Meet STLE’s Newest Board Members

Members have elected the following to STLE’s 2023-2024 Board of Directors:

  • Dr. Vasu Bala, Tiarco, LLC in Dalton, Georgia
  • Dr. Hannes Grillenberger, Schaeffler Technologies Ag & co KG in Herzogenaurach, Germany
  • Elaine Hepley, Polaris Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dr. Dairene Uy, Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc. in Houston, Texas

Dr. Vasu Bala, Dr. Hannes Grillenberger, Elaine Hepley and Dr. Dairene Uy begin their three-year terms in May.

Dr. Vasu Bala is global vice president at Tiarco LLC. Bala is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University where he earned his doctorate and pursued postdoctoral studies. His research interest lies in the fundamentals of lubricant rheology, additive synthesis and lubricant formulation development, mechanics of elastohydrodynamics and boundary lubrication, electrorheology, lubricant and material durability, wear  characterization, chemical surface morphology and frictional behavior of ferrous and nonferrous materials. 

Bala was previously employed at Afton Chemical Corp., Cognis-Henkel and BASF Corp., serving in various capacities as technical advisor and global technical director. Now at Tiarco, his responsibilities include developing product marketing strategies for grease and lubricant technologies for North American, European and Asian automotive and industrial systems. Along with STLE, other affiliations are with Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Tau Beta Phi National Engineering Honor Society, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), TAE Germany, Industrial Tribology-UK, National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) and Who’s Who for Outstanding Scientists.

Dr. Hannes Grillenberger is key expert on rolling bearing technology at the automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co KG. He joined Schaeffler’s fundamentals department in 2012 after receiving his doctorate in physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. 

During that time, he developed a laboratory detection method for oxygen precipitates in semiconductor silicon, measuring their growth in situ at 1,000 C using high-energy X-rays.

Since joining Schaeffler, Grillenberger has worked on simulation methods for rolling element bearing friction, cage strength and noise, the latter of which has been his primary area of focus for the past seven-plus years. He holds several patents and conference awards and frequently publishes journal technical papers and presents at industry conferences.

Grillenberger is currently a member of the STLE Annual Meeting Program Committee, Editorial & Publications Committee and Rolling Element Bearings Technical Committee. In addition, he organizes the discussion roundtables for both the STLE Annual Meeting, as well as the Tribology Exchange Workshop co-hosted by STLE and the European Lubricating Grease Institute (ELGI). As part of STLE’s Annual Meeting, Grillenberger also is responsible for lecturing on the topic of dynamic assessment of rolling bearings during the rolling element bearings education course program, which is co-presented by the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA) and STLE.

Elaine Hepley is a data analysis manager for POLARIS Laboratories. She currently leads a team of 12 analysts. Her primary duties include training, professional development, data statistics and advocating, as well as promoting the importance of STLE certifications and participation. She currently serves as chair of STLE’s OMA Committee and is paper solicitation chair (PSC) of STLE’s Power Generation Technical Committee. Hepley specializes in varnish analysis and manages the program. She recently released new varnish testing techniques and has published an article about it in Lube Magazine. She also presented an STLE Industry Insights on varnish myths with Greg Livingstone and Matt Hobbs. She also is an active member of the STLE Lower Ohio River Valley Section.

Hepley recently obtained her certification for Women in Leader ship through Cornell University. She also has trained team members on varnish analysis interpretation and helped train new analysts that join her team. She holds the CLS and OMA I certifications. 

Dr. Dairene Uy is project lead for transmission fluids for Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc. She manages transmission fluid product development for conventional and electric vehicles in North America. Prior to joining Shell in 2019, she spent 20 years at Ford Motor Research & Advanced Engineering on automotive catalysis, tribology and engine-related topics. She holds a doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago and completed post doctoral research at JILA (formerly the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics).

Uy’s technical background is very diverse: lasers, ionized gases/plasmas, high resolution spectroscopy of ions and radicals, automotive exhaust gas catalysis, tribology, engine oils, engine testing and failure analysis of engines and transmission fluid (including fluids for electric
vehicles) product development. In prior roles, she has had numerous collaborations with industry and academia and led cross-functional teams of scientists and engineers to combine science with enginerelated research, resulting not only in more than 40 peerreviewed publications but also impacting choices in engine product development.

Uy is past chair of the STLE Engine and Drivetrain Technical Committee and member of the former STLE Technical Advisory Committee. She was one of the recipients of STLE’s Al Sonntag Award for best technical paper on solid lubricants in 2012. Uy is currently a member of the STLE EV Conference Planning Committee and a guest associate editor for Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering.