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Presidents Message - July 2011

By Mike Dugger

STLE: The Year Ahead

Continued international collaborations, expanded digital offerings and emerging technologies will mark the next 12 months. 

When I joined STLE’s Executive Committee three years ago, of course I knew this day would come. And while its approach came at a time of economic uncertainties and the desire to do a good job as STLE president, the predominant emotion I have felt has been excitement. This excitement is due to all the new initiatives that have taken off in recent years such as our new digital media offerings, relationships with other international societies and the success of our recent annual meeting and exhibition, to name just a few. These are a tribute to the efforts of our volunteer leaders and headquarters staff.

As I accepted the gavel of office from Immediate Past President Peter Drechsler at our annual meeting in Atlanta in May, I expressed thanks to my management at Sandia National Laboratories for its support of my service to the board. Specifically, thanks goes to my current manager Mike Hosking, past manager Jonathan Custer and the present and past directors of the Materials Science and Engineering Center at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am also very grateful to my wife, Lisa, for her continued support and encouragement.

STLE members represent a wide range of professionals, and I believe this diversity is one of our greatest strengths. While trained as a materials scientist, I have had the opportunity to work with talented faculty and graduate students in mechanical and chemical engineering and physics as well. Since joining Sandia, I have worked with professionals from companies that manufacture everything from integrated circuits to vehicle tires to satellites, as well as with researchers from every branch of the armed services and many universities.

This has taught me the value of learning from people with different expertise than our own. A diverse professional network is one of the greatest assets of today’s technical professional, and there is no better way to build and grow such a network than participating in the activities of a society like STLE.

Let me briefly give you an idea of where STLE is heading over the next year. We plan to continue several initiatives begun during the terms of past presidents Dave Scheetz and Peter Drechsler. These include implementing recommendations from the McKinley Marketing survey to provide added options and benefit packages to our corporate members. Our expanded educational opportunities, now including an extensive list of online courses and Webinars and branded under the STLE University moniker, are continuing to grow. We also are investigating the potential for taking our certification programs international, beginning with the internationalization of the exam for Certified Lubrication Specialist.

Our international presence will be further strengthened through ties with tribology societies in India, China and Europe and our collaboration on additional joint ventures such as conferences and education seminars. Along with international partnerships, we plan to develop cooperative agreements with other professional societies in the U.S. to expand the benefits of STLE membership. A new project looks ahead toward emerging scientific and technological areas that will impact tribology and lubrication engineering in the future and provide our members with the information they need to provide exceptional value to their customers and employers.

I hope you will join me by getting involved in a leadership capacity in your local section, a technical committee, education course or certification committee. This promises to be an exciting year!


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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