Recognizing Greatness in the Engineering World

Annual awards from SAE International acknowledge those in the mobility industry and adjacent industries.

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Written by: SAE International

At the turn of the twentieth century, the automobile industry absolutely exploded. Auto companies were popping up everywhere, cars were becoming more prevalent and life was changing. Alongside this major boom, SAE International was born. As membership grew rapidly through the 1900s, the organization began doing more and more to benefit those in the automotive and engineering industries. Educational programs, technical meetings and papers, and regular industry updates were just part of SAE International’s scope of work.

SAE International wanted to be sure that those contributing to their society would be known for their hard work. The SAE Awards program was launched to distribute physical awards, honorariums and prestige to the engineering community. Still dedicated to connecting engineering professionals and acknowledging technological advancements in the mobility industry, SAE continues to award and recognize incredible people and products.

Today, SAE International organizes annual awards for those in the mobility industry and adjacent industries. Though the SAE Awards program has changed over the years to keep up with changes in the industry and latest innovation, recognizing incredible people has always been the priority. No matter the age, experience level or position; there is likely an SAE award relative to your professional career.

Through awards such as the Rodica Baranescu Award for Technical & Leadership Excellence and the J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders, SAE International recognizes the women making great strides for the industry.

Through awards such as the Rodica Baranescu Award for Technical & Leadership Excellence and the J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders, SAE International recognizes the women making great strides for the industry.

Historically, professional awards like those given by SAE International have been fundamental steppingstones to the next level of a person’s career. Awards have shown colleges and universities what kind of student would be coming to their school, or have pushed a current professional towards that next big promotion or conference. Not only this, but nominees are able to build new, or strengthen existing relationships through the award nomination process. Many awards require individuals to be nominated by a colleague, professor, etc., bringing a more personal level to the interactions that may have been formerly strictly career related.

Former award winners include CEOs and executives at major mobility organizations, top college engineering faculty and staff, incredible young professionals making strides early in their career and more. From John Deere to the University of Toledo to the U.S. Army, nominees for SAE Awards bring people together from all over the country and world.

Celebrating the Winners Among Us

Each year, SAE International hosts the SAE Awards Ceremony at SAE’s World Congress Experience (WCX). Just this past April, SAE held the ceremony and announced the winners for over 15 awards ranging from the Arnold W. Siegel Humanitarian Award to the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. In addition to these awardees, students were presented with scholarships provided by SAE International to help begin and further their college careers.

One of SAE’s most prestigious awards for its members is the SAE Medal of Honor. This award, created in 1986, recognizes an individual’s overall contribution to SAE International’s success. This year, Alan Nye, Ph.D. was presented the award, following Pranab Saha, Ph.D. from 2021.

Nye, the Associate Department Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been a member of SAE International for over 40 years. Throughout this time, he has focused on student opportunities, a reflection of his dedication to ensuring great education for young professionals. Nye founded and grew the Rochester Institute of Technology’s SAE student chapter and encouraged students to get involved with SAE International in other ways as well. Additionally, he’s also served terms on various SAE boards and committees.

Nye isn’t the first SAE Medal of Honor recipient that’s changed the engineering world as a whole. In 2018, Gregory E. Saunders was awarded the Medal. Saunders, then the Director of the Defense Standardization Program Office for the US Department of Defense, had huge involvement with SAE. Like Nye, Saunders chaired multiple boards and was involved with various programs presented by SAE International over the 25+ years he’d been a member by that time.

Though we’ve made great strides throughout the years, the engineering field continues to be male dominated. Through awards like the Rodica Baranescu Award for Technical & Leadership Excellence and the J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders, SAE International is sure to recognize the women making great strides for the industry.

Amy Grace, Director of F135 Digital Strategy at Pratt & Whitney, was awarded the J. Cordell Breed Award earlier this year. Amy’s peers recognized the strength that she has in managing her career while mentoring younger engineers that are up and coming. In her day-to-day job, Amy manages the F135 lifecycle including development, implementation and growth. Embodying the essence of what SAE considers leadership, Amy Grace is an inspiration to future SAE Award nominees.

Leadership Begins as a Student

The SAE Awards program is not just for established professionals. SAE International recognizes that students can have just as much of an impact as those who have been working in the industry for years. SAE Student awards are awarded much like professional awards, but for a few different reasons. Some are awarded based on student participation in SAE sponsored programming (A World in Motion; Collegiate Design Series), such as the Honeywell Outstanding Collegiate Chapter Award. On the other hand, the Henry O. Fuchs Student award considers a student’s full scope of work, summarized through a nomination from a professor or colleague.

These students, alongside their peers, go on to change the world as we know it. From elementary participants in STEM programs to scholarship recipients to potentially the next Medal of Honor winner, SAE International continues to support these individuals as they move through each level of their career.

SAE Student award winners in 2022.

SAE Student award winners in 2022.

As the engineering world changes every single day, SAE International continues to award long-term engineers and up-and-coming professionals through their awards program. With such an important history, SAE International remains focused on innovation and strives to recognize groundbreaking people and products as they prove their power in our everyday lives. No matter the industry, recognition has always been a vital part of career growth and professional development. From pop stars to engineers to chefs, awards build excitement, prestige and offer reassurance that what you are doing is impacting the world in a positive way.

To learn more about SAE awards and their history, check out