USCAR Recognition Awards – 2021

2021 Award Recipients

  • As a general rule, an individual can only work at USCAR long enough to achieve one ‘lifetime’ of work. Steve Zimmer, however, does not follow the rules.

    In 2007 Steve received the Lifetime Award in recognition of his work as the Chrysler representative to the USCAR Leadership Group, Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) and FreedomCAR.

    This Special Lifetime Achievement Award is for his ‘second life’ at USCAR, as its longest-serving executive director, from July 2010 through August 2022.

    Steve’s long career in leadership positions at two of USCAR’s member companies, Ford and Chrysler, his previous roles with USCAR, and the relationships he maintained within those companies, tier one suppliers and the US Department of Energy, ideally prepared him for the role as executive director.

    Steve assumed responsibility for USCAR as the industry was just entering a period of dramatic change. Concepts like autonomous driving, electrification, connectivity, additive manufacturing, and high-performance computing were no longer punchlines to a joke; but were keys to competitive relevance and survival. In this environment, Steve oversaw or assisted many significant accomplishments at USCAR as it entered a new period of its relationship to its members and to the DOE. These included the transition of USCAR and its related companies (USABC, USAMP and EWCAP) from partnerships to LLCs, the integration of all key staff positions from members’ personnel to USCAR staff, increased funding of collaborative R&D by the DOE, the first inclusion of non-domestic OEMs on selective projects, and the move within USCAR’s portfolio toward electrification and related technologies.

    It should not be overlooked that during the past 2½ years, all of this and more was continued without USCAR missing a beat during one of the worst global pandemics in history.

    It’s difficult to objectively measure the subjective quality of leadership. Steve’s management style is collegial, supportive, open-minded and caring. He has developed a close-knit productive team at USCAR because he is supportive and trustworthy. These qualities may not be the complete measure of a leader. But they are a good start. We would wholeheartedly like to thank Steve for all his years of service to USCAR.

  • 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.

    This year, we recognize three individuals for their accomplishments: Dale Gerard, Annette Irwin and Dave Masten.

    Dale Gerard
    Senior Manager, Materials Engineering, GM (retired)

    Dale Gerard was a leader and integral member of USCAR’s materials program for more than 20 years. His involvement in a true leadership capacity began in 2010 as a member of the USAMP Steering Committee and Materials Technical Leadership Council. However his work at USCAR began even earlier in 1992 as a project manager for USAMP (US Automotive Materials Partnership).

    Over the years, Dale has provided resources and guidance to enable USAMP to competitively win multiple US Department of Energy contracts. He was very influential in the creation of a portfolio of key USCAR OEM-funded (including in-kind labor) projects which accelerated the research and development efforts of GM, Ford and Stellantis. Dale has also been a critical member of USCAR’s Materials team roadmapping efforts.

    As a USAMP Board Member, Dale was responsible for launching an extensive list of projects and working teams including Substances of Concern, Vehicle Interior Air Quality, Cast-In-Place Materials (the first joint project between USCAR Materials and Manufacturing TLCs) as well as providing resources to support the DOE lightweighting funding proposals and the work with the Auto/Steel Partnership. More recently Dale supported the internal USAMP auto shredder residue recycling project and the startup of the Glazing Team.

    Dale’s leadership of USAMP will leave a lasting legacy and the impact of his work will live on for decades to come. We wish Dale good fortune in his well deserved retirement.

    Annette Irwin
    Technical Fellow, GM

    Since joining the Occupant Safety Research Partnership (OSRP) Management Committee in 2001, Annette has been actively involved with all projects including defining the scope, budgets, timing and resources required. Annette’s extensive knowledge and expertise in Post Mortem Human Subjects (PMHS), Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs), biomechanics and injury assessments have proven highly valuable when developing test matrices, data analysis, and writing and editing the reports. Her attention to detail and concise method of communicating important information is beneficial within OSRP and when sharing results with other organizations. Annette also served as a mentor for other engineers, proving valuable in the publication of the WorldSID 5th Biofidelity Paper.

    Throughout her tenure with OSRP, Annette has co-authored at least seven OSRP publications and publicly presented many of them. She co-wrote documents regarding the technical specifications, biofidelity evaluations and ATD performance for the SID-IIs. She helped with the ISO/TR9790 biofidelity evaluations for the WorldSID 5th. Annette led the authorship of ISO/TR9790 (side impact ATD biofidelity) and has taken the lead role in updating the 3rd edition of ISO/IS15830 parts 1-4. These international standards are critical for defining the design and performance specifications of the WorldSID 50th ATD. This ATD is currently used internationally and is being considered for use by NHTSA. Annette has contributed countless hours over the past couple of years to work with the international community and ISO to update these standards to the highest level of accuracy available at the time of publishing.

    Annette’s expertise, teamwork and dedication to excellence have been and continue to be a tremendous benefit to OSRP and the other organizations she is involved with.

    Dave Masten
    Staff System Engineer, GM

    Dave Masten has been a member of the Fuel Cell Tech Team since early in the program, and also a founding member of the Fuel Cell Benchmarking Working Group. He took part in formulating the original scope of collaboration with US DRIVE and its Roadmap for FCEVs. As the only team member with strong system engineering expertise, he has provided critical and valuable insights to keep the team’s activity focused on the most relevant scope and direction. As the technologies and the markets progress, he has been the key contributor in updating the Tech Team Roadmap’s technical and cost targets. He served as industry co-chair for two separate three-year terms, more than anyone else since its inception. Dave’s leadership has provided a much-needed constant that kept the team together through many changes in members, member participation, scope, funding and technology for the past 20+ years.

    Some of Dave’s specific technical achievements include authoring a well-cited book chapter on Fuel Cell system design which laid out the challenges and trade-offs in the areas of vehicle efficiency and heat rejection, and provided a foundation for DOE target-setting and R&D direction. He also provided system analysis and direction to DOE on all FCS-relevant topics encouraging the DOE to adopt a more realistic system mechanization and led the development of several standard US DRIVE protocols. He has also provided OEM guidance to the SAE’s hydrogen fuel quality specification development.

    Dave’s contributions have helped to shape and define the USCAR and US DRIVE fuel cell programs.

  • Each year, USCAR recognizes peer-nominated individuals for their outstanding contributions to their respective teams with Special Recognition Awards.

    The Special Recognition Award is designed to recognize individual participants who excelled in the past year and demonstrated their exceptional commitment to USCAR by going above and beyond expectations. It recognizes those whose leadership inspires their teams to achieve greatness.

    Those being recognized for work in 2021 are: Dhafar Al-Ani, Stellantis; and Minghong Liu, Ford.

    Dhafar Al-Ani
    Global Manager, Stellantis

    Dhafar Al-Ani was the US DRIVE Electrical/Electronics Tech Team (EETT) industry co-chair in 2021 and facilitated discussions on the “Targets and Roadmap” for the key components of the fully electric vehicles (Battery and Fuel Cell EVs). He led detailed discussions with the lead consultant and key members of the EETT over several sessions that led to the target definition and roadmap. The key challenges were comprehending the volatility of the rare earth material cost, Wide Band Gap devices (WBG) and still coming up with reasonable target numbers.

    The roadmap document outlines the targets for the key electric vehicle components for 2025, 2030 and 2035, and identifies the technology gap in key research areas including rare-earth-free electric machines and WBG. The document serves as a key reference for our member companies and immensely helps the OEMs in assessing and directing the government-sponsored EETT projects.

    Minghong Liu
    Battery Research Engineer, Ford

    As program manager for multiple EV battery development programs, Minghong Liu did an excellent job supervising these programs and motivating the team in its efforts. Her diligence was particularly valuable to the comprehensive evaluation of low-cost/fast-charge EV proposals, where her feedback and contributions helped ensure funded programs provide maximum value to USABC.

    Reducing the cost of advanced lithium-ion automotive batteries is critical to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Minghong’s work to evaluate and improve proposals submitted to the Low-Cost/Fast-Charge Workgroup supports this initiative. As the program manager for a development program with Applied Materials focused on pre-lithiation, she worked closely with the developers to ensure the program remains focused on valuable deliverables.

  • USCAR Team Awards recognize those teams and members who leveraged their resources, exceeded expectations, overcame challenges and created outstanding value for our member companies.

    Team Awards recipients this year are: the Additive Manufacturing Standards Team, the Substances of Concern (S.O.C.) and Vehicle Indoor Air Quality (VIAQ) Team, the USABC Abuse Test Work Group and the US DRIVE Electrical & Electronics Tech Team.

    Additive Manufacturing Standards Team

    The Additive Manufacturing Standards Team created two standards focused on industrializing Additive Manufacturing (AM) for automotive needs. The first standard focuses on the requirements for parts produced via powder-based additive manufacturing processes. The second focuses on defining buyoff standards for polymer powder bed fusion AM systems.

    In an industry focused on aerospace and medical applications, these standards put more emphasis on the needs of the automotive industry. The high-volume nature of automotive applications necessitates high throughput and high quality in components and subsystems. These standards will help enable faster and more robust implementations of additive manufacturing for on-vehicle applications. Likewise, these standards enable AM industry partners to have more clarity on the requirements from the USCAR member companies, without having to create unique solutions for each of the members. This standardization will help reduce costs and simplify AM installations.

    Members recognized as part of the Additive Manufacturing Standards Team are as follows:

    Suranjeeta Dhar, Ellen Lee, Harold Sears and Larry Xu, Ford; Steven Abramczyk, Ben LeBlanc, Kevin Schmidt, Mark Smith and Paul Wolcott, GM; Neil Bailey, Andrew Partin and Michael Frawley, Stellantis.

    Substances of Concern (S.O.C.) and Vehicle Indoor Air Quality (VIAQ) Team

    The SOC and Vehicle Indoor Air Quality (SOC-VIAQ) Team leverages technical expertise and provides a forum for exchanging information to ensure that there is common understanding and messaging with respect to the SOC-VIAQ regulatory landscape. The SOC-VIAQ team includes OEM members that are beyond USCAR members to ensure that the automotive industry is appropriately represented in SOC-VIAQ discussions.

    The SOC-VIAQ team successfully launched chemical substance data collection, performing pre-competitive analysis on the impact of upcoming chemical restrictions or prohibitions activities on the automotive industry. Subgroups were formally established and tasked with the development of standardized data collection templates, followed by data collection and impact analyses on several SOCs. Data collection results were shared with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA) for the purpose of developing a technical position on legislative and regulatory initiatives.

    The SOC-VIAQ team also established a global OEM exchange forum with the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), primarily focused on sharing regional technical information on critical SOC topics impacting vehicles and vehicle parts. The launch of this initiative will provide the SOC-VIAQ team the ability to globally share technical information regarding regional SOC legislative and/or regulatory activities in a structured, efficient manner.

    Members recognized as part of the SOC and VIAQ Team are as follows:

    Matthew Duffy, Kelly Keller, Sherry Mueller and Charlotte Roland, Ford; Sarah Healy, Doris Hill, Michelle Kearney and Tammy Giroux, GM; Brandi LaPere, Sorina Stanciu and Brad Strohm, Stellantis; Anita Bedra, USCAR; Barbara Hayes, Hyundai; Yasumi Nakamura-Newbraugh, Nissan; Mark Bacchus, Sarah Medler and Lori Vosefski, Toyota; and Christine Lussier, Volkswagen.

    USABC Abuse Test Work Group

    The USABC Abuse Test Work Group delivered a fully-revised manual that contains battery abuse test and characterization methods, suitable for the pre-competitive development and comparison of electric vehicle electrochemical energy storage devices. This team worked through difficult challenges related to different input and approaches from the OEMs and achieved a fully collaborative result.

    The manual revision improves the ability of manufacturers and developers of energy storage systems to more rapidly develop and execute abuse characterization for new technologies and be able to compare outcomes between competitive solutions. The Member Companies will benefit directly.

    Members recognized as part of the USABC Abuse Test Work Group are as follows:

    Renata Arsenault, Ford; Meng Jiang, GM; Ron Elder and Oliver Gross, Stellantis; Haiyan Croft, U.S. DOE; and Loraine Torres-Castro, Sandia National Laboratories.

    US DRIVE Electrical & Electronics Tech Team

    The US DRIVE Electrical & Electronics Tech Team (EETT) developed a Technology Roadmap and Targets with key metrics for eDrives. This is necessary to support the rapid acceleration toward battery electric vehicles (BEVs). BEVs require high-performance electric drives that use permanent magnet drives and Wide Band Gap (WBG) devices. Creating good research targets has been extremely difficult due to several factors including rare-earth magnet cost and volatility, and the expense of efficient WBG devices. Establishing Target Numbers has required collaboration with several other Tech Teams and key suppliers. This coordination of tech teams and suppliers has presented challenges not normally encountered in creating roadmaps and targets. The EETT did an outstanding job managing this coordination.

    The Roadmap document outlines targets for key electric vehicle components for 2025, 2030 and 2035 and identifies the technology gap in key research areas like rare-earth free electric machines, WBG power electronics, etc. The document serves as a key guidance reference for the member companies and will help to assess and provide valuable direction to government-sponsored EETT projects. With the recent alignment with the 21st Century Truck Program, the scope of the team broadened to defining the metrics for not only Light Duty but Medium- and Heavy-Duty vehicles, which created additional challenges.

    Members recognized as part of the Electrical & Electronics Tech Team are as follows:

    Krishna Prasad Bhat, Ford; Suresh Gopalakrishnan, GM; Dhafar Al-Ani, Stellantis; Susan Rogers, U. S. DOE; Sreekant Narumanchi, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Burak Ozpineci, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Gregory Smith, Flex Power Control.