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Presidents Message - June 2012

By Mike Dugger

A fast but productive year 

The time flew by but resulted in many achievements for our society.  

THEY WARNED ME. Several STLE past presidents advised me when I took this job that I should enjoy every minute because it goes fast. At this time last year, all I could think about was a strategic plan for the year, the meetings I would need to run and the many visits with the representatives of various organizations that would be required to further the society’s business.

They were right, of course. I cannot believe that a year has passed and I am now writing my farewell column as STLE’s president. The process is bittersweet because on one hand it will be refreshing to have a little less work and responsibility, but on the other hand being at the helm of a strong and respected technical society like STLE has been a terrific growth experience. I will use this opportunity to summarize a few key developments for the year.

STLE’s leadership has begun a dialogue with government agencies pursuant to our mission to be a trusted source of technical information and expertise related to tribology and lubrication engineering. We met with a Department of Energy program manager about a fuels and lubricants program to improve the efficiency of the existing fleet, and provided an information session to staff in the Environmental Protection Agency related to biocides in metalworking fluids. Being a resource for technical information is central to our mission statement, and doing so for government agencies is an important role for STLE.

We have expanded the corporate membership program to include a new level with added benefits, based on feedback obtained from corporate members during a recent survey. Several companies have signed up for the new level. Corporate membership is up about 20% for the year, suggesting that member companies appreciate the value that these packages offer. I have also been very pleased with the results of our corporate member visits that the leadership now include when visiting local sections. We have gained valuable insight by seeing what our corporate members do, how they use the benefits that STLE provides and hearing what they value about STLE membership.

Partnerships with several organizations continue to grow, including the Tribology Society of India, the Chinese Tribology Institute and ASM International. Our work with ASM includes STLE participation in teacher camps where high-school students will learn about tribology. We expect our relationship with ASM to expand to include other benefits for members of both societies.

Additionally, we have begun what I hope will be a continued emphasis on emerging technology. Technical associations like STLE are the perfect places where professionals should attempt to define, identify and speculate about technological advancements that are likely to have a major impact on our society in the coming years.

I will close by thanking everyone I have had the pleasure to work with during the past year. Specifically, I appreciate the hard work of the board members who meet several times a year to make important decisions affecting our organization. Executive Committee members have weekly discussions to keep activities moving forward and deal with time-sensitive issues. Their wisdom, vision and dedication have been tremendous assets. The STLE headquarters staff, led by Executive Director Ed Salek, have been wonderful partners during my entire board career.

Finally, I could not have had this experience without the support of my employer, Sandia National Laboratories, and my wife, Lisa, for which I am forever grateful.

The organization will be in great hands under the leadership of incoming president Jerry Byers of Cimcool Industrial Products, LLC, along with the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. I look forward to seeing initiatives that we have worked on together come to fruition in the coming years.

Mike Dugger is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. You can reach him at

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Mike Dugger is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. You can reach him at mtdugge@sandia.gov

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