An engineering professor atWest Virginia Universitywill become the next president of the organization whose name, SAE , is emblazoned on most of the motor oil and other automotive products sold in North America, if not the world.

James E. Smith, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will serve as the next president of SAE International. A faculty member of the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resourcessince 1984, he will be the fourth president to come from academia in SAE history.

I am grateful for the confidence that SAE International has placed in me,Smith said,and proud to represent West Virginia University on the international level in this position. Im excited to get started.

We are proud to have a WVU engineering faculty member leading such an important organization as SAE International,said Gene Cilento, dean of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.His selection is an honor to us all and a testament to the high quality of the faculty in our college and University.

Although Smiths term as president will not officially begin until January, the WVU professor will spend much of the next six months attending meetings and conferences, interacting with government and industry officials and otherwise preparing to take SAE s helm. He will serve as SAE president throughout 2009. WVU sDepartment of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineeringwill release Smith from some of his teaching duties so he can carry out his SAE responsibilities, but the professor will remain an active member of the University faculty during the year, Cilento said.

Originally known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE International sets standards for a wide variety of products and processes in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries. Its standards are widely followed throughout the world.

When people see SAE on a product,said Smith,they can be confident that it meets certain established standards of safety, uniformity and effectiveness. What some people may not understand is all the work that goes into developing those standards and promoting their adoption by industry.

Smith has been an active member of SAE for 23 years and served on the organizations board of directors from 2005-08. He also served on SAE s engineering meetings board and technical standards board, and he was a liaison to its publication board. Additionally, he worked with the SAE Convergence Program Office and served as general chair of the 14th Asia Pacific Automotive Engineering Conference in 2007.

Smith was named an SAE Fellowin 2007. Fellowship is the highest grade of membership issued by the society, recognizing outstanding engineering and scientific accomplishments resulting in meaningful advances in automotive, aerospace and commercial vehicle technology. Smith also received the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award and the Forest R. McFarland Award for Service, both from SAE .

In addition to teaching at WVU , Smith is the director of the UniversitysCenter for Industrial Research Applications(CIRA). At CIRA , he leads faculty and students in interdisciplinary research in a wide variety of high-tech research projects.

My students are working on everything from building a better kind of blade for helicopters to coming up with a heat transfer system that can be used to cool military shelters in the deserts of the Middle East,Smith said.CIRA is heavily focused on serving the state of West Virginia by educating young engineers and by collaborating with business, government and industry to meet their technology needs.

Smith is widely respected for his advanced technology solutions and innovative design concepts and numerous contributions to science and engineering. He has received 25 U.S. patents with more than 26 pending. The WVU professor has also published 141 peer-reviewed conference papers, along with numerous journal articles and papers on engine mechanism design, medical and energy technologies, alternative fuels and other topics. Smith has been the principal or co-principal investigator for 90 research contracts, generating more than $16.9 million in funding for various projects supported by federal agencies, international corporations and West Virginia companies.

Smith, a native of Clendenin, earned his bachelors and masters degrees in aerospace engineering and a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from WVU . He joined the University faculty in 1984.

WVU sCollege of Engineering and Mineral Resourcesis dedicated to the development of engineering practice, science and research. It offers degrees at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels, with 10 engineering and computer science undergraduate programs accredited by ABET , the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology. The colleges academic departments offer undergraduate majors and dual majors in engineering specialties, computer science and biometric systems.

SAE Internationalhas 115,000 members in 100 nations. The organization provides lifelong learning opportunities for members and professionals by hosting 23 conferences a year, publishing over 3,000 technical papers a year, sponsoring numerous seminars and providing access to industrial and academic research. The organization also publishes numerous print and electronic publications, including engineering magazines, technical papers and books.