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Ford’s Schmidt Named First Recipient of SAE International Powertrain Innovation Award

WARRENDALE, Pa., May 21, 2009 - Gerhard Schmidt, Chief Technical Officer and Vice President of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company, is the first recipient of SAE International’s Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award.  He was honored during the SAE 2009 World Congress in Detroit. 

The award honors an engineer who has demonstrated outstanding innovation in the field of powertrain engineering.  The award is funded by FEV through the SAE Foundation to honor Pischinger, FEV Chairman of the Board.  Pischinger has devoted his 50-year career to furthering powertrain technology and the education of young engineers. 

A former student of Pischinger’s, Schmidt leads Ford's worldwide research organization based in Dearborn, Mich., and Aachen, Germany.  As head of the advanced engineering group, he also oversees the planning, development and implementation of Ford's top global technology objectives.

"This award truly recognizes the team of talented people I've been honored to work beside throughout my career," Schmidt said.  "As a former Ph.D. student of Professor Pischinger at the University of Aachen, this award is particularly meaningful to me and demonstrates how our lives come full circle.  I appreciate his contribution to my education, to our industry and to the overall Powertrain Science and Technology discipline."

Prior to joining Ford, Schmidt served as Senior Vice President of Vehicle Integration at BMW AG and spent 10 years as Senior Vice President Powertrain Development for the German automaker.  During his 21 years at BMW, he held a wide range of leadership roles in engine research and development.

Schmidt is a member of the Automotive Fuel Cell Corporation Board of Directors; the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies; the USCAR Council; Ford/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alliance; Honorary Committee of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies; the University of Michigan Engineering Advisory Council; and the Advisory Board of the Oakland University School of Engineering and Computer Science.  He also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of ATZautotechnology magazine and is a board member of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan. 

Schmidt received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Aachen in Germany, and a doctorate in Investigations on Stratified Charge – Internal Combustion Engines from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Aachen.  He has been awarded an Advisory Professorship at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Schmidt was born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and now resides in Michigan.

To set up an interview with Schmidt, please contact Charlotte Fisher of Ford at

SAE International is a global association of more than 121,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and standards development. SAE International's charitable arm is the SAE Foundation, which supports many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.