Established in 1999 and previously named WEC/BREED Award for Women's Leadership, the J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders is designed to recognize a woman active in the mobility industry who has achieved the best balance of life by outstanding performance or significant contributions in two or more of the following areas:
This award was established by the SAE Women Engineers Committee to recognize the role of women in the mobility industry by the contributions they make both professionally and personally. The recipient shall be selected based primarily on her excellence in creatively dealing with the challenges professional women are faced with in the mobility industry.
The award consists of an engraved award, a $2000 honorarium and is presented at the Awards Ceremony at a major SAE conference.
Denise M. Rizzo, Ph.D., Research and Mechanical Engineer, Powertrain Modeling and Simulation, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), was presented with the 2017 J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders at WCX17: SAE World Congress Experience in Detroit in April.
This award, which recognizes a woman active in the mobility industry who has achieved the best balance of life by demonstrating outstanding performance, leadership, and innovation, was established by the SAE Women Engineers Committee to recognize the role of women in the mobility industry by the contributions they make both professionally and personally.
"There are a lot of great women working in the industry, so to be recognized is a huge honor," said Rizzo, who specializes in modeling, simulation, and control of propulsion systems of ground vehicles. "I feel lucky to win something while getting to do what I love."
She has been active with the SAE Dynamical Modeling and Simulation Standards and Powertrain Controls and Calibration committees. She has also served as Session Organizer and/or Chair for sessions at the SAE World Congress from 2013 through 2016. In 2015, she developed a new session title "Modeling and Simulation of Military Ground Vehicles."
"I've been going to the SAE World Congress since I was an undergraduate student," Rizzo said. "It has allowed me to branch out and meet people from all over the world who are working on important challenges. Participating in the modeling and simulation sessions has expanded my technical knowledge and given me a more rounded picture of modeling and simulation."
Rizzo praised the support she has received from the U.S. Army for her research ideas. Prior to joining TARDEC in 2008, she was a research and development engineer in the Powertrain Group at Chrysler LLC. She noted how the focus of her research shifted when she moved from a position in industry to one in the military.
"You're completely flipped from focusing on regulations, such as emission regulations, to focusing on survivability—how saving fuel helps save lives. Using less fuel means using fewer tanks. Fewer tanks equals increased safety."
Right now, her research is focusing on the use of energy from a very high view. "Rather than focusing on a vehicle, we're looking at energy use by convoys and platoons, as well as autonomous vehicle systems," she explains. "I'm looking at energy use from the battlefield perspective – using energy to best benefit the soldiers. It's very exciting."