Society of Manufacturing Engineers: A Globally Recognized Resource for Manufacturing Knowledge, Education & Networking

Creativity, innovation, and technology are the bedrock of the American knowledge-based economy. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has been an effective vehicle in fostering technological advancement, and fueling innovation through creativity. SME is considered the “world’s leading professional society advancing manufacturing knowledge, and influencing more than half a million manufacturing practitioners annually.” Headquartered in Michigan, SME currently has members in more than 70 countries, and represents manufacturing practitioners across industries. Through its local chapters, technical communities, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME ensures a strong manufacturing base, and raises awareness about leading trends and technologies, expertise and skills development.

As an effective vehicle in highlighting workforce development issues, SME has been working with industry,
academic and government partners to support current and future skilled workforce. Tina Brudnicki, member and industry manager for Southeast region at SME says the Society’s overarching mission encompasses a cross section of professionals ranging from college students to seasoned veterans eager to mentor and advance manufacturing. “Whether you are looking for technical solutions in your current industry, or want to diversify your business, SME has the manufacturing connections to help.” (Source: http://www.sme.org/).

From virtual and local member networks, to industry-leading events, SME members enjoy vast array of benefits. SME members are automatically subscribed and receive the Manufacturing Engineering magazine, annual industry yearbooks (Medical Manufacturing, Energy Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing, and Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing), SME Librarian services, and discounts on our books, videos, conferences, and certifications.

SME’s organizational structure encompasses eight technical communities that focus on specific manufacturing disciplines. Each community consists of "tech groups" where members meet and collaborate both virtually and face-to-face. Communities also produce technical content for SME programs and other industry events, and serve as a pathway to connect with peers, find experts and gather technical knowledge within specific disciplines. “SME’s focus is to support the value of manufacturing by aligning services and products geographically, and by industry to support the needs of manufacturing practitioners” Brudnicki said.

As a firm proponent for manufacturing excellence, SME is committed to positioning “manufacturing as cool.” Brudnicki says the U.S. manufacturing landscape is undergoing the same transformation it underwent back in the 1900 when 40% of U.S. workers were employed in agriculture. Today, she says, less than 2% of Americans are engaged in agriculture, yet we feed 300 million people. Indeed, manufacturing has changed from mass production, which relied on assembly line workers, to advanced manufacturing which is more reliant on technology. Despite negative perceptions surrounding manufacturing that are reiterated by the media, Brudnicki says the manufacturing industry continues to produce as much, if not more, and offers several lucrative opportunities. She points to aerospace, medical, energy, non-auto transportation as pillars of American innovation and manufacturing ingenuity. “Manufacturing jobs start with the idea for something that will improve the way we live, travel, get energy, and receive medical treatment.”

SME’s goal to “acquire and distribute manufacturing knowledge and expertise among its members” has also spilled over to the immediate manufacturing community here in Tampa. FLATE has contributed articles in two issues, one in February 2009 and April 2010, of SME’s Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Tina Brudnicki has also been an integral part of FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) since 2005, and currently serves as the Committee Chair. Brudnicki points to FLATE as an effective vehicle in “creating positive awareness for manufacturing and advanced technical education within schools and industry in Florida.” She also applauds FLATE for implementing a manufacturing career pathway that unifies the manufacturing two-year degree education system in the state, and for including a nationally recognized certification program into the system. “I would love to see FLATE bridge the gap between a two-year manufacturing degree into a four, or possible a masters degree in manufacturing” Brudnicki said.

For more information on SME visit www.sme.org, or contact Tina Brudnicki, member and industry manager for Southeast region at TBrudnicki@sme.org. For information on FLATE, or become a member of FLATE’s IAC, visit www.fl-ate.org/committees/IAC.html, or contact FLATE’s Executive Director, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

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