical Engineering and School of Art and Design

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich.

A. John Hart is Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, where he leads the Mechanosynthesis Group. Hart's group studies the science and manufacturing of nanostructured materials, for applications including energy, electronics, health care, and composite materials. In particular, Hart and his students are credited with innovations in synthesis and applications of carbon nanotubes. Hart has over 10 pending patents and 40 journal publications in this field. Additionally, Hart showcases his research using artistic images, via his nanobliss ( online gallery. These images have appeared in hundreds of outlets including Science, Nature and Wired.

Raja Kountanya, PhD

Machining Applications Engineer

Sandvik/Diamond Innovations

Columbus, Ohio

Raja Kountanya is a machining applications engineer with Diamond Innovations (formerly GE Superabrasives), where he engages in the research and development of cutting tool technology. Some of his many duties there include planning laboratory testing for new products, developing manufacturing processes and leading lean projects as a Six Sigma Green Belt. Kountanya currently holds one filed patent application and is the author of numerous invention disclosures, journal and conference publications.

Zhaowei Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

University of California, San Diego

LaJolla, Calif.

Zhaowei Liu is an assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he leads a research group dedicated to such fields as nanophotonics, plasmonics, nanomaterials and biomedical imaging. Liu has been a principal driver in developing new concepts, devices and techniques for far-field superlens, optical hyperlens and other imaging devices. His work in these areas was selected as a Top 10 scientific discovery of 2008 by Time magazine and a Top 100 science story of 2007 by Discover magazine. Additionally, Liu holds patents in the fields of nanoimaging and nanolithography.

M. Ravi Shankar, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Industrial Engineering

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pa.

M. Ravi Shankar is an assistant professor in the department of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, where he works on the forefront of manufacturing processes. Most notably, he has performed pioneering research on the utilization of machining-based processes for the mass-manufacturing of nanostructured materials. Already a prolific writer, Shankar has written more than 35 publications which have appeared in several leading journals and refereed conference proceedings.

Mike Vogler, PhD

Senior Engineering Project Team Leader

Caterpillar Inc.

Peoria, Ill.

Mike Vogler is a senior engineering project team leader for machining and metrology research and development at Caterpillar, where his work focuses on technology development to improve material removal and control processes. In particular, he has developed process models for centerless grinding that enabled production quality to be improved while reducing cycle times by 15 percent. Previously, as a senior research engineer at Delphi, he developed material removal process simulation tools in the machining and manufacturing systems group. In addition to these accomplishments, Vogler is the co-author of seven technical papers and holds one U.S. patent.

Chengyin Yuan, PhD

Senior Researcher

General Motors

Warren, Mich.

Chengyin Yuan is currently a senior researcher at the General Motors Global Research and Development Center in Warren, Mich. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his present research interests include such areas as virtual manufacturing, automation system design and control, sustainable manufacturing and electric vehicle manufacturing. Dr. Yuan's work has resulted in more than 30 technical publications and more than ten U.S. and international patent applications.

Nominations for the 2011 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award are due August 1, 2010 and forms can be downloaded at

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About SME:

Founded in 1932, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking.Through its many programs, events and activities, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning all manufacturing industries and disciplines, plus the key areas of aerospace and defense, medical device, motor vehicles, including motorsports, oil and gas and alternative energy. A 501(c)3 organization, SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of technical communities and chapters worldwide.


Lori Ann Dick, APR

Senior PR Representative

Tel 313.425.3187


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