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As president, Gillespie hopes to inspire other manufacturers to realize the impact they can make through an organization like SME.
“SME has provided me-and thousands of others-with tools to learn, leadership opportunities and a lifelong association with those coming to learn and those who are already world authorities,” said Gillespie. “The Society has been an important part of my professional growth.”
Gillespie has been a member since a University of Kansas professor introduced him to SME (then ASTE) in 1963. He later became a leader in Kansas City No. 57 chapter, the SME Robotics International chapter, and eventually, 67 leadership positions within the Society.
Gillespie’s career path gives him a broad view of manufacturing-process engineer with Bendix in 1966 on micro-size precision parts, precision assemblies, electronics, to his last role as quality assurance manager of Honeywell’s Federal Manufacturing & Technologies division, where he led a 200-employee group responsible for product and operating quality in one of the county’s most sophisticated multipurpose plants.
Today, Gillespie is an independent consultant and researcher. He writes about manufacturing for Cutting Tool Engineering and MICROmanufacturing magazines, and annually publishes other papers and reports on micromanufacturing and deburring.
Throughout his more than four decades with the Society, Gillespie’s held a number of leadership roles, including terms on the SME Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Profile 21 study of manufacturing engineering in the 21st century, education committees, certification, machining technology, deburring conferences, publications, accreditation, group technology, student leadership and most recently a study of taxonomies for use in identifying information. He was elected an SME Fellow in 1988.
Gillespie is also a recipient of several local and regional awards, the Bendix Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, two AlliedSignal Special Recognition Awards, Jack A. Knuth Continuous Achievement Award (Honeywell), ASME’s Arthur L. Williston Award and Medal, and the 1984 SME Albert M. Sergeant Progress Award.
Gillespie has also been active with the Engineer’s Council for Professional Development, manpower and engineering guidance councils, served on four university advisory boards, and he has been a member of several other manufacturing and engineering-related organizations. Gillespie is a registered professional engineer in Missouri, and a registered manufacturing engineering in California. He is an SME certified manufacturing engineer (CMfgE), a chartered Engineer (Great Britain) and an Able Toastmaster. Gillespie has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas, a master’s of manufacturing engineering from Utah State University and holds a doctor of engineering degree from Meiji University in Japan. In 2011, he also received an honorary doctorate from Don State Technical University in Russia.