From The Desk Of..... Greg Harris
The council was created in the fall of 2003 to lead the member engagement activities of SME's volunteer networks. We are responsible for helping this organization recognize and meet the membership’s needs in this rapidly changing manufacturing environment. We volunteer to help meet SME strategic goals, strengthen the local chapters and develop membership recruitment, retention and engagement recommendations.
While sitting at my desk to write this message, the question came to mind, “But what is SME?
SME is a nonprofit organization focused on the manufacturing community. It is a rich source of information and knowledge about many manufacturing topics. It provides training and opportunities to network and grow your career. SME promotes manufacturing early to youth to help them understand manufacturing and choose a career that creates value for society. And SME produces some fantastic conferences that allow manufacturing professionals from all over the globe to meet, network and learn from each other, building friendships and relationships that last a lifetime. These are all things that SME is known for and does, but it does not answer the question, “What is SME?
SME is the Membership. SME is you and it is me. SME is all of the volunteers at the local professional chapters, the student chapters, the committees and the elected positions that provide the hands and feet to allow SME to provide all of the activities and events mentioned above. SME does not exist without YOU!
There are many ways in which you can get involved in the local chapters and in the committees that keep SME providing the best opportunities for the manufacturing community. I urge you to find opportunities to get involved at all levels of this great organization and really reap the benefits of belonging to a truly awesome group of professionals.
The Member Council has developed some strategic priorities for this year that I am very excited about!
- Brand — Strengthen the SME Membership brand and value proposition.
- Growth — Increase membership acquisition with professionals and underrepresented persons.
- Engagement — Create an engaging membership community that deepens lifetime value.
The committees of the Member Council function through volunteers working for the good of SME (which is us)! The committees and task groups with which you can engage are the Chapter Enhancement Committee (CEC), the Student Relations Committee (SRC), the Technical Communities Committee (TCC) and the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Task Group (DE&I). These committees and task groups have developed SMART Goals in the priority areas and will develop plans to implement during the year.
One more exciting piece of news I would like to share with you. The pandemic led to the demise of our student chapter here at Auburn University. Last month, we filed our paperwork and held our first meeting of the resurrected Auburn University student chapter! As great as that is, there is more. We have initiated a pilot project in collaboration with our friends just 25 minutes down I-85 at Tuskegee University to create a joint chapter with Auburn and Tuskegee students. The first joint meeting will be held on March 30 at the Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) at Auburn University. Approximately 20 Auburn students and five to six Tuskegee students are already signed up. This is exciting as it opens the door for opportunities in many ways. The ultimate goal is for Tuskegee to have its own student chapter, but by then, we will have developed a collaborative operational relationship that will continue through the years.
I hope you find ways to get involved with SME this year. The benefits to you, personally and professionally, are definitely worth it!
Greg Harris, PhD, PE
SME Member Since 2017