2015 Award Recipients
Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
USCAR began presenting Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2003 to recognize individuals who made significant contributions to USCAR during an extended period of time. Most recipients have been active USCAR participants for at least a decade. Their dedication, expertise and the value of their contributions to the organization and our member companies have been immeasurable.
Saad Abouzahr (FCA US)
USAMP Steering Committee, Materials TLC lead
Saad Abouzahr has been involved in USCAR’s collaborative efforts since before the creation of USCAR, going back to the original formation of the Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC). His contributions, starting in 1988 with the ACC, through regular participation as director of USAMP and the Materials TLC, represent close to 30 years of participation. His contributions were essential in the development of a multiyear, cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through which more than $21 million was leveraged and managed as part of the USAMP cooperative agreement portfolio.
Abouzahr has made significant contributions to the development of testing and characterization of advanced materials, especially fiber-reinforced polymeric composites. Almost two decades ago, he led several of the key developments of aluminum vehicle components. In his award presentation, Abouzahr was recognized for always bringing “a wealth of technical knowledge and decades of experience to guide discussions” and offering valuable insights to teams as to what was needed to deliver new materials in a cost effective and efficient manner, thus earning “the utmost respect and admiration of his colleagues.”
Mike Martin (USCAR)
Director of Operations
For the past 20 years, Mike Martin has provided steady leadership at USCAR through numerous transitions within the ULG, BTS and operational staff. He has successfully led an amazing number of activities at USCAR. He is an expert in the art of collaboration, as he has repeatedly demonstrated by organizing and facilitating both new and seasoned working groups, teams and consortia. He has stepped far beyond the perfunctory requirements of his position and made outstanding contributions to the success of USCAR. Through his leadership, Martin has helped guide the discussions and decision-making process at the ULG and then assisted the BTS in implementing the ULG’s vision across the various teams at USCAR.
Over the years, he has participated in the hiring and retention of a team of USCAR staff members who work seamlessly together to provide a high level of service to our customers, government and suppliers. He led the charge on a comprehensive update and compilation of the USCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, and worked with the Real Estate Stakeholders and landlord to renew the office lease five times, achieving significant savings and taking advantage of negotiated tenant improvement allowances. He has managed the USCAR Operations budget so spending was under budget every year, allowing for the creation and maintenance of a cash reserve.
As noted in the presentation, “He’s been an essential and appreciated member of the USCAR team.”
Team Award Winners
USCAR Team Awards recognize those teams and members who leveraged their resources, exceeded expectations, overcame challenges and created outstanding value for our member companies.
Fuel Cell Benchmarking Team
The Fuel Cell Benchmarking Team, formed in 2015, acquired two Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell sedans and prepared the first comprehensive fuel cell vehicle and components test plan, which identifies key metrics and processes to acquire parameters and share data between USCAR members. Despite the limited availability of hydrogen capabilities, the team found ways to bring OEM facilities online to support this complex, multi-site statement of work.
This activity allows for cost/data sharing and leveraging of fuel cell benchmarking budgets and provides understanding of competitors’ fuel cell and hydrogen storage system technologies, ensuring direct access to components and materials by the USCAR member companies.
Those recognized as part of the team were: Tarek Abdel-Baset and Max Zou (FCA US); Mark Mehall, Walt Ortmann, Jim Waldecker, Bill Sanderson, Shinichi Hirano and Mike Veenstra (Ford); Balsu Lakshmanan, Michael Luckham, Dave Masten, Pamela VeCasey and Dino Raptis (GM); and Natalie Olds (USCAR).
U.S. DRIVE ACEC Fuels Roadmap Sub-Team
The U.S. DRIVE ACEC Fuels Roadmap Sub-Team developed a roadmap that comprehends broad engine technology pathways and strategies for engine combustion and future fuel properties. It also drafted recommendations for key properties of future gasoline and diesel fuels to enable increased engine efficiency and reduced emissions. It conducted a survey of the various emerging low-temperature-combustion recipes and the fuel property requirements of each, completing a draft position statement to respond to the DOE Co-Optima program on future fuel requirements for light-duty applications.
Thanks to this team’s work, U.S. DRIVE has a draft position on future fuel properties for improved engine efficiency and emissions which it can use to guide and respond to the DOE Co-Optima program initiative.
Those recognized as part of the team were: Ken Hardman (FCA US); Brad Boyer, Eric Kurtz and Pete Moilanen (Ford); Arun Solomon and Richard Peterson (GM); Steve Ciatti, Scott Goldsborough, Andrew Ickes and Thomas Wallner (Argonne National Lab); Brad Zigler (National Renewable Energy Lab); Ron Graves and Jim Szybist (Oak Ridge National Lab); Tim Bays (Pacific Northwest National Lab); and Steve Busch, John Dec, Paul Miles and Chuck Mueller (Sandia National Labs).
U.S. DRIVE ACEC Low-Temperature Aftertreatment Sub-Team
The U.S. DRIVE ACEC Low-Temperature Aftertreatment Sub-Team (LTAT) finalized two protocols in 2015. These are the “Oxidation Catalyst Characterization and Testing Protocol” and “Storage and Release Catalyst Characterization and Test Protocol”. These protocols will serve the greater catalyst community by ensuring low-temperature catalyst technologies are developed and validated under established test conditions to shorten development time and maximize the value of reported data. In addition, the LTAT produced a Natural Gas Aftertreatment Roadmap, to identify potential aftertreatment barriers related to the use of natural gas in advanced combustion mode engines.
The efforts of the LTAT Sub-team have led to the incorporation of these protocols into DOE FOAs intended to support the OEM industry and DOE grants to ACEC members to further develop promising low-temperature aftertreatment catalyst technologies. These activities further align programs at national research facilities with the needs of the U.S. OEMs.
Those recognized as part of the team were: Craig DiMaggio (FCA US); Joe Theis (Ford); Wei Li and Se Oh (GM); Jim Parks and Josh Pihl (Oak Ridge National Lab); Ken Rappe and Mark Stewart(Pacific Northwest National Lab); and Ken Howden (U.S. DOE).
USAMP ICME Third Generation Advanced High-Strength Steel Team
The USAMP Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) of Third Generation Advanced High-Strength Steels Team worked with academia, industry and national labs to create third generation advanced high strength steel that met DOE mechanical property targets on the first iteration of its development.
The team created a functional ICME model for advanced high-strength steel, which integrated modeling and forming models; leveraged external resources to produce, test and data model the 3GAHSS; and developed 3-D representative volume elements that previously did not exist. The team also developed a new laboratory procedure for evaluating retained austenite as a function of strain using high energy x-ray diffraction coupled with digital image correlation.
Those recognized as part of the team were: Changqing Du (FCA US); Raj Sohmshetty (Ford); Louis Hector and Vesna Savic (GM); Grant Thomas and Yu-Wei Wang (AK Steel); Paul Schurter(ArcelorMittal); Terry Cullum (Auto/Steel Partnership); Allan Bower (Brown University); Fadi Abu-Farha (Clemson University); The Colorado School of Mines; Harry Singh (EDAG); Eric McCarty (Materials Technologies Consulting); Dean Kanelos (Nucor Steel); Xin Sun (Pacific Northwest National Lab); Jody Hall and Carolyn Philpott (Steel Market Development Institute); Farhang Pourbogrhat(The Ohio State University); and Dallas Trinkle (University of Illinois).
USAMP Validation of Carbon Fiber Composite Crash Models Team
The USAMP Validation of Carbon Fiber Composite Crash Models Team designed a carbon-fiber composite front bumper/crush can system (FBCC), and developed an understanding of both the strong and weak points of the material models for crash of carbon fiber composites. A robust and computationally promising academic material model was implemented into a user-friendly commercial crash code and is now available to the industry for further evaluation. The team developed fabrication techniques for the composite FBCC, including methods to enable joining using mixed materials, for which they have filed an application for a patent. They also published and/or presented nine technical papers.
Those recognized as part of the team were: George Harmon, Hala Stevens, Jian Tao and James Truskin (FCA US); Derek Board, Yijung Chen, Omar Faruque, Martin Jones and Glen Smith(Ford); Libby Berger, Anthony Coppola and Vinay Virupaksha (GM); Dale Armstrong (Continental Structural Plastics); Praveen Pasupuleti (ESI); Manish Mehta (M-Tech International); and Paul Begeman and Golam Newaz (Wayne State University).
Special Recognition Award Winners
The Special Recognition Award is designed to recognize individual OEM participants who excelled in the past year and demonstrated their exceptional commitment to USCAR by going above and beyond the call of duty. It recognizes those whose leadership inspires their teams to achieve greatness.
John Czubay (GM)
Vehicle Electrification TLC: Electrical & Electronics Tech Team (EE)
John Czubay, GM engineering specialist, was recognized for leading the U.S. DRIVE Electrical/Electronics (E/E) Tech Team to better align the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) project portfolio with industry needs. He also led the creation of several key E/E Tech Team documents, including: the 2025 on-board charger targets, the updated E/E Tech Team roadmap, and the annual assessment of DOE-funded projects.
Eve Drzyzga (GM)
Safety TLC: Occupant Safety Research Partnership Group (OSRP)
Eve Drzyzga, GM anthropomorphic test device project engineer, was a key contributor to the USCAR Occupant Safety Research Partnership and facilitator for biofidelity tests using the WorldSID female side-impact dummy. She worked extra hours to prepare and assist with the sled test instrumentation, sled pulse, and full-scale values, as well as arranging photo coverage and analysis. She also prepared documentation and presentationof test results for the ISO working groups and the WorldSID 5th Technical Evaluation Group, chaired by NHTSA.
Oliver Gross (FCA US)
Energy Storage TLC: United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC Technical Advisory Committee (USABC TAC)
Oliver Gross, FCA US technical fellow, Energy Storage Systems, is the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) program manager in charge of the Envia Systems Electric Vehicle battery contract, which at $7.7 million, is the highest valued project in the USABC portfolio. He has provided expert technical direction, decisions and financial reviews. The program is midway through its three year contract, and due to his efforts, the program not only remains on schedule and budget, but appears to be delivering baseline hardware that exceeds the cell design specifications.
Ken Hardman (FCA US)
Advanced Powertrain TLC: Advanced Combustion & Emissions Control (ACEC)
Ken Hardman, FCA US engine development specialist, is company lead for the U.S. DRIVE Advanced Combustion and Emission Control (ACEC) Tech Team. He led the ACEC to develop and deliver its 2025 targets. Thanks to his leadership and personal commitment, the team developed its approach, compiled needed data, created the necessary documents and vetted the results in a very short timeframe. A defendable, data-driven and aligned position on 2025 engine efficiency targets was delivered in what could be considered record time.
Todd Mackintosh (GM)
Energy Storage TLC: USABC Battery Recycling
Todd Mackintosh, GM technical specialist – lithium batteries, led the USABC Battery Recycling Group to update its mission statement and objectives, and host several cross-functional workshops with industry partners to identify key gaps that USABC could potentially help resolve. These workshops resulted in the USABC Battery Recycling Group’s development of a color-coded battery chemistry identification method, which has been adopted by industry under SAE J2984. Additionally, he led development of a USABC RFPI to reuse recovered cell materials in automotive formatted cell designs.
Hiroko Ohtani (Ford)
Advanced Powertrain TLC: Transmission Working Group
Hiroko Ohtani, Ford technical expert, is a member of the USCAR Transmission Working Group Fluids Team. Following a number of member transitions, she assumed leadership of the team. She worked with partner companies to develop an anti-shudder durability test method for dual clutch transmission fluids using a DC motor-driven friction test machine – or GK test bench – which was capable of differentiating the short- and long-lived DCT fluids. The work was documented in an internal USCAR report and shared in an SAE presentation. Without her efforts, the project would not have been completed.
John Opra (FCA US)
Advanced Powertrain TLC: Engine Benchmarking
John Opra, FCA US product development engineer, is company lead for the Engine Benchmarking Group and has been instrumental in proactively harmonizing the engine benchmarking efforts. Previously, each OEM performed its own NVH fingerprint test. Through Opra’s efforts, one standardized NVH fingerprint test is now conducted by FEV with data available to each member OEM. Additionally, he coordinated a ‘round robin’ V8 collaborative evaluation among the USCAR members. Each of these initiatives resulted in both significant cost and time savings.
William Pien (Ford)
USCAR Leadership Group (ULG): Aerodynamics Working Group
William Pien, retired Ford Aerodynamics supervisor and technical expert, was a leader and mentor within the Aerodynamics Working Group for seven years. He was instrumental in crafting the J2881 SAE Aero reporting standard and formulating an algorithm for open jet Wind Tunnel correction. This allowed normalization of the USCAR OEM wind tunnel results, enabling comparison to data from other wind tunnels on a more equalized basis. Additionally, he was a key contributor to the Automotive Aerodynamics University Center of Excellence proposal to the National Science Foundation in 2015.
Brian Robert (Ford)
Energy Storage TLC: United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC Technical Advisory Committee (USABC TAC)
Brian Robert, Ford research engineer, is a member of the USABC Technical Advisory Committee and led a U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) workgroup to develop a request for proposal information (RFPI) targeting USABC programs for Battery System Components. This was the first USABC workgroup using a systems approach to USABC goals. Robert’s leadership resulted in identification of battery systems and components and a priority ranking agreed upon by USCAR and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and finally, an RFPI for the Development of a Thermal Management System for Lithium Batteries Used in Vehicle Applications.
William Studzinski (GM)
Advanced Powertrain TLC: U.S. DRIVE Fuels WG
Bill Studzinski, GM Global Propulsion Systems Fuels Group manager, leads the U.S. DRIVE Fuels Working Group as automotive co-chair. He was instrumental in developing the group’s roadmap and timelines – including specific elements to ensure engagement by all members. In addition, he spearheaded an ongoing effort to rewrite the ASTM gasoline specification (D4814) with respect to octane ratings, and was a key contributor to completing the test programs and data analysis. His influence has positioned U.S. DRIVE as a leader in the industry-wide Co-Optimization of Engines and Fuels Initiative.
Xiang Zhao (GM)
Manufacturing TLC: Manufacturing Working Group
Xiang (Sean) Zhao, GM staff researcher, is a member of the Manufacturing Working Group, and was a major contributor to the creation of three new strategic initiatives for USCAR’s Manufacturing TLC, taking the lead on the Additive Manufacturing initiative. He also was a key contributor to three important projects: virtual color assessment; paint surface performance prediction; and Weld Repair Procedures for Advanced High Strength Steel. His efforts enabled these projects to be completed quickly and efficiently.
Research Partner Award Winners
The Research Partner Award recognizes external collaborators, who have become essential members of our USCAR teams. They bring the depth and resources of their organizations or companies, expanding our circle of collaboration, and go the extra mile and to do more than their contracts require.
Jesse Adams (U.S. Department of Energy)
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell TLC: Hydrogen Storage Tech Team
Jesse Adams, U.S. DOE technology manager and co-chair of the Hydrogen Storage Tech Team, provides exceptional leadership as a technology manager for a broad portfolio of projects in the pursuit of advancing hydrogen storage for fuel cell vehicles. He coordinated joint meetings on cryo-compressed hydrogen storage, which resulted in DOE issuing a request for information focused on the need for advanced insulation for cold/cryo-compressed and cryo-sorbent hydrogen and liquid natural gas systems. In addition, Adams led the team in refining the U.S. DRIVE hydrogen storage system targets, which are critical in identifying the technologies needed for viable commercial applications.
Cameron Dasch (Highwood Technology LLC)
Materials TLC: Validation of Material Models (VMM)
Cameron Dasch, director at Highwood Technology, is a member of the USAMP Validation of Material Models (VMM) Nondestructive Evaluation Team. The ability to inspect carbon fiber structures is critical if they are to be used in common production. Working with the NDE team, proposed solutions and developed working inspection capability for the carbon-fiber parts, testing coupons and structural pieces to be used in crash testing. He also led a study to propose and test the feasibility of a structural health monitoring solution which will lead to an automated damage detection and recording system for carbon fiber structures in vehicles. His work with the team represented efforts beyond expectations.