Susan Smyth, Ph.D., FSME
Chief Scientist for GM Manufacturing
Director, Manufacturing Systems Research Lab., GM R&D
Dr. Susan Smyth is the Chief Scientist for Global Manufacturing at General Motors and the Director of the GM R&D Manufacturing Systems Research Lab. In this capacity, she directs the creation of GM's global advanced manufacturing strategies and oversees innovation and implementation of GM's advanced manufacturing portfolio. Susan is recognized as one of GM's key strategic technology leaders inside and outside General Motors.
Susan was appointed in 2013 to the Manufacturing Council. During Susan’s first term, she served as the Vice-Chair for the Innovation, Research and Development Subcommittee. She is also an active participant to various governmental, industrial and academic boards/committees:
- GM Executive Representative and Chair of the Manufacturing Technology Leadership Council at the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR, the preeminent American organization for pre-competitive automotive technology)
- International Director for the Executive Board of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
- Member of Northwestern’s MMM Executive Governance Council (Kellogg School of Management)
- Executive Advisor to the Tennenbaum Institute and Georgia Tech. Manufacturing Institute
- Director of Collaborative Research Laboratories at University of Michigan, MIT and Shanghai Jiao-Tong University (China)
In her role as Chief Manufacturing Scientist and Director of Manufacturing R&D, Susan is responsible for advanced technologies research and development in following areas:
- Forming and joining technologies for light-weighting materials
- Manufacturing technologies for vehicle electrification ranging from motors to batteries on programs such as the Chevrolet Volt
- Plant floor system optimization
- Virtual Manufacturing
- Flexible automation and robotics (e.g., GM-NASA Robonaut initiative) with a focus on vehicle manufacturing applications
She has aggressively grown GM’s global collaboration footprint in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, Korea and China. Susan’s teams have garnered an unprecedented number of internal GM Corporate Innovation Awards and external recognitions such as the 2009 and 2010 Korean President’s Award for Technology; the 2009 Award for Outstanding Regional partnership by the Federal Laboratory consortium for Technology transfer and the 2010 NASA group achievement award.
Susan began her career with General Motors as a Senior Project Engineer with the Advanced Engineering staff. Since then she has held a variety of leadership positions in manufacturing, quality, strategic business planning and R&D.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, a Masters of Science degree in optoelectronics and information technology, and a doctorate in physics from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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