Established in 1978, this award annually recognizes an SAE member whose innovative design is described in an SAE paper or whose lifetime of accomplishment is judged to be a significant achievement in automotive engineering. Judgment is based upon the value of the work as an original innovative contribution, not upon the application of some development or invention already known. The award honors the memory of Edward N. Cole, former President and Chief Operating Officer of General Motors Corp., and the inspiration he provided to others in the engineering profession by his continuing search and drive for product innovation. The award is made possible through a fund originally established by contributions from General Motors Corp., SAE members, and other employees and retirees who were associated with Cole.
No one person shall win the award twice within any period of five consecutive years.
The award consists of a framed certificate a $5000 honorarium and an commemorative gift. It is presented during an appropriate SAE international meeting.