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SAE to Honor 2023 Contributor Class at 5th Annual Contributor of the Year Celebration

Posted: October 17, 2023

SAE International is saying “thank you” to more than 30 hard working volunteers at its fifth annual Contributor of the Year celebration.

Every year, SAE employees nominate highly engaged contributors for this high honor, recognizing their service to the organization. The 2023 celebration will take place November 12-15, 2023, in San Diego, California.

For its fifth go-around, the event will expand to recognize top contributors in multiple areas from its Contributor Class. Those categories include Student Leadership, Leadership Contributions, STEM Work, Outstanding Technical Contributions, Innovative Content Development, and Section Management.

“We know that we are only able to accomplish as much as we do thanks to the dedicated service of our contributors, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in mobility through their hard work,” said Chris Ciuca, Vice President of Programs at SAE International. “We look forward to this recognition every year to share SAE’s gratitude with the contributor class.”

Congratulations to the 2023 Top Contributors. Get to know the members of the class by category:

Student Leadership

Alexander Rath – General Motors

Alex's active participation and commitment to the AutoDrive Challenge have played an integral role in the program's overarching success. Having previously competed in the challenge himself, his sustained involvement and determination to contribute to this initiative serve as a source of inspiration for both students and volunteers. His example encourages individuals to shift their focus beyond their personal interests and consider how they can support the upcoming generation of young professionals in achieving excellence within the mobility industry. In summary, Alex's contributions to the AutoDrive Challenge have been instrumental in driving the program's success.


Leadership Contributions

Nat Beuse – Aurora Innovation

In 2022, Nat assumed the role of general chair at the SAE Government/Industry Meeting. Additionally, he played a key role in organizing a panel discussion on "The U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization," which included participants from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the White House. Furthermore, Nat contributed to the efforts of the special sessions committee by assisting in the development of a panel of industry executives, focusing on the supply chain's critical importance, particularly in light of challenges involving items like semiconductor chips and rare earth materials.

Zach Lipple – BorgWarner

Zach played a key role in the 2022 Clean Snow Competition as not only a scorekeeper but also serving as the competitions only second ever Rules Chair. Under his leadership, the rules committee was able to publish the 2024 year rules prior to the 2023 on-site competition.

Daryl Trate – Stellantis (Retired)

In 2022, Daryl assumed the role of Chair for the SAE Glazing Materials Standards Committee. During his tenure, the committee achieved significant milestones, including the publication of crucial documents like the revised SAE J3097 / ANSI Z26.1, a pivotal industry resource. Daryl's leadership has fostered a culture of productivity within the committee, ensuring that its documents remain up-to-date and relevant. Daryl has demonstrated forward-thinking by actively promoting the engagement of other members in document development and laying the groundwork for future leadership succession planning, thereby securing the committee's long-term health and effectiveness.

AutoDrive Challenge II Group Nomination
Jessica Swan –  General Motors and Angela Xydis  – General Motors

Within the context of the AutoDrive Challenge II, the Concept Design segment of the competition stands as the cornerstone of the static events. Under the exemplary leadership of Angela Xydis and Jessica Swan, this is the arena where student creativity and remarkable progress shine brightest and receive the recognition they deserve. The influence of their roles as event captains in this domain extends significantly, yielding profoundly positive effects for the entire mobility industry.

Fellows Committee Group Nomination
Myra Blanco – Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Daimler Truck North America, and Kelly Schmitz – Cummins, Inc.

Myra and Kelly left a lasting mark on the SAE fellows in 2022. Collaborating under Kelly's guidance, they directed their efforts towards advancing diversity, which resulted in a groundbreaking achievement for SAE: 36% of the elected Fellows in 2022 were female, marking a historic milestone. Additionally, they conducted a thorough examination of the nomination process, pinpointing areas in need of enhancement. This meticulous review and update of all existing materials ultimately led to the creation of a more efficient nomination form and a comprehensive FAQ for nominators.



James Gluys – Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies

Jim has consistently devoted his time and energy to the SAE Supermileage program over several years. Even after being informed of the program's impending discontinuation, he remained steadfast in his commitment and actively contributed to the organization of SAE Supermileage 2022. Jim consistently maintains a positive attitude and unwavering determination to provide student teams with an exceptional experience. His exceptional organizational skills have made him a valuable collaborator for the CDS Staff.

Jason Keith – Robert Bosch LLC

Jason Keith's enthusiasm for the collaboration between AWIM and Bosch, as well as his dedication to delivering top-tier STEM education and fostering workforce development skills among students, becomes apparent from the outset of any discussion with him. He eagerly extends his support to reach additional schools and students, and he enthusiastically imparts the wealth of knowledge he has accumulated through years of witnessing success stories. Jason possesses a deep appreciation for the significance of introducing young learners to captivating STEM activities, thereby igniting their passion for a future in STEM-related fields.

Adam Long—Schaeffler

Adam has been an invaluable volunteer for the Formula SAE Electric competition, initially serving as a document reviewer and subsequently taking on a more substantial role in 2022 by volunteering in the electrical technical inspection division. His willingness to shoulder additional responsibilities freed up the EV Tech Lead to focus on coordinating new volunteers and other essential competition logistics. Adam's demonstrated competence and commitment indicate his potential to assume more prominent leadership roles in the future.

Dr. Lindsey Nicols – University of Wyoming

Drawing upon her wealth of experience as a seasoned school counselor, Lindsey recognized a distinct opportunity to harness the social-emotional learning components within the AWIM curriculum to foster active and engaging hands-on learning experiences for students. Following the initial conversation, she promptly identified avenues to introduce AWIM to her fellow colleagues and associates within her university and Wyoming School Counselors Association networks, including the innovative Mobile Maker Units. Her unwavering dedication to seamlessly integrate AWIM into the resources and tools accessible to school counselors across the state yielded remarkably swift and successful implementations, all within a span of fewer than three months.

Baja SAE Arizona 2022 Organizers Group Nomination
Tony Rivera  – Moveras; Aaron Saint-Amour  –  Sargent Aerospace and Defense; and Josh Spivey  – Kinetik Systems

The members of this team collaborated diligently to orchestrate the inaugural Fall Baja SAE Event. Their collective efforts translated into nearly 100 hours of personal commitment, which encompassed evening organizer meetings, volunteer recruitment, vendor coordination, and collaboration with CAT proving grounds for course construction. Their unwavering dedication and hard work have been pivotal in ensuring that SAE is able to consistently provide the Fall Baja event to its participants.

Formula SAE EV Workshop Group Nomination
Daniel Bocci  – John Deere; Paul Messier  –  BAE Systems, Inc.; Jonathan Peiffer  –  John Deere, C&F Division; Matt Petty  –  Space X; Steve Sayovitz  –  Energy Harbor; and Christian “Skitter” Yeager  –  Leap Racing

When SAE International made the decision to launch its inaugural Annual Formula SAE EV Workshop, a dedicated team of volunteers took on the responsibility to guarantee its triumph. This committed group played a pivotal role in conducting extensive research, formulating, and producing specialized presentations tailored to the Formula SAE Electric competitors. Their primary objective was to offer valuable insights into the design of a team vehicle for electrification and ensuring its safe operation. They invested considerable hours in collecting data and crafting PowerPoint presentations. Furthermore, several of these invaluable volunteers attended the EV Workshop to deliver these presentations and engage in networking opportunities with the participating students.

AWIM Wyoming Group Nomination
Curtis Biggs, University of Wyoming and Colby Clinton Gull, University of Wyoming

Following extensive efforts to enhance the presence of AWIM (A World In Motion) in Wyoming, Curtis and Colby have successfully established connections between the organization and prominent STEM and education figures. This achievement has paved the way for the development of a thriving and sustainable statewide AWIM network, encompassing various grade levels, subject areas, and counties. Together, these individuals have played a pivotal role in nurturing a network of AWIM communities across Wyoming, a state renowned for its discerning approach to educational programs adopted in schools and classrooms.


Outstanding Technical Contributions

Nicholas Hills – Motional

Nick is an incredible addition to the Structural Equivalency group of Formula SAE. His contributions to the program have been indispensable. By writing his own code, he has created tools to help not only document reviewers but students participating in the program. He has saved thousands of hours for students and volunteers alone. His tools help all document reviews to be conducted to the latest and highest standards in a timely manner. Real time improvements can now be implemented across all student teams and reviewers.

Richard Scholer – Stellantis

Richard is an actively engaged leader, dedicating considerable effort to ensure the readiness of our documents for publication. Beyond delivering high-quality work to align our materials with global standards development organizations, he is also undertaking a substantial workload. Currently, he serves as the sponsor for 18 documents within the Hybrid-EV committee, with many slated for publication later this year.


Innovative Content Development

Bob Galyen – Galyen Energy

SAE and Fullsight's commitment to sustainability is rooted in their mission to guide the transportation industry toward a future with net-zero emissions. Bob's significant involvement in SAE's technical committees, particularly in the field of batteries, has been instrumental in aiding SAE's support for this monumental energy transition. This transition marks the most substantial change in modern transportation's history. Nevertheless, Bob's impact on SAE and the mobility sector extends even further. He has harnessed his extensive and worldwide network of contacts to introduce SAE to the dynamic and rapidly expanding realm of electric vehicle batteries and their life cycle management.

Rob Merrion – Allison Transmission

Rob made some significant suggestions/changes as part of the 2022 COMVEC program. He served as the member leader on the COMVEC Executive Council for Allison Transmission as the executive host company for the 2022 event. His contributions and ideas were well received by the leadership team and the attendees which was reflected in an overall higher NPS score for COMVEC.

Bill Shelmon – Toyota North America R&D

Bill's active involvement in SAE activities has significantly influenced our organization by enhancing the visibility of SAE and the Detroit Section. He has contributed ideas and facilitated introductions for technical meetings that are highly relevant to the ever-evolving mobility industry. Thanks to Bill's introductions to various companies and insights into industry trends, the Section successfully organized five technical meetings in 2022. Bill's unwavering dedication and pleasant demeanor make him a delight to collaborate with, and he is always eager to lend his support to further SAE's and the Section's objectives in any way possible.


Section Management

Alba Colon – Hendrick Motorsports

Alba's journey with SAE has been remarkable. She's been an active member and a passionate leader, notably as the Carolina Section Chair. Her dedication and contributions have been instrumental in advancing our mission. Alba's commitment to knowledge sharing and professional growth is outstanding. She actively participated in WCX Chat with Keynote sessions, enriching our events and inspiring her peers. Her passion for motorsports and engineering shines through her involvement with the University of Puerto Rico's FSAE team and Formula IC through Hendricks Motor Sports.

Rebecca Vollmann – ABB

Rebecca's substantial contributions to SAE, as Vice-Chair and Treasurer of the Florida Section, her active participation in the SAE Mentor Program, and her dedication to the Industrial Lecture Series, highlight her commitment as a mentor to both students and professionals. Her endeavors perfectly align with SAE's mission to advance the mobility industry and foster the development of future engineers.

Southern California Section Support Group Nomination.
Ian Lehn – BOOSTane, Octane Solutions, and Luis Morales – SEMA

Ian and Luis have used their knowledge of SAE, and their experience with SEMA, to build mutually beneficial partnerships to enhance both organizations. They recruited industry support for the business presentation of the Baja SAE competition making it more relevant to both the students and industry. The crowning achievement in 2022 was a combined SAE/SEMA student showcase and career fair. This was the largest ever event in SAE SoCal section history dating back at least 40 years. The success has led to the expansion of the event to the Detroit section for 2023.