Manager of Global Variable Suspension in Chassis Engineering
Ford Motor Company
Alison Bazil has been with Ford Motor Company for 30 years. In her current role as Manager of Global Variable Suspension in Chassis Engineering, Alison is responsible for the design and development of all tuned suspension components and system for all of Ford’s global car and truck programs. In addition to her work in Chassis Engineering, she is also a lead advisor for Ford’s corporate STEAM program, working with Ford’s STEAM Manager to execute the company’s strategy to reinforce the STEAM pipeline. Alison is the leader of the Ford FIRST Board and is an active volunteer with SAE’s A World In Motion® program.
Alison has spent over 20 years in chassis engineering. In addition to suspension, she has worked in brakes, steering and wheels and tires. She also had roles in testing, program management, learning and development, recruiting, vehicle engineering and the business office.
As an advocate for women throughout her career, she is a recruiter for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a leader of the Women in Product Development employee resource group. She is a lifetime member of SWE, is active in the SWE-Detroit professional section and served as a national officer.
She earned her BSME and an MSME from the University of Michigan.
Director, Technology and Feature Strategy & Planning
Enterprise and Product Line Management
Ford Motor Company
Donna has been with Ford Motor Company for more than 25 years. She is currently Ford’s Technology and Features, Strategy and Planning Director. In this role, Donna is responsible for establishing and getting alignment for Ford’s technology and features strategy, globally.
Prior to this role, Donna served in leadership roles including chief of staff to Ford’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Ken Washington, and the director for the Research and Advanced Engineering Business Office, director of Research Operations at Ford’s Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto, California, and Global Product Development Quality Manager for Electrical at Ford.
Donna’s career at Ford is grounded in the Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering Organization within Product Development, where she has held various technical and leadership roles in body module electronics design, electrical systems design and analysis, purchasing, quality as the 6-Sigma Project Champion for Electrical systems, and the Electrical Program Module Team leader launching key Ford vehicles and technologies. Donna has always been attracted to first-to-Ford or industry programs and technologies. She led the team in launching the first-to-industry award winning Sync in-vehicle infotainment system and the first to industry ambient lighting on the 2008 Ford Focus.
Donna was selected the 2018 Women of Color in STEM, Technologist of the Year by the Career Communications Group award selection committee for her experience, advocacy, and mentoring in STEM.
She is enrolled in the Global Executive Track Ph.D. Program at Wayne State University, where she is researching the intersection of innovation and quality.
Prūv Mobility Ecosystem
Frederick (Fred) Cartwright, Jr., spent 32 years as an executive at General Motors, five years as Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), and is now the President of Prūv Mobility Ecosystem. Prūv is creating connected and autonomous technology testing facilities in Indiana (USA). Prūv Mobility, based in Columbus, Ind., formed an alliance late last year with the Purdue Research Foundation to develop a state-of-the-art research facility and a smart city proving grounds for CAVs and related technologies. The facility will be adjacent to Purdue University’s main campus in West Lafayette, Ind. Prūv is also working on other alliances that include the aviation, construction and agriculture industries.
Mr. Cartwright is originally from Indiana, having graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also holds an MBA from Butler University in Indianapolis. He was elected to the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees in 2014. He has supported numerous activities to encourage and educate our youth about science, technology, engineering and math.
Operational Excellence Champion
MARK A. JOHNSON, P.E. is currently the Operational Excellence Champion for General Motors Global Product Integrity organization, where he leads the deployment of structured problem-solving tools, methods and teams to improve product development operations and results.
Johnson’s involvement with the SAE Foundation has been both broad and deep, setting fundraising records in support of SAE’s award-winning science, technology, engineering and math education programs through a deep economic crisis. Johnson is a past-chair of the Board of Trustees of the SAE Foundation. Over his years of SAE membership, Johnson has also served as a member of SAE’s Board of Directors as well as the Finance Committee, Bylaws Committee, Education Board, Sections Board, and Motor Vehicle Council. He is also a past-chair of the Mid-Michigan SAE Section. In 2015, Johnson received SAE Foundation’s Donald W. Ableson Award for Visionary Leadership. He serves as the key executive for GM’s SAE International activities.
Johnson earned his MBA degree (cum laude) from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University).
Johnson is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.
T & U Engineering
Dave Knight is currently the Global Director, Turf & Utility Platform Engineering for John Deere. He has been in this position since 2011 and is responsible for Worldwide
product development engineering activities for utility vehicles, riding lawn equipment, commercial mowing, golf, walk behind mowers and autonomous mowing. Dave began his career at John Deere in 1998 as Product Development Manager where he led engineering and portfolio strategy for Compact Utility tractors. He was assigned additional responsibility for Global Loader Engineering in 2010. His career started at Mack Trucks as a test engineer with subsequent assignments in reliability and design engineering. Dave then moved to Ford New Holland (now CNH) and worked in a variety of positions in engineering, marketing, and product development. Product lines included compact utility tractors, large row crop and 4WD tractors, and combine harvesters. Dave holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo (1983), became a Licensed Professional Engineer (1991), and recently completed The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth Global Leadership 2030 program (2013).
Dave is the Deere Functional Director for the relationship with Georgia Tech and has been a board member for Junior Achievement. He has been a member of SAE since 1983 and was elected to the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees in 2014. He has supported numerous activities to encourage and educate our youth about STEM.
Last Consulting Group LLC
Robert J. Last is a Principal Consultant with the Last Consulting Group LLC, a management consulting firm that provides advisory services customized to address strategy, communications, marketing and corporate culture needs, primarily to SMB clients. LCG LLC provides actionable solutions that can be quickly implemented to improve business performance with affordable fee structures. Prior to forming LGC, Mr. Last was the Vice President of Communications, Marketing, & Compliance at FEV North America, Inc. with responsibility for FEV’s North American activities in the functional areas of marketing and PR, information technology, and quality. Over nearly 30-years at FEV, Bob held positions in nearly every functional area of FEV’s organization, including both engineering and overhead functions, and was a significant contributor to the company’s growth from 3 employees in 1985 nearly 400 when he left the company.
Bob began his career as a project engineer, developing new alternative fuels concepts for methanol, ethanol, and biofuels and, over his career, received varied assignments, including leading management positions in operations, information technology, business development, marketing, communications, and human resources. Mr. Last holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University (1985) and completed his MBA in Global Management in 2004. Bob served for over 5 years in the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam era veteran.
Mr. Last is a long-standing member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and volunteers his time to promote STEM education. Bob was elected to the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees in 2014.
Independent Consultant and
Global Account Manager
AVL North America
Jim Lewis has been an independent consultant and Global Account Manager for AVL North America since 2016. Jim retired from General Motors as Executive Director, Engine Hardware Engineering in 2014 after a 38-year career there. He began his GM career in manufacturing, holding various positions of leadership in operations at both engine and transmission plants. He then moved to Manufacturing Engineering, where he was responsible for the design and build of new engine and transmission plants for GM globally. He was part of the team that migrated powertrain manufacturing plants from dedicated facilities to lean agile flex CNC operations. Following those assignments Jim moved to Product Engineering where he was responsible for global engine hardware engineering for General Motors. Jim led a global team of engineers doing the advanced, execution, and current product support of all engine designs for GM worldwide, gas and diesel.
Jim graduated with a bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University (then GMI), a master’s Degree in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Many people and organizations supported Jim early on in his STEM education, and he strives to continue this tradition and help other young people begin their STEM journey.
Vice President of Electrification, Controls, Software & Electronics
Dan Nicholson was appointed General Motors Vice President Global Propulsion Systems in December 2014 and became Vice President of Electrification, Controls, Software & Electronics in 2019. Prior to that, Dan was the Executive Director for Global Powertrain Embedded Controls at GM. In that role Dan ran the day-to-day operations of the global engineering team responsible for all powertrain controllers and software as well all powertrain calibration.
Nicholson began his career with General Motors as a co-op student at Buick Motor Division in 1982. He has an extensive background in Product Engineering and subsequently progressed through a series of leadership positions including engineering group manager, director of controller integration, director of engine calibration, chief engineer for V8 engines, managing director of GM Powertrain-Germany GmbH where he led all powertrain operations for the country unit, and Vice President of Global Quality.
Nicholson earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, and a master of business administration degree from Stanford University.
Nicholson is also the President of FISITA, and a director of the Engineering Society of Detroit.
Senior Technical Advisor
DENSO International America, Inc.
Doug Patton is Senior Technical advisor at DENSO International America, Inc. (DIAM), and senior director of DENSO Corp. Located at DENSO’s North American headquarters in Southfield, Michigan, he provides input and support on all aspects of R&D in North America. In his previous position as Executive Vice President Engineering and CTO he oversaw all North American product engineering and development, campus facilities and operations including all testing and technical services, and Engineering Administration. He was responsible for climate control, engine components, and systems and components, engine electrical, safety products, cluster, in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI) and body electronics and small motor engineering.
Patton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1977 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1984, both from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
He serves as president of the DENSO Foundation Board, is on the Board of Directors for the Engineering Society of Detroit (currently past president), and is also a member of the SAE, where he was the 2017 president. He is also an Engineering Society of Detroit Fellow.
Patton is a member of the Detroit Economic Club, Lawrence Technological University’s College of Engineering Advisory Board, the Engineering Advisory Council of Kettering University and the Executive Leadership Team of the North American International Powertrain Conference.
VP, NA Sales and Marketing, Leggett & Platt Automotive Group
Kousay Said currently serves as the President and CEO of GreenMantra Technologies, a cleantech specialty chemical manufacturer. Prior to being named to this post, Kousay served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Sirrus, Inc., and as the Chief Executive Officer of ZeroBase Energy, LLC, both startups with a business model focusing on resource efficiency and advanced manufacturing.
During his 20-year career at The Dow Chemical Company, Kousay held several key positions including Managing Director of Dow Solar Solutions, VP of global Business Development at Dow Building Solutions, and Commercial VP NA at Dow Automotive Systems. Kousay studied mechanical engineering and holds an MBA from Oakland University. He was elected to the Foundation Board of Trustees in February 2016.
Founder and President
Jeff Varick is founder and president of Brandmotion, LLC, a developer of highly integrated vehicle retrofit safety solutions for distribution through the automotive aftermarket. Brandmotion distributes emerging OEM-based technology and OEM-quality vehicle accessory solutions through a North American network of over 2,500 distributors, restylers, vehicle fleets and 12-volt installers.
Brandmotion has been a leader in developing Connected Vehicle solutions for the aftermarket, to help bring advanced vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to a greater number of cars and trucks on the roads through aftermarket channels of distribution. The company is an inaugural member of the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MCity), and is serving the Tampa CV Pilot as Vehicle Integrator, responsible for all sourcing, integration, installation and verification of the Tampa CV Pilot vehicles.
Brandmotion was named Manufacturer of the Year in 2015 by the SEMA PRO Council, the aftermarket association. In 2016, Jeff was honored by the same group within SEMA as Person of the Year for his leadership in taking the aftermarket into the Connected Vehicle age.
Prior to forming Brandmotion, Jeff held a wide variety of product development, business development and marketing strategy leadership roles within the global automotive industry, including Director of New Product Strategy for Johnson Controls, new business development manager for GM International Operations in Zurich, Switzerland, and design engineer at GMs Design Studios in Warren Michigan.
Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
CEO and Co-founder
Tim Wales is a dynamic entrepreneur, tech visionary and an exemplary leader who has built multiple successful companies from the ground-up. He co-founded his first company, Fleetronix, in 2009, where he was responsible for the development roadmap of the primary products and for selling the company’s revolutionary enterprise fleet management software to commercial clients. In 2016, he helped launch Kadima.Ventures, a sophisticated collaborative ecosystem that leverages the latest technological advances to drive the success of early-stage tech and software companies. Tim’s strength lies in his ability to understand the needs of emerging companies and deliver strategic technology-based solutions. As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Tim applies his tireless work ethic and determination to succeed to the creation of new ventures, proprietary software solutions, and enterprise applications that allow businesses to innovate on productivity and disrupt markets.
Director of Business Development for the Corrosion Solutions Group,
Mr. Tim Whited has spent his 40-year professional career focused in the field of corrosion control for assets owned and operated by the Oil & Gas Industry. He began his career by developing his own corrosion control company which was ultimately sold. He is presently employed by MESA of Tulsa, OK and is Director of Business Development for the Corrosion Solutions group. His experience includes all-phases of the corrosion control services business, with a specialty of innovating new corrosion solutions and improving existing technologies. Many Oil & Gas operators in the U.S., Canada and the Middle East are valued customers.
Mr. Whited has benefited significantly from a STEM focused education, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Illinois State University. He has been a member of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) for most of his career. He is an inventor on four patents and has published over (10) NACE technical papers and articles.
Approximately 15-years ago, Tim began an exciting journey that continues today as a passionate collector of cars from various eras. His goal has always been to collect interesting cars of all ages, experience them for a period of time, then sell and find others of interest. This passion has enabled Tim to meet a wonderful assortment of car collector enthusiasts and travel the country for many events. A major highlight of this hobby has been the tremendous honor of having two cars accepted to be shown and judged in the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007 & 2009. Car collecting is also responsible for leading Tim to the SAE Foundation as result of the incredible experience related to the purchase of a car at the Barrett-Jackson auction in 2013 where all proceeds went to the SAE Foundation.
Tim resides in the mountains west of Boulder, CO and has a vacation home on Galveston Island, TX.
Sears Manufacturing Company
Kent grew up on a family farm in Nebraska and he graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
From 1988 to 1993, Kent was with Ford New Holland in Detroit Michigan and New Holland Pennsylvania as a Senior Project Engineer responsible for cab, seats, controls, and interior trim. Since 1993, Kent has been with Sears Manufacturing Company holding positions of Chief Engineer, Director of Off Road Engineering, and Vice President of Off Road Engineering in Davenport, Iowa. In August of 2000, Kent and his family lived in the United Kingdom for three years serving as Managing Director at Sears Europe in Wales.
Upon his return in 2003, Kent served Sears Manufacturing Company as President - Off Road Division and Managing Director- Sears Europe. In July, 2008, Kent became President of Sears Manufacturing Company. Kent serves on the Board of Directors for Sears Europe and for Sears – GSK Asia. Kent is a member of ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers), SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers).
Kent is happily married and has three children.
Adam Zemke is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, beginning service to the 55th House District in January 2013, which includes the northern part of the city of Ann Arbor, a portion of the city of Milan, and the townships of Ann Arbor, Augusta, Pittsfield, and York.
Before serving in the Legislature, Zemke worked as an engineer in the aerospace, defense and automotive fields. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. He has served on the Dexter Township Public Safety Advisory Committee, the city of Ann Arbor’s Housing and Human Services Advisory Board and the Washtenaw County Community Action Board. Zemke first became active with the SAE International while in college, where he led the Michigan State Formula SAE team. Following the completion of his degrees, he continued to remain active with the Formula SAE program, serving as a member of the organizing committee and presentation event captain for the Michigan competition to this day.
A fifth-generation Washtenaw County resident, Zemke graduated from Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and lived in the community his entire life.