The Board of Directors of the SPE Composites Division is made up of volunteers representing both industry and academia whose professional focus is on research in and/or use of composite materials in a broad range of industries and academic specialties. It is a goal of our board to provide member benefits and educational opportunities for the one-thousand SPE associates who selected D39-Composites as their interest group as part of their membership in the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Executive Committee

  Chair:  Michael Connolly                                      

Dr. Michael Connolly is the Chair for the SPE Composites Division where he also manages the Division website.  He will also serve as the Conference Chair for the 2014 SPE Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition.  Michael is employed at Huntsman Polyurethanes as Program Manager for Urethane Composites specializing in composite resin development, materials structure / property / process characterization and test-method development. He has worked for the company for 18 years providing support for polyurethane product development in the automotive, consumer, and industrial market segments.  Michael has spent a total of 30 years in materials development including basic research, polymer composites, thermoplastic polyurethanes and engineering thermoplastics, plus acoustic, energy absorbing, and structural foams.  Michael has authored or co-authored 12 papers on polyurethane composites at international conferences since 2005 and is holder of 2 patents. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a B.S. degree in Polymer Chemistry from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is a long-time member of the American Chemical Society (since 1982) and SPE (since 1992).  Michael has long been involved with SPE previously serving as Chair Elect and then Chair of the SPE Automotive Division and is a former director of that board. He was one of the original organizers of the SPE Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition (ACCE), serving as Sponsorship Chair (2001), Event Chair (2002) and Technical Program Chair (2003, 2004, and 2013). In addition, Michael is currently a member of the advisory board for the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composite Research at the Western University and he formerly chaired the American Plastic Council’s Automotive Roadmap Technical Committee. Michael was named an SPE Honored Service Member in 2013 and the Composites Person of the Year for 2012-2013 for the SPE Composites Division.

Keywords: Thermoset Composites, Polyurethanes, Structure-Property Characterization, Pultrusion, Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Reaction Injection Molding (RIM), Structural Foams, Automotive Structures, Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPUs)

  Past Chair and Communications Chair:  Andy Rich

The SPE Composites Division Past Chair and Communications Chair is Andy Rich, who is currently President and Principal researcher for Element 6 Consulting.  He most recently was a senior R&D Engineer at Plasan Carbon Composites. Andy has been making automotive composite parts since the late 1980s. He has been a prototyper, moldmaker, and has performed research on numerous composites manufacturing processes. He has worked for Solectria, Elva, Consulier, Mazda, Daewoo, DaimlerChrysler, and Plasan Carbon Composites. While at DaimlerChrysler, he worked closely with USCAR’s Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC), becoming chair of the Processing Committee and writing the Research Plan for the B-Pillar Project. He has also worked for 2 carbon nanotube companies – Hyperion Catalysis and Nanocyl – and received 2 patents for the dispersion of and use of carbon Nanotubes in carbon epoxy composites. As part of his research work at Plasan, Andy has developed studies of the resin transfer molding (RTM) process using several resin systems, braided impact beams, non-destructive testing, and has set up the company’s materials lab for internal evaluations. Andy holds an MBA and a Masters Degree in Manufacturing Engineering, both from Boston University.


Keywords: Automotive Composites, Carbon Fiber, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP), Epoxy, Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Autoclave Prepregs, Composite Body-in-White, Carbon Nanotubes, Nanocomposites

  Secretary:  Antoine Rios

The Secretary of the SPE Composites Division Board of Directors is Antoine Rios, who is a Senior Project & Consulting Engineer with The Madison Group, an organization he has worked for since 1999. The Madison Group specializes in engineering consulting and failure analysis for the plastics and composites industries. Antoine’s areas of expertise are: failure analysis, molding simulation, finite-element analysis (FEA) analysis, and design verification. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Polymer Engineering Center at The University of Wisconsin. Originally from Venezuela, Antoine is fluent in both Spanish and English. Antoine has also served as the Composites Division Chair from 2008 to 2010.


Keywords: Consulting, Finite-Element Analysis (FEA), Moldfilling Analysis, Design, Failure Analysis, Expert Witness

  Treasurer: Tim Johnson 

Tim Johnson, Director of MatterWorks LLC, is responsible for product and market development. Matterworks is an Industrial Materials Technology company specializing in nonwovens, polymers and composites. Tim is also President of TJohnsonLLC, providing independent consulting for clients developing composite materials and process automation.  
Tim has over thirty years of experience in composite materials and fiber processing. He has particular expertise in glass and carbon fiber production, textile processing including multiaxial fabric production, weaving, and nonwovens, as well as structural core materials including polymer honeycomb and foams, and fiber reinforced cores. He is a specialist of process technology and automation, instrumentation and control, composite structural analysis, and has a dozen related patents. Tim has served on the Composites Division Board of SPE since 1997.  Tim has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked in the past for Saint Gobain affiliates of Vetrotex, Brunswick Technologies, and Certainteed and also Zoltek, Nida-Core, WebCore, Ingersoll-Rand, and James Hunter Machine.

Keywords: Composite Cores, Honeycomb, Fiber-Reinforced Cores, Foam-Core Materials, Fiberglass Production, Carbon Fiber Production, Transformational Processing, Multiaxial Fabric Production 

  Councilor: Creig Bowland                   

Creig Bowland represents the SPE Composites Division as Councilor at Society of Plastics Engineers gatherings as well as serving as the 2014 ACCE Technical Program Chair.  Creig is Long-Fiber Thermoplastics (LFT) Technical Leader & Research Associate at PPG Industries, Inc. and has over 20 years’ experience in the design and production of composite materials for both aerospace and automotive markets. He has been involved in almost all aspects of the business, including materials design, production management, technical support, business development, and marketing. His area of expertise is the design and use of long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) composites for structural parts. Creig holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Colorado State University and an M.S. degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of New Mexico. He is the past chair of the SPE Composites Division, is currently event chair and also is a past technical program co-chair for the SPE ACCE.

Keywords: Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Fiberglass Reinforcements, Thermoplastic Resins, Sizing Chemistry, Structural Composites, Automotive Composites, Aerospace Composites 

Committee Chairs

John Busel: Intersociety

John Busel is Vice President, Composites Growth Initiative of American Composites Manufacturers Association. Mr. Busel’s focus is to promote composites through education and awareness to engineers, architects, and designers, as well as consumer and trade press. Mr. Busel leads industry programs in market expansion and development of new market opportunities for the composites industry. In the past, Mr. Busel’s activities were focused on developing the civil engineering and construction market by providing technical leadership to industry project teams. Mr. Busel has over 30 years of experience market development, composites design, tool design and engineering, manufacturing, and research and development of thermoset and thermoplastic composite materials. Mr. Busel was the Executive Director of the Market Development Alliance (MDA) of the FRP Composites Industry. He has held positions in engineering, tooling, research and manufacturing for Boeing Military Airplane Company-Wichita, Martin Marietta Aerospace, and Brunswick Composites. He was manager of market development with the SPI Composites Institute developing new markets for the composites industry and interfaced with government, academia, and industry on federally funded product development projects as a principal investigator. Mr. Busel is past Chairman of ACI Committee 440 - FRP Reinforcement, the largest committee in ACI. Mr. Busel holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Bradley University, and is a member of SPE, SAMPE, ASTM, American Concrete Institute (ACI), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Mr. Busel has authored numerous papers and spoken at construction industry events educating engineers, architects, designers, and promoting FRP composites to consumers and end-users. He is active on several standards development committees for FRP composites and has served on the editorial board for ASCE’s Journal of Composites for Construction.



  Jim Griffing: ANTEC TPC

Jim Griffing is Past-President of SPE International. He is also a Technical Fellow specializing in polymer and composite materials and processing for commercial airplanes at The Boeing Co. He is currently a Technology Focal in Boeing’s Product Development organization. He holds 3 patents for overhead stowage design and manufacturing techniques. Prior to joining Boeing’s Material & Process Technology organization in Seattle 25 years ago, Jim worked as a process engineer at Chemical Fabrics Corp. in Vermont for 2 years. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington. Jim also has served SPE as President-Elect, Senior Vice President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Chair of the Divisions Committee, Chair of the Council Committee of the Whole, Secretary of the International Committee, member of the Finance Committee, and member of the ANTEC committee. He has served the Composites Division of SPE as Councilor, ANTEC Technical Program Chair, ANTEC paper review committee member, and ANTEC session moderator.

Keywords: Thermoset Composites, Thermoplastic Composites, Aircraft Flammability, Aircraft Structures, Aircraft Interiors, Advanced Composites

  Membership Chair:  Ray Boeman 

As director of Energy Partnerships for the Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Boeman develops public private partnerships that match ORNL’s capabilities with industry needs and the nation’s energy challenges. He has been located in Southeast Michigan since February 2010. Prior to his current assignment, Boeman had responsibility for ORNL’s transportation research efforts, including R&D programs for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, Bioenergy Technologies Office, and Fuel Cell Technologies Office. Research areas for which he had responsibilities included fuels, engines, emissions, advanced power electronics, energy storage and materials.  Boeman also served as director of the National Transportation Research Center User Facility, a collaboration of ORNL and the University of Tennessee that houses one of America’s largest concentrations of transportation researchers, laboratories and development programs. Boeman is a founding board member of the United States Automotive Partnership for Advancing Research and Technologies (USAutoPARTs). He is currently working with stakeholders across the industrial value-chain, academia, and government on the formation of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). His efforts in IACMI are concentrated on establishing shared-infrastructure in southeast Michigan that provides companies, large and small, access to state-of-the-art, production scale processes for manufacturing affordable automotive composites at high volume. Since joining ORNL, Dr. Boeman has been a contributor to technology roadmaps and multiyear program plans as well as leading the establishment of unique technical capabilities and facilities. He lead the envisioning, proposal process, and project start-up of ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, the first open-access, pre-production scale facility of its kind. He was assigned for five years in Detroit, Michigan from 1999 to 2004 as DOE technical liaison to the Automotive Composites Consortium under the auspices of the United States Council for Automotive Research. In 2004-2005, Boeman served in the Vehicle Technologies Office in Washington, D.C, as technical coordinator to the director of the 21st Century Truck Partnership. Boeman holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has conducted research in diverse areas including: composite materials, fracture mechanics, adhesive bonding, photomechanics, mechanical properties, materials processing, damage mechanisms, and non-destructive evaluation.


  European Liaison:  Frank Henning

Dr. Frank Henning is currently European Liaison for the SPE Composite Division as well a full professor for Lightweight Technologies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (Fraunhofer ICT). He was a lecturer for composites at the Berufsakademie Mannheim from 1997 to 2008.Between 2001 and 2002 he was Deputy Director of Polymer Engineering at the Fraunhofer ICT. In 2002 he became Director of Polymer Engineering at the Fraunhofer ICT, and in 2005 he was appointed Head of the Competence Center for Automotive Light-Weight Solutions, which is a cooperation between the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and the University of Karlsruhe. Since 2008, he has been the CEO of KITe hyLITE – the Karlsruhe Innovation Cluster for Hybrid Light-Weight Solutions - which is a collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institutes ICT, IWM and LBF, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and partners from industry. In December 2008, Henning was appointed by KIT for a full professorship in light-weight technologies. At the beginning of 2009 he was also appointed Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology. Together with Prof. Drechsler, Prof. Henning he is responsible for the new high-performance composite team in Augsburg, which is a research group of the Fraunhofer ICT. In November 2010, Henning was appointed by the University of Western Ontario, Canada as an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. Also, he coordinates the Fraunhofer FUTURE “hybrid materials” for the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. He has more than 14 years of experience in applied research and has served several times as the Technical Program Co-Chair and once as the Technical Program Chair of the SPE ACCE, and has many times been a session moderator at the event.


Keywords: Thermoplastic Composites, Thermoset Composites, LightWeight Technologies, Automotive Structures, Automotive Interiors, Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Direct-LFT, (High-Pressure) Resin Transfer Molding RTM, Sheet-Molding Compound (SMC), Direct-SMC, Inline Compounding (ILC), Process Enhancements, Consultant, Automotive Composites.

  Newsletter Editor and Chief Caterer:  Pritam Das

The SPE Composite Division Newsletter Editor is Pritam Das who is also Project Manager (PMP) at Milgard Doors & Windows, where his current area of research / expertise includes pultrusion of polyurethane composites for thin profiles. Previously he worked at the National Composites Center and held positions from Program Manager to Composites Engineer. As a program manager, Pritam has led state and federal funded research programs in the field of composite materials for Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, State of Ohio, and Federal Transit Administration at the National Composite Center. Most of his publications and presentations concentrate around application development and surface appearance of thermoplastic composites using conventional processing technologies like extrusion-based compression molding, thermoforming, and pultrusion. Pritam has also served as the Technical Program Chair for the SPE Composites Division’s Composites on the Move conference and he has co-chaired technical sessions at the SPE ACCE. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from India’s National Institute of Technology, and a Masters of Science degree in Polymer Engineering from University of Akron.


Keywords: Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Pultrusion, Thermoset polyurethane, Thermoplastic Composites, State/Federal Funded Programs/Grants

  Awards Chair:  Ian Swentek

Ian Swentek is currently a research engineer with the Fraunhofer Project Center specializing in high pressure resin transfer moulding.  He recently received his doctorate from the University of Wester Ontario with a thesis on the fracture mechanics polymer composites.  While at Western, Ian held positions with the mechanical engineering department council and the graduate engineering society. Past work experience includes positions at General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, Talisman Energy, Siemens VDO Automotive, and Meridian Magnesium.


  Education Chair:  Uday Vaidya

Dr. Uday Vaidya is a Professor and Director-Engineered Plastics & Composites Group in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and also the Education Chair for the SPE Composites Division board. He holds a Mechanical Engineering with a focus of composites design and manufacturing from Auburn University and has over 25 years’ experience in the area of reinforced plastics and composites. He has a BS from Karnataka University and MS in Mechanical Design from Shivaji University with thesis in Aerospace Composite Structures, Indian Institute of Science. Uday heads UAB’s Composites activities, which focus on applications development and R&D for composites in transportation, automotive, body and vehicle protection, and ground, air and sea vehicles. His research has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and industry, among others. He also serves as the Director of the Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) center at UAB, which provides education on the design and manufacture of lightweight composites and bio-composites for transportation. His group also provides educational service to industry by offering short courses tailored to industry need. Uday serves on the editorial board of SAMPE Journal of Advanced Materials and he has authored a 420-page book entitled Composites for Automotive and Transportation. He has written over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the area of engineered plastics and composites. Uday and his group also host the Structural Composites for Defense, Transportation, Power Industry and Infrastructure Conference geared towards industry on a 2-year cycle.


Keywords: Composites Application Development, Thermoplastic Composites, Thermoset Composites, Design, Analysis, Durability, Non-Destructive Evaluation, Transportation Composites, Composites Research, Bio-Composites


  Aaron W. Bartel

Aaron W. Bartel holds a Bachelors of Materials Science and Engineering (B.Mat.S.E.) from the University of Minnesota and recently completed his Masters of Engineering in Professional Practice (MEPP) from the University of Wisconsin. After receiving his undergraduate degree in 2005 he moved to the Puget Sound region where he has worked at The Boeing Company in the Boeing Research & Technology organization for the last five and a half years. Aaron’s areas of expertise include thermoplastics and thermoplastic composite materials used for commercial airplanes. He is also well versed in a variety of Direct Digital Manufacturing technologies including selective laser sintering and fused deposition modeling using thermoplastic materials. Aaron is currently in the Composites Enabling Technologies group where he works with new thermoplastic composites and their applications in commercial aircraft. Aaron is currently the Membership Chair for both the Composites Division and Pacific Northwest Section of SPE. He has been a speaker and session co-chair at the Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) as well as a session moderator for both ACCE and ANTEC. He is the current Technical Program Chair (TPC) for the Composites Division at ANTEC 2011.

Keywords: Thermoplastics, Composites, Thermoplastic Composites, Aircraft Interiors, Aircraft Flammability, Direct Digital Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping 

  Dale Brosius 

Dale Brosius, who is the Immediate Past Chair for the SPE Composites Division, is the president of his own consulting company, and the President of Quickstep Composites LLC, the US subsidiary of Quickstep Technologies, an Australian company supplying patented out-of-autoclave technology for rapid curing of advanced composites. Since 1999, his consulting business has specialized in market analysis and development, strategic planning, and merger and acquisition assistance for companies in the composites industry. He started his career in 1979 as a manufacturing engineer for Dow Chemical, entering the composites field in 1984 as a sales engineer and later as market development manager for Dow's line of epoxies and vinyl ester resins. From 1987 to 1999, he served in various sales, market development, and general management roles for Fiberite and Cytec Fiberite, including assignments in Salt Lake City, Chicago, and France. His background includes experience with all thermosetting resins and every thermoset fabrication method, with particular emphasis on application development within the automotive, industrial and aerospace markets. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. A previous chair of the SPE Thermoset Division, he is active in the Composites and Automotive divisions, serving as Chair of the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) in 2006, 2007, and 2008.  Dale was recognized for his contributions to SPE by being named an Honored Service Member in 2009. Additionally, he has completed numerous market studies in the field of composites, and is an author of over 40 articles for Composites Technology and High-Performance Composites Magazines.


Keywords: Thermoset Composites, Thermoplastic Composites, Carbon Fiber Composites, Automotive Composites, Market Analysis, Market Development, Strategic Planning, Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP), Advanced Composites, Processing, Out-of-Autoclave Cure

  Dan Buckley

Dan Buckley is the Manager of Research & Development for American GFM. He has over 40 years’ experience in composites, plastics, and related fields. Dan received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts and is the author of more than 75 technical papers for domestic and international publication. He holds numerous patents in composites processing and related fields. In his current job, he is responsible for developing technology for the manufacturing of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), developing technology for high-speed manufacturing of components for Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells, and developing new process technology for the preforming of carbon fiber fabrics. Dan is a cofounder of the Composites Division of SPE, founder of the SPE Nano/Micro Molding special-interest group (SIG), past Chair of both the SPE Composites and Thermoset Divisions, and served 5 terms as a councilor for SPE International, three terms for the Thermoset Division and two terms for the Composites Division. Dan is also an Honored Service Member of SPE.


Keywords: Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes (SW-CNT), Fuel Cells, Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Thermoset Composites, Preforming, Carbon Fiber, Glass Fiber, Engineering Fabric Preforming

Richard Caruso

Rich Caruso is currently Global Marketing Director-Advanced Thermoplastic Composites for the Polystrand group of Gordon Holdings located in Englewood, CO focusing on use of these materials in transportation, aerospace, and infrastructure applications.  Rich has over 35 years experience in engineering, product and parket development and management of advanced composite materials and processes. He has extensive experience with composite materials and sandwich panel structures in military and commercial applications including development and analysis of materials for military and commercial aerospace structures, industrial and marine applications and recreational products.


Keywords:  Continuous-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites, Fiberglass Reinforcements, Sandwich Panels, Structural Composites, Automotive Composites, Aerospace Composites 

  Fred Deans

Fred Deans is Chief-Marketing Officer at Allied Composite Technologies as well as a licensed Professional Engineer with over 40 years of automotive, architectural, and industrial composites experience in sales & marketing, tech service, manufacturing, business development, and management. Fred is an expert in product evaluation, processing, and coordination of new product introductions and has significant experience assembling the teams required to launch new technologies. He counts his principal technical accomplishments as introducing monolithic tempered privacy glass for automotive SUVs, developing the first unidirectional GMT composites for new-generation automotive bumper systems, and managing new-generation long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) developments for off-road vehicles. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A. Fred is a director on SPE Composites and Automotive Division boards, has twice chaired the SPE ACCE conference, an SPE Honored Service Award winner, and has also been named the SPE Composites Person of the Year.


Keywords: Automotive, Architectural, Industrial, Application Development, Composites, Recycled Materials, Composites Processes, Glass-Mat Thermoplastic (GMT) Composites, Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Program Management, Business Development, Consulting, Licensed Professional Engineer, Honored Service Member, Composites Person of the Year

John W. Gillespie Jr.

John W. Gillespie Jr. has served the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM) in several roles since 1981, achieving the position of Director in 1996. Prof. Gillespie is the Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and he also holds joint appointments in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Gillespie has advised more than 90 graduate students and authored/co-authored more than 700 publications in composites science and technology including 13 book/book chapters, 15 patents, and more than 280 refereed journal papers and 400 proceeding papers.  Dr. Gillespie has led three Centers of Excellence and the University- Industry Consortium Application of Composite Materials to Industrial Products that has involved more than 300 small, medium and large companies in technology innovation and product development.  Dr. Gillespie has served as a member of the prestigious and influential National Research Council Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, and Chair of the National Materials Advisory Board Committee on High-Performance Structural Fibers for Advanced Polymer-Matrix Composites. Dr. Gillespie has been Editor of the Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials since 1993. He is Fellow of the American Society for Composites and Society of Manufacturing Engineers, first academic recipient of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Jud Hall Composites Manufacturing Award, the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Association Best of Show Award and the 2013 American Society for Civil Engineers Charles Pankow Manufacturing Award for Innovation.


  Klaus Gleich

Dr. Klaus Gleich works at the Technical Center of Johns Manville . He has more than 20 years experience in advanced materials development and processing and is well known for his expertise in long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) composites. Over the years, he has held key positions in materials, process and application development as well as in production of composites parts. He was involved in the development of LFT and direct-LFT (D-LFT) equipment as well. While at the Royal Dutch Shell Group (later Fibron Technology), Klaus was responsible for the development and production of LFT materials and for processing these materials into automotive parts, as well as for development of resin transfer molding (RTM) and reaction injection molding (RIM) parts. Later he joined Kannegiesser-KMH as Managing Director. After moving to the U.S., Klaus led the Polymer Composite Group at Southern Research Institute. At Johns Manville, he is involved in application development with customers as well as in the development of new products. Klaus received his Diploma in Chemistry at the University of Konstanz and in Economics at the Fernuniversity of Hagen. He received his Doctorate Degree in Chemistry at the University of Konstanz. Fluent in German and English, he is member of SPE and Deutsche Bunsen Gesellschaft. Klaus is a Past Chair of the SPE Composites Division board and has served in various positions such as Chair and Technical Program Chair for ANTEC and Chair and Session Moderator for ACCE.


Keywords: Thermoplastic Composites, Thermoset Composites, Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Direct-LFT (D-LFT) Composites, Reinforcements, Processing, Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)

  Dale Grove

Dr. Dale Grove has had a diverse background including foamed plastics for food packaging at Tekni-Plex, SBIR research at Resodyn, and filtration/nonwoven experiences at Johns Manville. In previous years, he was a Wet-Lay Nonwoven Expert at OwensCorning, serving on teams that implemented a high-speed wet-lay line at the company’s Danville, Ohio production facility. Before he joined OC in 1996, Dale worked for Azdel, Inc., where he scaled up shorter chopped fiber glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite products, improving the quality of such products and working on the preliminary stages of the company’s SuperLite lofted GMT product line. Dale began his career in 1989 at LNP Engineering Plastics where he led a team that developed long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) products. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Keywords: Long-Fiber Thermoplastic (LFT) Composites, Glass-Mat Thermoplastic (GMT) Composites, Thermoplastic Composites, Compression Molding, Wet-Lay / Nonwoven Expert

  Enamul Haque 

Dr. Enamul Haque holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University and did post-doctoral research at Case Western Reserve University.  Enamul is currently employed at GE Energy Management.  He started his industrial career at GenCorp’s Reinforced Plastics Division. After that, he joined AZDEL, Inc. – a long-term joint venture between GE Plastics and PPG Industries – where he served as Global Technology Manager. After AZDEL, Enamul worked at Owens Corning Automotive as Director-Application Innovations and Director of Innovations and Technology Development for Bostik, Inc. He holds 31 worldwide patents in transportation composites and has authored of 33 refereed publications in the field of composites. He is a certified Six-Sigma Champion and former Professional Project Manager (PMP). Additionally, Enamul is a Fellow of SPE. He has served the Composites Division of SPE as ANTEC and ACCE Technical Program Chair, paper-review committee member, and session moderator. He also serves as paper review committee member and session moderator for Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) conferences. 


Keywords: Thermoplastic Composites, Thermoset Composites, Adhesives & Sealants, Automotive Interiors, Six-Sigma, Open Innovation, Project Management 

  Tobias Potyra

Tobias Potyra is Awards Chair for the SPE Composites Division and leads efforts to evaluate candidates for the division’s annual Dow Composites Person of the Year Award and the Perkin-Elmer Award. He is Manager of Operations at the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composite Research at The University of Western Ontario (FPC@Western).  His research field is thermoset polymers, with focus on Sheet Moulding Compound. His main work is material and process development, especially in the field of Direct SMC as well as conventional SMC. Since 2007, Tobias has been responsible for all SMC activities within Fraunhofer ICT.  Since 2007 Tobias has been a member of the steering committee of the European Alliance for SMC/BMC.  At the 2008 ACCE, Tobias was awarded the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition scholarship for his work “New Direct Processing Technology for the Manufacturing of SMC Parts: Direct- SMC”.  As of 2011, Tobias is the group leader of the Canada group at Fraunhofer ICT. He relocated to London, ON in November 2011. 


Keywords: Thermoset Composites, Polymer Processing, SMC, Direct SMC, HP-RTM

  Nippani Rao 

The Chair of Inter- & Intra-Society activities for the SPE Composites Division is Nippani Rao, who recently retired from Chrysler LLC and is President of RAO Associates, a consulting company specializing in automotive plastics and composites. He has recently joined Global Composite Solutions as Director of Technology and Product Development. He also is the Principle Investigator and received an award from NSF- SBIR, Phase1 Grant to develop a much-faster composite manufacturing process (C3M) than conventional resin-transfer molding for advanced composites. Nippani has over 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry working for Chrysler, Ford Motor Co., and DeLorean Motor Co. in the areas of exterior, chassis, powertrain, and underhood applications. He has worked on the Dodge Viper, Plymouth Prowler, and Jeep Wrangler programs specifying plastic and composite materials. Nippani also has worked on the composite pickup box and was active with the Automotive Composite Consortium (ACC) of USCAR. He holds an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Xavier University. Nippani has also worked on an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and has given numerous technical presentations at conferences held by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, the Society for the Advancement of Materials & Process Engineering (SAMPE), the Automotive Composites Alliance (ACA) of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), as well as SPE. He holds 4 patents in manufacturing processes and material developments. Additionally, Nippani is the former Councilor and Chair of the SPE Automotive Division and has served as the President of the SPE Detroit Section, and is an active member of all 3 SPE boards. With over 30 years as an SPE member, Nippani’s contributions to plastics and composites have earned him SPE Emeritus status and his volunteer work on behalf of SPE has earned him the Honored Service Member award.

Keywords: Automotive Plastics, Automotive Composites, Sheet-Molding Compound (SMC), Vehicle Exterior Plastics, Consultant, Honored Service Member, SPE Emeritus.

 Nikhil Eapen Verghese

Dr. Nikhil Verghese has recently joined SABIC as Research Fellow.  Previous to that he was at The Dow Chemical Company where he held various technical positions, the most recent being Global R&D Leader-Composites Technology Platform in Epoxy & Intermediates-Specialty Chemicals. He joined Dow's Materials Science Group in Core R&D in 2000 after completing his Ph.D. in Materials and Engineering Science and a 1-year post-doctoral fellowship at Virginia Tech. In 2004, he officially moved to Dow's Thermosets Product R&D - Material Science and Modeling as Technical Group Leader overseeing both epoxy and polyurethane projects. In 2006, he moved to Michigan to join Dow Automotive's New Business Development-R&D efforts in Auburn Hills. While there, he partnered closely with the commercial function to identify opportunities in various areas pertaining to transportation including the use of composites. Nikhil's publications include a chapter in Reinforced Plastics Durability (ed. Geoffrey Pritchard), and over 45 journal papers and conference proceedings. He has also authored more than 15 external patent filings and holds 3 issued patents. Nikhil served as chair of the Failure Analysis and Prevention session at SPE-ANTEC in 2002 and was co-chair of the Bonding, Joining and Finishing of Composites session of SPE ACCE in 2008. He is the Composites Division's Technical Program Chair for SPE ANTEC in 2012 & 2013.

Keywords: Thermoset Composites, Epoxy, Polyurethane, Automotive Composites