Director, Global Engine Engineering
Ford Motor Company
Frank Abkenar has served as Director of Global Engine Engineering at Ford Motor Company since January 2018. Prior to that, Frank was the Director of Global Powertrain Strategy and Sustainability. Abkenar has over 27 years of experience in Powertrain at Ford and has held several leadership roles in Engine Engineering and Manufacturing, Powertrain Installation and Integration, and Powertrain Programs. Abkenar started his Ford career in the US in Engine Engineering. He has also held several leadership positions in Europe and Asia Pacific, which included launching several Engines and Transmissions in new manufacturing facilities in Brazil, India, and China. In his last international assignment as the Director of Asia Pacific Powertrain, Abkenar developed a strong team to deliver regional and global Powertrains and Programs for Ford. This included working extensively with Ford Joint Venture Partners in China. These experiences have provided a strong foundation for team building across geographic locations with deep awareness, sensitivity and appreciation of cultural norms and differences.
In addition to his professional experience, Abkenar has earned:
BSME from Lawrence Technological University
MSME from Oakland University
MBA from University of Michigan
Raymond W. Corbin
AVL North America
Director of Advanced and SRT Powertrain
FCA US LLC
Chris Cowland is currently Director of Advanced and SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Powertrain at FCA US LLC. He is responsible for future FCA powertrain technology and high performance powertrains for the SRT brand, including the 707 horsepower supercharged HEMI® Hellcat engine – winner of a 2015 Wards 10 Best Engines award, and also the 840 bhp Demon.
Prior to this role, Cowland was the Chief Engineer and Platform Director for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, the recipient of three Wards 10 Best Engines awards.
Previous to his tenure at FCA US, Cowland held the position of Technical Director at two of the major global powertrain consultants - AVL and Ricardo.
Cowland started his career in the automotive industry in 1981 as an apprentice at Perkins Engines. He held a number of engine design and development positions at Perkins and Lotus before moving to the US in 1996.
Cowland graduated with a Master of Science degree in Automotive Engineering from Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, England.
Vice President, Ford Global Powertrain Engineering
Ford Motor Company
Executive Director, Global Fuel Cell Business
General Motors Company
Manager, Powertrain Performance Planning and Market Insights, Nissan Technical Center North America
Nissan North America
LG Energy Solution Michigan Inc.
Chief Technical Officer, Americas
Schaeffler Group USA, Inc.
As chief technical officer for Schaeffler in the Americas, Jeff Hemphill is responsible for research and new product development for automotive transmission, engine, chassis as well as industrial components and systems. His scope of responsibilities also encompasses IT and digitalization functions, which include facilitating the integration of digital capability into Schaeffler’s new products and business models.
Jeff started his career at Schaeffler as a machinist and co-op student while earning a BSME from The University of Akron. He also holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT. Jeff has over 30 years of experience in automotive and industrial product development, including manufacturing, product design, testing and vehicle development.
To date, Jeff has 79 patents filed or issued.
Amsted Automotive Group
Executive Advisor, WattEV
Director, 21st Century Truck Partnership
U.S. Department of Energy
In the Vehicle Technologies Office, Mr. Howden is Director for the 21st Century Truck Partnership with four federal agencies and eleven heavy duty truck manufacturers and major suppliers. He manages Class-8 tractor-trailer development under the SuperTruck initiative with five OEM teams. In the light-duty area, he manages advanced engine development with the USCAR OEM partners and emission control development with the national laboratories and universities. He is a member and former co-chair of the USDRIVE Advanced Combustion and Emission Control Tech Team.
As a project leader with U.S. Army, Mr. Howden managed a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers in the successful accelerated development, testing, production, and deployment of HEMMT 10-ton trucks with integrated power units for the PATRIOT Missile System. As a member of two NATO working groups, he also developed thermal infrared and millimeter wave countermeasures for tactical vehicles. He holds a BSME from Virginia Tech and an MEA from George Washington University.
Dr. Patrick Hupperich
President and CEO
FEV North America, Inc.
Chief Technology and Innovation Officer
Professor Neville Jackson is responsible for the future vision for mobility, energy & resource efficiency technologies at Ricardo and the associated research agenda and strategy to deliver this vision.
A graduate of Imperial College, London, his career has included 37 years at Ricardo focused on research and technology demonstration programmes covering advanced combustion engines, hybrid and electric systems and energy recovery technologies. He is also responsible for a wide range of Technology Roadmaps to define future technology and R&D needs to meet environmental and socio-economic goals. His work at Ricardo has included many initiatives to create new innovative technologies and research collaborations with government, academia and industrial partners.
Neville Jackson was awarded a Doctor of Science degree from City University London in 2012 and has been a visiting Professor at the University of Brighton since 2007. He serves as Chair of the Advisory Board for the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre, Deputy chair for the UK Auto Council Technology Group, Vice Chair of the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) and a member of the Advisory Board for the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). He is also a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of SAE International.
Senior Vice President
Robert Bosch LLC
Director, North American Powertrain
Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center Inc.
John Juriga, Director of Powertrain North America, oversees North American:
Production powertrain tuning focusing on Emissions, Driveability and Fuel Economy
Concept hardware design and development emphasis on Fuel Economy development
Engine and Transmission Validation and vehicle Certification support
Engineering and Quality support for North American Manufacturing
Powertrain operations include conventional Powertrains as well as Eco friendly vehicles such as HEV/PHEV/EVs and Fuel Cell electric vehicles.
John, began his professional career at General Motors Chevrolet Engineering in 1983 after graduating from the University of Michigan with a BSME focusing on Internal combustion engine design. He spent the first 9 years at GM in the engine development laboratories and design teams. In 1992 he became the V8 passenger car design and development manager. Over the next 6 years he would hold several positions focusing on the Powertrain development and integration into the vehicle. In 1999 he was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief Engineer for the Passenger Car V8 engines at General Motors. In 2003 Mr. Juriga joined the Hyundai Motor Group as Sr. Manager for Engine Development at the Hyundai/Kia America technical center in Ann Arbor Michigan. In 2006 he was promoted to Director of Powertrain at Hyundai/Kia. He oversees the Powertrain development activities in North America including the Ann Arbor Powertrain Laboratory, Engineering support for American manufacturing plants in Alabama and Georgia. He is also responsible for Powertrain Development in the California Labs. California is the center for the Powertrain North American “Eco” vehicle development. This development includes tuning and validation for all of the Hyundai / Kia HEVs, PHEVs, EVs and FCEVs.
Vice President and Head – Global Propulsion System Quality
FCA US LLC
Senior Manager, Powertrain Performance Planning and Market Insights, Nissan Technical Center North America
Nissan North America
Vice President, Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronics
Jupiter Consulting LLC
Doug Patton currently runs his own consulting company Jupiter Consulting LLC. In 2018 he was Sr Technical Advisor at DENSO and prior to that he was Executive VP Engineering and NA CTO at DENSO, where he directed product development and research activity in North America. He was President of the Engineering Society of Detroit 2016-2018, President of the DENSO Foundation (2007-2018) and the 2017 President of SAE International. He has 30 plus years of automotive experience including sales and marketing; engineering management including both product development, R&D; and innovation road mapping. The product ranges include thermal, Powertrain, electrical (including power electronics, motors and battery management for HEV, PHEV and BEV), electronic, hybrid and autonomous drive related products (including sensing systems, HMI and intergration I to the vehicle).
Patton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1977 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1984, both from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Senior Vice President, Research and Development and 2019 NAIPC Chairperson
Nissan Technical Center North America
Chris Reed is senior vice president, Research and Development, Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA), a position to which he was appointed in April 2019. In this role he is responsible for all vehicle engineering and development operations in North America.
Previously, Reed was vice president, Platform and Technology Engineering, where he was responsible for Powertrain, Electrical, and Audio/IT engineering groups. He also served as the Overseas Chief Vehicle Engineer (OCVE) for Nissan LEAF, Murano and Pathfinder as well as the INFINITI QX60, at NTCNA.
Reed joined Nissan North America in 1988 as an entry-level engineer in the body design group. From 2011 to 2013, he worked in safety and then exterior/accessories while being OCVE of trucks. He also spent more than two years in Japan to help lead development on an all-new Nissan Murano. From 1999 to 2007, Reed was self-employed as a home builder and ran a small automotive parts supplier.
Reed holds a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech. He is based at NTCNA in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Director of Engineering, Corvid Technologies LLC
Executive Program Manager
Toyota Motor North America Inc.
Chief Operating Officer, Greenstreet EV, Inc.
Chief Scientist, Warnecke Mobility
Senior Vice President, Powertrain
Continental North America
Kregg Wiggins is Senior Vice President of Continental’s Powertrain Division and is responsible for overseeing the three business units in North America: Engine & Drivetrain Systems, Powertrain Components, and Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Wiggins is located in Auburn Hills, Mich., where the team focuses on aligning innovative and efficient system solutions that impact every aspect of a vehicle’s drivetrain.
Previously, Wiggins held a variety of assignments including Global Key Account representative for worldwide sales for the General Motors account and Vice President of Powertrain – North America, responsible for all powertrain activities, including sensors, electronic controls, drivetrain and transmission.
Wiggins began his career with Siemens in 1985 and has held various positions with the company including a long-term foreign delegation at the company’s headquarters in Regensburg, Germany, as the Powertrain division’s program manager. He also held engineering and management positions related to engine, advanced technology, powertrain and vehicle electronic systems products.
Wiggins earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He is a member of the North American International Powertrain Conference (NAIPC) leadership team, and a visiting committee member for the University of Michigan – Dearborn College of Engineering and Computer Science.