Abey leads DuckerFrontier’s automotive and materials practice. He directs multiple client engagements in technology trend assessment, competitive analysis, voice of customer, market size and segmentation, and data modeling. Abey has almost 15 years of experience in the automotive materials space, understanding key drivers and strategic elements of lightweighting, materials substitution, and joining. His expertise lies in aluminum—in sheet/FRP, castings, extrusions, forgings, and steel—sheet products from mild carbon steel through UHSS (ultra-high-strength steel) grades such as Gen3 steels, magnesium castings, and carbon and glass composites. Prior to joining DuckerFrontier, he held positions with US Airways Corporation and CDW Corporation in account management, strategy, and business and product development. Abey is currently on the board of the Society of Automotive Analysts and on the editorial advisory board for Lightweighting World Magazine. He is also an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Abey holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University.
President & Founder
Automotive Aluminum Advisors
Mr. Beavers began his career in the aluminum industry more than 15 years ago in Government Affairs in Alcoa's Defense business located at the Alcoa Technical Center. There he held responsibility for trade and with the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense and defense primes to secure government funding and launch advanced lightweight research and development programs. He then moved into Alcoa's automotive business where he led several aluminum body sheet accounts with U.S., German and Asian OEMs. Beavers later joined Aleris where he advanced to lead and manage North American automotive sales by overseeing several top OEM customers. While at Aleris, he had a central role in helping develop the direction and strategy of the North American automotive business in terms of production capability, product development and qualification, downstream supply chain, commercial strategy, and winning and launching new programs. He participates in several automotive research and supplier trade organizations.
Michael Bull is President of AlFCC13.Inc, a consulting firm specializing in the physical and process metallurgy of aluminum alloys, with a particular interest in automotive applications. Prior to his retirement from Novelis/Alcan after 36 years, he was the Senior Manager for Automotive Technology, North America. During his time with Novelis/Alcan he was fortunate to work on many automotive projects, including many of the well-known Aluminum Intensive Vehicles (AIVs), numerous closure and structure programs in Europe, NA and Japan. During this time, he participated in or led the development of many of the alloys and plant production processes to produce the sheet products currently in use by numerous OEMs. He is past chairman of the technical committee for the Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) within the Aluminum Association. This group seeks to promote aluminum as an effective, safe, and environmentally friendly, lightweight material for automotive and other transportation applications. His formal background is in material science focusing on deformation behavior.
University of Waterloo, Forming & Crash Lab
Ford Global Key Account Manager
Bill Cameron of TOX Pressotechnik has an extensive automotive experience spanning 43 years and currently serves as the Ford Global Key Account Manager for TOX. The first part of his career was in metal forming, die development and developing production processes for production assembly. His educational experience was unique in that he first completed an apprenticeship as a metal model maker gaining hands on experience ranging from metal forming and shaping techniques such as hammer forming, and material manipulation using tools such as English wheels, shinker-stretchers and other manual forms of metal shaping. After his apprenticeship graduation he continued with his education graduating with a manufacturing engineering degree. He filled many roles in his career including die development engineer, developing draw dies for many different materials, finite element analysis development including high strength materials such as dual phase as that material became available along with aluminum stampings, and director of engineering for a large die build company in the Detroit area. Following that he has spent the last 13 years with TOX Pressotechnik putting his past experience to use helping customers solve complex assembly applications including those involving aluminum and ultra high strength steel assemblies.
Light Metal Consultants, LLC
Mr. Chappuis graduated with a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Lausanne and added a MS in Engineering Management from Wayne State University – Detroit, MI. He has spent his entire career in fields related to automotive manufacturing, with an emphasis in computer modeling and aluminum sheet. Mr. Chappuis spent 5 years developing discrete events simulation tools for a machine tool supplier, then 2 years developing real time control systems. He joined Ford Motor Company’s Stamping Engineering to chair the stamping simulation development team. For the next 30 years, he worked on advanced projects development and implementation, ranging from FEA programs to
CAE methods and advanced materials. He was privileged to be involved in all of Ford’s projects on aluminum autobody sheet, leading the development of modern aluminum closures in the early 1990’s, and being the stamping engineering lead on the Aluminum Intensive Vehicle project. He supported the development and launch of the 2004 Jaguar XJ, the group’s first aluminum intensive production vehicle. Afterwards, Mr. Chappuis returned to stamping CAE, focusing on methods standardization and support of die engineering towards a fully computed die face, ready for machining. During this period, he maintained his activities as Lightweight Stamping Technical Expert, participating in studies exploring potential aluminum programs. Mr. Chappuis was the aluminum body sheet expert on the 2015 F-150 program from inception to
production, serving as architect of the aluminum sheet eco-system. He lead the development of recycling focused material specifications which allow Ford to maintain a closed loop recycling system with the aluminum mills, handling the equivalent of more than 37,000 new F-150 each month.
Judson Delancey IV
Mr. Delancey is a leader in the field of automotive metal pretreatment technology. Most recently, he serves as an application specialist on the North American Field Technical Service team for BASF/Chemetall. He is responsible for high level technical support in Chemetall’s surface treatment segment, specifically automotive, automotive components and coil. Previously, he was a Project Manager in Chemetall’s Aluminum Intensive Vehicles segment. He is responsible for automotive aluminum pretreatment for the purpose of welding and bonding for all OEMs. His largest professional accomplishment to date has been successfully launching the aluminum intensive Ford F-150/250/350 and Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator bonding programs to all of Ford’s aluminum suppliers.
Vice President - Research
Center for Automotive Research
Kristin Dziczek is Vice President of Industry, Labor & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). Dziczek joined CAR in 2005, and has more than 25 years of experience as a researcher and policy analyst. She is globally recognized as an expert on automotive labor, employment, and talent issues, especially on the topic of labor union relations and contracts, and she regularly presents at conferences and industry events throughout North America. Kristin leads the Business team—a group whose expertise includes economic analysis, forecasting & modeling, policy, and economic development. The team’s research portfolio is focused on developing a better understanding of the connections between the automotive industry, technology, the economy, society, and public policy, and is home to CAR’s Automotive Communities Partnership program. Kristin’s research includes analyzing the competitive cost position of the U.S. automotive industry, and evaluating how different tax, trade, or industrial policies and incentives could impact overall automotive sales, production, and employment.Prior to joining CAR, Kristin served as the associate director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and has worked for the U.S. Congress, International Union UAW, and General Motors Corporation. She has published articles in the Monthly Labor Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, the Journal of Technology Transfer, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, among others. She earned her B.A. in economics, M.P.P. in public policy, and M.S. in industrial and operations engineering, all from the University of Michigan.
Director of Industry Sales
Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT)
Narsimhan Raghunahtan, Ph.D
Touchstone Testing Lab, LLC
Dr. Narsimhan Raghunathan is a metallurgical engineer by education and profession. He has more than three decades of material and product development experience in major fortune 500 corporations like Alcoa, Hoogovens Steel NS and Arconic. During his tenure at Alcoa, he participated in the development of applications of aluminium for autobody structures, technically and commercially. He managed operations supplying extruded and cast aluminum alloy parts for various European automotive companies, and he has broad experience in various automotive part manufacturing and qualification processes. During his tenure at Hoogovens Steel, he led the development of aluminum and high strength steel closure panels for automotive and truck applications. He also established the product development center at the corporate laboratory in the Netherlands to support automotive and aerospace market development initiatives. During his tenure at Arconic, he was involved in the development of processes for manufacturing long life turbine blades for power generation and jet engines. He also served as corporate consultant to the chief technology officer and business unit executives at Arconic on technology and market strategy. Dr. Raghunathan currently heads Touchstone Testing Lab, LLC located in Triadelphia, West Virginia, where he overseas materials and product testing for aerospace, automotive, medical and energy markets. He has broad knowledge in the production and use of steel, aluminum, titanium, nickel-based alloys, and polymer composite parts for automotive and aerospace for original equipment applications.
Applications & Field Engineering
Automotive Aluminum Advisors
Mr. Strugala has more than 30 years of experience in aluminum and steel automotive body sheet solutions.
Most recently, he served as lead application engineer on the Ford account at Arconic, formerly Alcoa, overseeing the launch of the all-aluminum F-150 as part of his focus on assisting automakers with launching aluminum intensive vehicles. In addition to Arconic/Alcoa, Mr. Strugala's extensive automotive experience spans General Motors and National Steel. His prior roles include application engineering, field service, sheet metal forming and formability analysis, failure analysis, 8-D analysis and mechanical testing labs.
Materials & Manufacturing Engineering Leader
Abhay (Abe) Vadhavkar specializes in manufacturing engineering, operational efficiency, and program management. He recently retired as the Director of Materials & Manufacturing Technology (MMT) at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). He has over 40 years of experience in automotive product engineering, manufacturing engineering, systems, and processes. Abe led the MMT group, whose research explores evolving technologies and manufacturing engineering systems, primarily in the automotive industry. Topics include tooling development, metallic and non-metallic material joining for lightweighting, new manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing, and product development. Prior to CAR, Abe worked at Ford in many progressive roles, including Supplier Technical Assistance (STA) where he worked with Tier 1 and Tier 2 stampers, casters, metals, instrument panels, fasteners, lubricants, and others. He was responsible for ensuring that over 280 key suppliers in the US, Canada, and Mexico, had robust and capable manufacturing systems necessary to maintain pace with Ford’s program launch and steady-state production plans. Abe held multiple positions within Ford ranging from Materials Lab Manager, Chief Engineer for Body Exterior, and Senior Launch Manager for Stamping Engineering. Prior to Ford, he also held positions at FCA and General Motors Corporation. Abe received a Master of Business Administration at Michigan State University, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Master of Science in Automotive Engineering at Chrysler Institute and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma State University.
Material Joining Manager
Gestamp Autotech Engineering R&D USA Inc.
Dr. WeiJie Zhang is the material joining manager at the Gestamp R&D Center North America in Auburn Hills Michigan. At Gestamp, he leads the research and development of aluminum laser welding. Dr. Zhang holds a PhD in welding engineering from the University of Kentucky. His prior roles and experiences include a variety of fusion, solid-state and mechanical joining technologies and joining assembly engineering of aluminum applications in the automotive industry. Dr. Zhang has published over 29 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, holds a couple of patents, co-authored a book and contributed to a number of American Welding Society standards. Dr. Zhang has also served as a principal reviewer for the Welding Journal published by the American Welding Society.