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Remarks by David L. Schutt, executive vice president and chief operating officer, SAE International - March 10, 2009

DETROIT, March 10, 2009 -

SAE 2009 World Congress Press Event
Tuesday, March 10
David L. Schutt, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, SAE International




Good afternoon and thank you.


My name is David Schutt and I am the executive vice president and chief operating officer for SAE International.


We’re here to talk about the SAE 2009 World Congress – what it is, what it offers to the automotive engineering industry, and how you will benefit by attending.


This year’s SAE World Congress will be held April 20-23 at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Honda is the host company for this year’s event and Bosch is the strategic Tier One partner.


The first SAE World Congress that I attended was last year. At the time, I was about three weeks away from officially beginning my new job as SAE International’s staff leader. While I had done quite a bit of research about SAE International and its members, I still had much more to learn. My visit to the World Congress served as an excellent resource for me.


What I saw and experienced was a snapshot of mobility engineering – and, more specifically, automotive engineering – at that time, along with a preview of its future.


I was struck by the depth of technical information available and on display. I left with a better understanding of SAE International and the important role that the SAE World Congress plays within our profession.


The SAE World Congress is about automotive engineering, something that impacts all of our lives on a daily basis. Without it we have no transportation; we have no commerce; we have no global economy.


For more than 75 years now, the SAE World Congress has reflected not just the automotive industry, but, in many ways, the issues and challenges that face our society. This year is no different. 


Two challenges, in particular, face us. One is the ailing economy – not just here in the United States, but around the world; and the second includes environmental concerns.


Mobility engineering is global engineering. And, global engineering is a large part of the global economy. It can and will play a large part in the recovery of the U.S. and global economies. How? Well, let’s take a closer look at mobility engineering – what is it?


It’s more than just cars and trucks. It’s more than just the quality companies that manufacture these vehicles. Mobility engineering is a community. And, like all communities, it relies on innovation and talented people to move forward. It thrives on competition, but needs teamwork to remain strong. It must anticipate and respond quickly to change, while holding true to the core concepts and values that help shape its success.


Mobility engineering is infrastructure. It is planning and project management. It is product lifecycles and business plans. All of which are important components to a strong, viable economy. The mobility engineering profession can be an important part of the global economy’s recovery by leading the way through solutions, sound decisions and timely and accurate information for public policy makers.


When dealing with the environmental challenges faced, we can be sure of only one thing – there is no silver bullet. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t answers; there are. Finding them is the hard part, especially in challenging economic times. But, I know that we are up to the challenge. We need to work together to find those answers. State and federal governments must work in partnership with our industry, not against each other. Nations must reach out in collaboration to face these concerns, and not just stay within their borders, assuming that such issues don’t concern or affect them.  


Recognition of the importance of such environmental issues is reflected in the theme of this year’s SAE World Congress – Racing to Green Mobility. While competition helps to define success and can make companies stronger, collaboration is essential as we strive to make our industry – and our world – more environmentally stable and our industry more environmentally conscious, while at the same time designing and producing products our customers will buy.


The SAE World Congress can play an important role in fostering such global cooperation. Traditionally, professionals from nearly forty nations attend the SAE World Congress. The regions represented include all the major areas for automotive engineering and manufacturing – Asia, Europe, South America and North America. The people who attend represent the best and brightest in engineering, design and management.


The technical sessions, panel discussions, professional development courses and exhibits reflect this diversity. The topics covered mirror those that are important to the industry – electronics, emissions and environment, propulsion and powertrain, safety, design and manufacturing, management and marketplace, materials, and testing.


As in past years, the show floor will feature two technology theaters and one business theater. One technology theater, sponsored by AVL, will feature discussions and presentations on a variety of relevant topics. The other technology theater, sponsored by FEV, will focus on powertrain issues. The Executive Business Theater is sponsored by Consulting 4 Drive and A-T-X, and will focus on business issues affecting the automotive industry.


The show floor is an impressive site and many people who walk through may think that it represents the whole of World Congress. But, there is another, equally important part of the event – the technical sessions. Here topics are delved into and the technical information gained can be invaluable.


For instance, this year sessions will examine the “golden spike” between plug-in hybrids and our energy infrastructure.


The SAE World Congress provides an impressive forum for information and knowledge. In fact, did you know that the SAE World Congress is the world’s largest conference for powertrain and safety engineering information?


Of course, this is just a small sampling of the many topics that will be discussed at Cobo. The common element among everything at the SAE World Congress is solutions. Out of challenges comes creativity; and out of creativity comes solutions – the solutions that will help turn our global economy around and the solutions that will help make our world a greener place to live.


Throughout the years, the automotive industry has continually reinvented itself and set the standard for innovation and excellence. The SAE World Congress has done the same.


I want to thank you for your time this afternoon. It has been a pleasure to speak with you about the SAE World Congress. I hope that you found the information to be helpful and insightful.


Also, I hope that you will consider attending to see firsthand the value of the SAE World Congress. I am confident that, as media professionals, you will find the topics, information and experts needed to continue your already-excellent coverage of the ever-changing automotive engineering industry.


On a typical day, we would wrap things up now; but, this isn’t any other day. I’m happy to say that the news of the day isn’t finished.


We would like to announce that the SAE 2009 World Congress will be having special opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. on the first day of World Congress. The ceremonies will be sponsored by AVL and Dassaut Systemes.


This ceremonies will feature a special guest, someone who originally made a name for himself in pop culture, but who recently has been better known for government, especially in regards to emissions and other green issues.


This year, we are pleased to welcome California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the SAE World Congress.  The opening ceremonies will be held at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 20.


Governor Schwarzenegger will talk about why green mobility is essential to future mobility options; how we no longer have a choice, but an obligation to act. He also will speak to the challenges that face the automotive industry, both short-term and long-term.


The State of California has been a leader for quite some time in creating and enforcing emissions regulations. Much of the country has taken their cues on these important issues from our nation’s most populous state. I am sure that Governor Schwarzenegger will offer a unique and well-informed opinion on these topics.


Again, I urge you to consider attending the SAE 2009 World Congress. We at SAE International stand ready to serve as a resource to you for these and any other issues involving mobility engineering.


Now, I’d like to open the floor to questions…