SMDI Honors Champions of Steel

In 2015, The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) launched the Men and Women of Steel Awards to honor the men and women who have made a difference in the automotive industry and in the community through their work with steel.

The Men and Women of Steel awards include the Industry Innovator Award, which recognizes automotive designers or engineers who showcase innovation through their use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS). The Community Hero award, recognizes an individual or organization which has impacted the use of AHSS.

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During a press briefing at the North American International Auto Show, SMDI presented the 2016 Men and Women of Steel awards to two distinguished honorees who are champions of the use of AHSS. You can watch the press conference in its entirety here:

The Industry Innovator Award was presented to Mike Sweers, chief engineer for the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma vehicle programs and the vice president of engineering design – interior at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Toyota, through its Environmental Challenge 2050, is committed to reduce vehicle CO₂ emissions by 90% in comparison to 2010. This commitment, together with extensive use of AHSS makes Toyota a leader in lowering CO2 emissions.

From left to right: Roger Newport, CEO AK Steel, Mike Sweers, Jody Hall, Lawrence Kavanagh

From left to right: Roger Newport, CEO AK Steel, Mike Sweers, Jody Hall, Lawrence Kavanagh

On the Toyota Tacoma, Sweers had this to say, “We looked at the design and we looked at the materials and together with our different groups we realized that the solution was clear. So high-strength steel and ultra-high-strength steel helped us to optimize our design and reduce the mass of our vehicle.”

NAIAS 2016_SMDI_Toyota Speaker

The Community Hero Award was presented to the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Vehicle Technologies who supports research, development and deployment of efficient and sustainable highway transportation technologies to improve fuel economy and minimize petroleum use. These technologies, which include plug-in electric vehicles, batteries, electric drive technologies, advanced combustion engines, lightweight materials, and alternative fuels, will increase Americans’ energy security, lower costs and reduce environmental impacts.

From left to right: Roger Newport, CEO AK Steel Corp., Dr. William Joost, Jody Hall, Lawrence Kavanagh

From left to right: Roger Newport, CEO AK Steel Corp., Dr. William Joost, Jody Hall, Lawrence Kavanagh

Dr. William Joost, technology development manager, accepted the award on behalf of the DOE and had this to say “Thank you to SMDI, both for this award, but also for continuing to play such a key role in the development and deployment of advanced steels of all grades which are an essential clean energy technology that’s already playing dividends in vehicle weight and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”

NAIAS 2016_SMDI_Will Joost

Mike Sweers and the DOE are leaders who recognize the environmental impact of materials decisions  and are working to reduce those emissions to ensure a cleaner environment for generations to come. Their work proves how critical it is to ensure automakers, OEMs and consumers are looking at the total environmental footprint of the vehicles we put on the road – from material choice to disposal.

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From left to right: Roger Newport, Mike Sweers, Will Joost, Lawrence Kavanagh, Jody Hall

Congratulations to our 2016 Men and Women of Steel Award winners! If you know any Men and Women of Steel in your community deserving of a 2017 nomination, please share their stories with us in the comments.

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