SME Names 2023 Class of Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#OYMESME, the nonprofit association committed to advancing widespread adoption of manufacturing technologies and developing North America’s talent and capabilities, today announced its lineup of 2023 Delcie Durham Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers.

The 18 awardees were selected based on their diverse manufacturing backgrounds, technology advancements/improvements and state-of-the-art research. The 2023 award namesake is longtime SME member Delcie R. Durham, PhD, FSME, PE, a professor emerita in the University of South Florida’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Durham’s research has focused on environmentally benign design and manufacturing, with a particular emphasis on sustainable product realization through the total product lifecycle.

“This group of young engineers is one of the most educated, accomplished groups we’ve honored in recent years,” said Robert “Bob” Willig, SME executive director and CEO. “Watch with me as they gain momentum over their careers, as I’m sure we’ll see some remarkable achievements in manufacturing technology, processes and materials come forth.”

Recipients of the 2023 Delcie Durham Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award will be recognized at a variety of events during 2023, including the SME International Awards Gala in June, the NAMRI/SME Awards Luncheon during NAMRC 51, and at selected corporate and university events.

SME’s 2023 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers

  • Lili Cai, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
  • Murali Mohan Cheepu, PhD, Research Manager, Super TIG Welding C. Ltd., Busan, Republic of Korea
  • David Coleman, Senior Applications Engineer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Karthik Gopinath, Senior Research Engineer, Caterpillar Inc., San Antonio
  • Farbod Khameneifar, PhD, P.Eng., Associate Professor, Polytechnique Montreal, Montreal
  • Yong Lin Kong, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Cindy “Xiangjia” Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • Jon-Erik Mogonye, PhD, Research Materials Engineer, DEVCOM U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland
  • Hantang Qin, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Wesley Salandro, PhD, Senior Manager-Composites Production, SpaceX, Hawthorne, California
  • William Scheideler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Jacob L. “Jake” Smith, PhD, Product Design Engineer, Apple Inc., Austin, Texas
  • Kenan Song, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, Mesa, Arizona
  • Hongyue Sun, PhD, Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
  • Sean Wagner, PhD, Senior Researcher, Manufacturing Systems Research Lab, General Motors Global Research & Development, Warren, Michigan
  • Shaomao Xu, PhD, Researcher, Manufacturing Systems Research Lab, General Motors Research & Development, Warren, Michigan
  • Zixuan “Zoe” Zhang, PhD, Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Co., Bellevue, Washington
  • Hangbo Zhao, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Full biographies of the 2023 Delcie Durham Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers are available on the Awards page for this year’s class. Nominations for the 2024 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award should be submitted by Aug. 1. Visit for submission and additional award details.

About SME

We believe in the power of technology and the innovation of people to drive competitiveness, advance our nation and solve the world’s greatest problems. A nonprofit organization established in 1932, SME leads the manufacturing ecosystem to elevate manufacturers, academia, professionals, and the communities in which they operate. We build the bridge from today to the future by developing the next generation of manufacturing talent and capabilities. And we accelerate the widespread adoption of technologies that can propel manufacturing operations into excellence. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter, or

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution images of Bob Willig and OYME Award recipients are available from SME.


Michael Scholl

Senior PR Representative, SME
Tel. +1 313.425.3040

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