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Who We Are

We inspire, prepare and support the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent through our Student Summit event series, SME PRIME® initiative, and Student Scholarship program. 

Why is Manufacturing Education Important?

We understand that manufacturing is key to economic growth and prosperity and that a manufacturing talent shortage and skills gap threatens both. Without a spirited, highly skilled workforce, manufacturing – and the global population who rely upon it – will suffer.




Showcasing student-centric programming at SME events 




Introducing a tailored curriculum in high schools across the country




Providing annual scholarship opportunities to students in high school and college


New Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative

The SME Education Foundation announced a renewed and focused commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with the creation of a new scholarship fund for underrepresented young people and enhanced focus on offering opportunities to underrepresented and disadvantaged communities throughout the SME PRIME network.
Our Work in Action History Leadership

We are Leaders in Manufacturing Education

The SME Education Foundation is the leading voice in manufacturing education. As the philanthropic arm of SME, we continue to significantly impact students, educators and companies nationwide.

Help us shape the future of the manufacturing workforce. There are many opportunities to get involved. Join us at a Student Summit, get involved with the PRIME Program, or learn about our many scholarship opportunities. 


Student Summits

We help inspire the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent is through our Student Summit Series at SME events across the country featuring student-centric programming, hands-on challenges and competitions, technology demonstrations, and more.

Learn About Summits

SME Prime

PRIME Program

We help prepare the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent by partnering with companies from all kinds of manufacturing industries to inform and provide modern equipment, tailored curriculum, and hands-on training to high schools across the country.

Learn About PRIME



We support the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent by awarding scholarships to high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students with degrees in manufacturing or engineering every year.


Learn About Scholarships



Connect with the SME Education Foundation

Stay up-to-date on what's happening with the foundation, the PRIME Program, upcoming student summits, scholarship opportunities and more.

past-presidents-cta-full-width.jpgFounded in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million in grants, scholarships and awards and has supported student outreach and education programs through its partnerships with corporations, foundations, organizations as well as individual donors.

The SME Education Foundation draws upon SME's almost 90-year history and thought leadership in manufacturing-focused conference and events, media production, and training and workforce development - as well as its international membership - to attract and develop a skilled manufacturing workforce. 

Learn More about our History


Foundation Staff Board of Directors Past Presidents


Joe Kann

Joseph A. "Joe" Kann
Cobble Creek Solutions

Frank Ervin

Frank W. Ervin III
Piston Group LLC
Vice President

John Miller

John F. Miller
Siemens Digital Industries Software
Secretary/ Treasurer

Adam Claytor

Adam Claytor
Coltrane Logistics


Valerie Freeman

Valerie I. Freeman
Washington Park High School

Wayne Frost

Wayne F. Frost, LSME, CMfgE
Deer & Co. (retired)

Andrew Jones

Andrew M. "Andy" Jones
Seizert Capital Partners

Robby Komljenovic

Robby Komljenovic


Arthur McClellan Jr.

Arthur F. McClellan Jr.
Lear Corporation

Chris Rake

Chris Rake

Kyle Riegel

Kyle Riegel
Schunk Carbon Technology

Joe Tate

Joseph A. "Joe" Tate
Michigan House of Representatives


Marion Wells

Marion Wells
Human Asset Management

Meghan West

Meghan West
CNC Software Inc.

The SME Education Foundation has benefited from direction and oversight from experienced, committed leadership. The advocacy, direction and ability of our Presidents has built awareness and enhanced academic opportunities for students at every level; we are grateful for their service.



iriving mcphail

Irving P. McPhail, EdD*

kathy burnham

Kathy Burnham
2016 - 2019

Brain Ruestow

Brian A. Ruestow
2013 - 2016

khalil taraman

Khalil S. Taraman*
2009 - 2011


glen pearson

Glen H. Pearson
2007 - 2008 & 2012 - 2013

sherril west

Sherril K. West
2004 - 2006

Saul Fenster

Saul K. Fenster

Raymond Adams

Raymond G. Adams
2000 - 2002


Eugene Nelson

Eugene M. Nelson
1998 - 1999

earl walker

Earl E. Walker*
1994 - 1997

frank riley

Frank J. Riley
1992 - 1993

reginald barrett

Reginald W. Barrett*
1988 - 1991


philip marsilius

Philip R. Marsilius
1984 - 1988

ralph cross

Ralph E. Cross
1980 - 1984

2019 Annual Report

The SME Education Foundation celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019, capping off four decades of giving to educational initiatives and STEM-related programming across the country. Today, the mission of the Foundation is as relevant as it was in 1979 -- perhaps more so. Last year saw tremendous growth and achievement, and we’re pleased to share our 2019 Annual Report with you.

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