Meet Sri Srinath: Get to Know SAE’s New President and his Plans for SAE
Posted: February 28, 2022
When Sri Srinath walks into a room, there’s a buzzy energy that follows. Srinath knows how to lead a conversation that gets people talking, but even more so, makes them want to lean in and listen to what he has to say.
He’s bringing that energy to SAE as President of the Board of Directors, with a vision to unite industry, with SAE at the helm as mobility professionals tackle new technologies and challenges.
Srinath comes to the role after 34 years of involvement with SAE, including a previous stint on the Board of Directors from 2014-2016. He’s had an expansive career in mobility, including more than 28 years at Caterpillar, Inc that culminated in an executive role.
As Srinath assumes his role as SAE International President for 2022, we’re taking a moment to get to know the man behind the title.
Here are five things you need to know about Srinath and his plans for SAE in 2022.
- His philosophy is ‘Continued Improvement Always Beats Postponed Perfection’
Srinath has seen his fair share of best laid plans gone awry through second guessing, and he wants to make sure that SAE is constantly moving forward instead of getting caught up in abstract ideals.
“Sometimes we aim for perfection, and we don’t make any progress,” Srinath said when describing a collaborative approach to work. “Continued improvement always beats postponed perfection. So, let’s make progress. Let’s get a little better each day.”
- He’s ready to take SAE’s thought leadership to the next level.
Since he first got involved with SAE in 1988, Srinath has seen the organization go through many phases, and witnessed first-hand the value that the organization has continuously brought to the mobility profession. The natural progression, he notes, is to elevate SAE’s mission.
“SAE is not broken. SAE is probably the benchmark,” Srinath said. “To me, when I came in the board as the President, I said, ‘How do we help in this journey from good to great?’”
- He’s continuing to focus on SAE’s Elite 10, and helping SAE propel the conversation forward around new technologies with new partners.
For the 2020s, SAE declared its organizational intentions to focus on a list of technologies propelling industry into the future known as the Elite 10, including electrification, artificial intelligence, and automation, among others. Those technologies will continue to serve as the map for the road ahead, and Srinath is intent on bringing experts in those areas into the fold.
“A lot of those technologies are [being developed] in new companies. How many of those people can we get to come in and help support our work?” Srinath said. “That’s one area where I would like the board to support SAE quite a bit.”
- He wants to encourage structural collaboration across sectors of mobility.
For a long time, the different sectors of mobility have worked separately from each other, each focused on the type of vehicle they serve. But as new technologies develop with application in every sector, there’s more crossover than ever before, and Srinath is ready for SAE to be the uniting force that brings these groups together through standardization.
“If you go back many years, maybe the aerospace, commercial vehicle and automobile sectors were kind of doing their own thing, but I think that’s changed,” Srinath said. “The three sectors’ challenge is that innovations are amazingly converging together. So, it makes sense to say, ‘Should we be looking across sectors for standards?’”
- He plans to enhance SAE’s mentoring capabilities to provide mentors at every stage of development from high school to mid-career—including cross-company mentorship throughout the mobility industry.
SAE is rich in mobility know-how, with many expert members and contributors across the industry lending their voices to the development of SAE products and standards. While mentoring has always been a part of SAE’s mission to advance mobility, Srinath’s plan for the future will provide more ways to benefit from being involved with SAE.
“In today’s world, if you can talk to young people about how they can serve a greater purpose, that works better,” Srinath said. “And I think this does great things for SAE’s brand, too. Because now they are not thinking of us as a engineer organization, training organization, training organization—they’re thinking of us as an organization that helps make the world a better place.”