SAE International Looks to Future Talent at 2014 World Congress


Calling all millennials: SAE International will include programming catered to young professionals at its upcoming SAE 2014 World Congress & Exhibition, to be held April 8-10 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The activities, including mentoring opportunities and career development sessions, aim to introduce recent graduates to the automotive industry, says Patti Kreh, manager of the organization’s engineering events.

“Like many industries, the automotive industry has an aging (workforce),” Kreh says. “And engineers coming out of school today have a lot of choices. So we have to showcase the automotive industry as a leading technology industry.”

As part of the young professionals program, established industry experts will participate in a panel discussion and lunch, allowing young professionals to ask questions in an open-forum setting. In another session, Dennis Mannion, president and CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, will discuss the importance of personal brands.

Kreh adds keynote speakers will consider the impact of the younger generation on the future of the automotive sector. Peter Phleps of the Institute for Mobility Research at BMW Group, will discuss how increasing multi-modal mobility patterns of young adults and other factors are leading to a decline in passenger travel, while Myles Kovacs, president and co-founder of DUB magazine, will provide insight into what today’s youth are looking in vehicles.

“In the auto industry, we’re thinking about our vehicles and what our customers want,” Kreh says. “(Kovacs) is going to come at the discussion from a totally different mindset and tell us what the urban, digitally connected youth market wants.”

Another new addition to this year’s conference is the launch of a mobile app that will help attendees determine which sessions to attend as well as how to navigate Cobo Center, which has nearly completed $300 million in renovations and enhancements, including the new Riverview Ballroom and conference rooms.

Other subjects of discussion at this year’s event — which is expected to bring out more than 10,000 engineers and attendees from 50 different countries — include cyber security, fuel economy, and safety, Kreh says.

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