Girish Parvate-Patil (right) accepts the Forest R. McFarland Award from SAE Commercial Vehicle Vice President Landon Sproull at COMVEC 2017.

Member profile: Girish Parvate-Patil of Caterpillar

Girish Parvate-Patil, works for Caterpillar Inc. as an Engineering Team Leader on marine propulsion systems. He is accountable for overall leadership and direction on engineering-related activities of marine products with respect to supply chain, design, documentation, time, and cost. He has developed emissions -and performance strategies for Tier 4 off-highway engines. For his leadership in Tier 4 engine development, SAE International and the Association of Equipment of Manufacturers awarded him the Outstanding Young Engineer Award in 2009.

Girish completed his MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. He received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Concordia University in 2005.

What is the most interesting activity that you are engaged in at the moment?

Currently, I am working on a few very interesting projects at Caterpillar. Developing Corporate Strategy for marine propulsion system and rationalizing supply chain for the pleasure craft boat transmission are new to my workload. I am very passionate about my current workload, as it’s challenging and is a great learning experience.

What past activity, accomplishment, or memory gives you the most satisfaction?

Developing diesel engines in accordance with Tier 4 EPA emissions regulations was one of the greatest challenges for Caterpillar in recent times. I was one of the key contributors to the engine performance development and testing team in Peoria, IL. Aside from the professional success I achieved through developing engines, it is very satisfying to know that my work on developing low-emission engines was making a positive impact on the environment.

Also, I finished my MBA while working full time. I am thankful to my leadership at Caterpillar for allowing me to take time off for studies. Going to MIT for my MBA was one wise decision I have made. At MIT, I not only learned new business tools and techniques, but also made lifelong, good friends and met world-renowned professors who challenged my mental acumen to make me better business leader.

For how long, and in what ways, have you been involved with SAE?

I have been a member of SAE for the past 14 years and am actively involved in COMVEC for the past nine years. During this time at COMVEC, I continue to be involved in the following capacities:
  • Vice Chair, Total Vehicle Integration Committee, 2018
  • Committee Chair, Total Vehicle Committee, 2015
  • Session Chair, technical session on “Cost, Quality, Safety,” 2014
  • Vice Chair, Total Vehicle Committee, 2014
  • Founder & Session Chair, technical session on “Cost management strategies,” 2013
  • Session Chair, technical session on “Advanced Transmission,” 2010-12

In what way has SAE membership been most beneficial to you?

I firmly believe that demonstration of my leadership at COMVEC helped me to get into the MBA program. At SAE, I got many chances to show my leadership skills through the volunteer activities, which helped me hone my leadership skills. Also attending COMVEC for the past 10 years helped me establish strong networking in the industry. Through that networking, I got many opportunities to learn valuable lessons from the industry leaders.

Has any single SAE member been particularly helpful or inspirational to you?

It is very difficult for me to single out one SAE member, but Caterpillar Vice President (retired) Mark Pflederer and John Deere Vice President (retired) Bharat Vedak were very helpful and inspirational to me. They played a huge role in my success in my early days at SAE.

Any advice for SAE members?

Join SAE; the professional and personal benefits are unlimited. Sometimes, we do not get as many chances to show our leadership skills at the company we work for. SAE is an open platform where hard work and leadership skills are appreciated, and you will get noticed by the top-notch industry leaders. Attending SAE conferences would not only give you technical know-how through different sessions, but also give you the platform to make strong networking in the industry.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

There are many memorable experiences with SAE, but this one stands out. At the 2013 SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress, I came up with an idea for a session on cost-management strategies. We got a great response to the topic, as many technical papers were submitted by authors and presenters. The session turned out to be a great success. Then-Vice President at Jon Deere and SAE Vice President of Commercial Vehicles Bharat Vedak took note of it. During the Awards Luncheon the next day, Vedak gave the opening speech. I was sitting at the Caterpillar-assigned table with my friends and colleagues, and all of sudden I heard my name. He talked about me and my efforts toward making the sessions successful. He said I am the future of SAE. I had absolutely no I idea how to react to his generous comments. I was thinking, how can a John Deere executive applaud a Caterpillar engineer in front of hundreds of people. But on that day, I learned that SAE is not the platform to compete with your rivals; it is a platform where talent is appreciated irrespective of who you are or where you work.

Also, I recall an incident that was funny as well as emotional the same time. In 2003 and 2004, I presented two papers at SAE’s Small Engine Technology Conference as a student. When I reached the conference site, I realized that my conference papers were selected to be published in the SAE Journal of Engines. I was absolutely overjoyed because, for me, getting two journal papers back-to-back during my master’s studies was a big achievement. I told my father how important it was for me to have two SAE journal papers as part of my MS degree. I bragged about myself and mentioned the importance of those SAE papers to my father so much that he went ahead and persuaded local newspaper company in my hometown in India to publish the news about my technical paper publication in the daily newspaper. It’s been more than 13 years for that news, now I find my dad’s act funny. But the gravity of my SAE papers remains the same, and the impact of those journal papers on my education and professional career has been enormous.

This article originally appeared in the SAE Update member publication.

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