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Six IMMI Engineers Earn SAE International Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering

WARRENDALE, Pa., May 5, 2010 - Six engineers with IMMI received the 2009 SAE International Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering Award during the SAE 2010 World Congress in April. The group received their awards during the Awards Ceremony.

This honor recognizes the company’s accomplishments in increasing safety on motorcoaches and school buses with the development of the Premier seat, which incorporates SafeGuard SmartFrame technology to protect both belted and unbelted occupants.  The Premier seat was originally developed for Greyhound, a division of FirstGroup America, for use on its motorcoaches. 

Established in 1988, the Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering Award is funded by Ford Motor Company and administered by the Henry Ford Award Board. It recognizes SAE International members who use their engineering skills to achieve product or manufacturing process contributions which are assessed to have had the greatest positive effect on the passenger car, truck and bus industries.

Those honored include:

·         Douglas Bittner, Senior Mechanical Designer

·         Christopher W. Foye, Lead Project Engineer

·         Jeffrey A. King, R&D Engineer

·         David Merrick, R&D Engineer

·         Thomas C. Rumler, Engineer

·         Jon Szalai, Manufacturing Engineering Manager

Bittner has been with IMMI for 26 years and has been awarded seven design patents related to both occupant and vehicle seating safety. He earned an associate’s degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Foye has been with IMMI for more than 12 years. He is responsible for the design, development and implementation of motor coach and school bus seating applications. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University.

A six-year employee with IMMI, King currently works as research and development engineer. Previously, he was responsible for design of the mechanical components of the Premier seat. King earned an associate’s degree in mechanical design from Vincennes University.

Merrick has been with IMMI for 23 years. He has been awarded 25 patents for various inventions related to seat belt systems. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Now in his third year with IMMI, Rumler has accumulated four patents in 16 years in the seating industry for commuter, recreational vehicles, van and truck markets. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Western Michigan University.

Szalai has been with IMMI for five years. During that time, he has served as manufacturing engineer, product engineer, applications engineer and program manager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Butler University.

For more information about the Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering Award, call 1-724-772-8522 or e-mail pr@sae.org . To speak with one of the award winners, e-mail rebecca.scholer@imminet.com .

SAE International is a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and voluntary consensus 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.

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