TROY, (DETROIT) MICH. — With more than 45 year’ experience in automotive design and development on iconic vehicles such as the ChevroletÒ CorvetteÒ and DodgeÒ ViperÒsports cars, Roy Sjöberg, P.E. has been named the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awardwinner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) and will be honored for his role leading automotive plastics and composites innovations at the 43rd-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on November 6, 2013 at Burton Manor (www.burtonmanor.net) in Livonia, Mich.First given in the year 2000, the award recognizes the technical achievements of individuals whose work – in research, design, and/or engineering, etc. – has led to significant integration of polymeric materials on passenger vehicles. Past winners include:
- J.T. Battenberg III, former chairman and chief-executive officer of Delphi Corp.;
- Bernard Robertson, then executive vice-president of DaimlerChrysler;
- Robert Schaad, chairman of Husky Injection Molding Systems, Ltd.;
- Tom Moore, retired vice-president, Liberty and Technical Affairs at then DaimlerChrysler;
- Mr. Shigeki Suzuki, general manager – Materials Division, Toyota Motor Co.;
- Barbara Sanders, retired director-Advanced Development & Engineering Processes, Delphi Corp.;
- Josh Madden, retired executive at General Motors Corp. (GM) & Volkswagen of America;
- Frank Macher, former CEO of Collins & Aikman Corp., Federal Mogul Corp., and ITT Automotive;
- Irv Poston, retired head of the Plastics (Composites) Development-Technical Center, GM.;
- Allan Murray, Ph.D., retired technology director at Ford Motor Co.;
- David (Dave) B. Reed P.E., retired staff engineer, Product Engineering, GM; and
- Gary Lownsdale, P.E., chief technology officer, Plasan Carbon Composites.
Roy Sjöberg spent 25 years at General Motors Corp. (GM), beginning as a designer and engineer and later moving on to the position of vehicle development manager for then-Corvette chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov. He worked on several areas of the Chevrolet Corvette, including its innovative fiberglass composite body panels. Sjöberg also was instrumental in developing the 1975 Chevrolet MonzaÒ bumper fascia in polyurethane reaction-injection molding (PUR-RIM) the first high-volume application of that material/process, which incidentally won an SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition Grand Award as well as the Monza front end in glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite.Furthermore, he was involved in development of molded-in-color (MIC) polyethylene front filler panels on Chevrolet CamaroÒ and Monza vehicles, as well as the first MIC blow molded rear spoiler for the Chevrolet CavalierÒ sedan.
Joining Chrysler Corp. in 1985, Sjöberg spent the next 12 years of his career there. Initially he was chief engineer on the Composite Intensive Vehicle Program working on resin-transfer molding (RTM) for structural bodies. From 1987 to 1988, he and top composites leaders from GM (Irv Poston) and Ford Motor Co. (Peter Beardmore) championed the formation of the Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC), which is a joint-development effort of the Big Three U.S. automakers in precompetitive areas in this case, for structural composites. Success of the ACC led to creation of 17 other consortia on various automotive topics, as well formation of an umbrella organization that today is known as the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), an organization that is still actively contributing to the success of automotive research.
Sjöberg also became chief engineer-Materials Engineering, and later was named executive engineer-Viper Project, where he was responsible for designing, developing, prototyping, testing, and eventually manufacturing one of the most exciting sports cars Chrysler ever built: the Dodge Viper. While working on that program, Sjöberg was involved in numerous technology innovations, including the RTM body panels, the all-composite instrument panel surround, the composite roof, the composite door surround, and the composite spare-tire underbody rear clip, to name a few.
In 1992, the Viper sports car won the SPI Composite Institute’s Counterpoise Grand Design award for highest achievement in the use of composite materials. Sjöberg and the Viper team won many national and international racing championship awards including the FIA Championships, the American LeMans Series, and the 2003 VGX. And the “Platform Team Concept” developed during the Viper Project under Sjöberg’s leadership became the company-wide “mantra” in later years at Chrysler. Last year, SPE Automotive Division recognized Chrysler Group LLC’s Viper team with a Vehicle Engineering Team Award (VETA) for all the plastics and composites innovations on the 2013MY SRT Viper sports car, and Sjöberg was invited ge to receive recognition for his contributions to that vehicle’s design and development.
Since retiring from Chrysler, Sjöberg has kept active. Under the name Team R-Squared S LLP, he has consulted with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a low-cost airframe project, and he has consulted for Ferrari S.p.A. on the Maserati program for homologation / vehicle development for U.S. sales. He also is a notable keynote speaker on engineering, team building, and leadership topics to such organizations as SAE International (founded as the Society of Automotive Engineers), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), ASME (founded as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers), the American Society for Quality (ASQC), and SPE. He has served as a Blue Ribbon judge for the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition for over a decade, and still is very active as a judge at the Concourse D’Elegance for the Amelia Island Concours, Glenmoor Gathering, & St. Ignace car shows, and many more.
Further, Sjöberg is a Sloan (School) senior executive alumnus from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned BSME and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan. He holds six U.S. and international patents three in the area of plastic parts. He is a lifelong supporter of vehicle development, innovation, and ingenuity and American leadership in the global automotive industry. He is married, has four grown children and eight grandchildren, and formed as well as is a current board member of the Friends of Inland Lakes Schools Inc., a community foundation promoting educational opportunities for local students.
“Throughout my career,” says Sjöberg, “My personal philosophy was always ‘If it needs to be done, I will make it happen.’ I didn’t wait around for someone else to tell me what needed to be done. I looked at the situation, figured out what was needed, and then I just did it. I mentored my Chrysler teams the same way. I always prefer to be an entrepreneur rather than an ‘observer’ in my work and in my life.” He says he will focus his acceptance speech on how this philosophy can be applied to future challenges for the plastics industry.
On November 6, Sjöberg will be honored for his significant contributions to automotive composites and plastics at this year’s SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala starting with the VIP Cocktail Reception at 4:30 p.m., generously sponsored by Ticona Engineering Polymers. At 5:00 p.m. the main exhibit area will open for general admission and guests can review this year’s Automotive Innovation Awards part nominations, as well as enjoy the specialty and antique vehicles that are always a highlight of the show. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the awards program itself will last from 7:00-9:00 p.m. For those who wish to extend merrymaking and networking activities, the ever-popular Afterglow – also sponsored by Ticona – will run from 9:00-11:00 p.m.
SPE’s Automotive Innovation Awards Program is the oldest and largest competition of its kind in the world. Dozens of teams made up of OEMs, tier suppliers, and polymer producers submit nominations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle and why it merits the claim as the Year’s Most Innovative Use of Plastics. This annual event typically draws over 700 OEM engineers, automotive and plastics industry executives, and media. As is customary, funds raised from this event are used to support SPE educational efforts and technical seminars, which help educate and secure the role of plastics and composites in the advancement of the automobile.
The mission of SPE is to promote scientific and engineering knowledge relating to plastics worldwide and to educate industry, academia, and the public about these advances. SPE’s Automotive Division is active in educating, promoting, recognizing, and communicating technical accomplishments for all phases of plastics and plastic based-composites developments in the global transportation industry. Topic areas include applications, materials, processing, equipment, tooling, design, and development.
For more information about the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition and Gala or to download nomination forms and rules for this year’s competition, please see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa,For more information on the Society of Plastics Engineers or other society events, visit the SPE website at www.4spe.org