Eight North American engineering students, winners of the Fourth Annual Italian Machine Tool Technology Award (IMTTA) awarded by The Italian Trade Commission via its Chicago Office, visited machine tool companies and participated in an advanced international engineering program offered at Politecnico University-Milan, Italy.

CHICAGO, Ill. DEARBORN, Mich., September 12, 2011 — The critical equation for pursuing advanced international engineering in a global community is STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The Italian Trade Commission, celebrating Italy as a top-five producer and exporter of machine tools worldwide, showcased Italian technology in the world of technical education and universities this summer and awarded eight North American engineering students their Fourth Annual Italian Machine Tool Technology Award (IMTTA).

Award winners received a trip to Italy, July 4-15, 2011, which included a week of engineering courses at the Politecnico University of Milan, for which students obtained an international certification from the university, and a one week tour of companies demonstrating Italian experience in technology and production in their respective fields. They were accompanied by Professor Daw Alwerfalli, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich., and Professor Luis Rafael Sanchez, University of Colorado, Denver, Colo.

Italy is one of the world’s main producers of advanced manufacturing machinery systems for a wide variety of sectors and has been providing companies around the globe with innovative technologies, ideas and solutions. The visits to Italian machinery manufacturers provided students with a unique opportunity to experience firsthand, Italian machine tool machinery and the vanguard technologies they offer, which have made Italian manufacturers recognized world leaders.

Professor Alwerfalli said, “This trip has given me a totally new perspective on the Italian Machine Tool Industry. I will talk about it to my graduate students who are already decision-makers in the U.S. manufacturing industry, in letting them know that we have to be global in our engineering education.” Agreeing, Professor Vega said, “The worldwide market view presented by the Italians makes clear the need for including global strategies as part of teaching. It will be important to include the Italian products in our design classes. Students must be made aware of the world class capabilities that the Italian industry brings.”

Celebrating the Italian Trade Commission’s support of the awards, Trade Commissioner, Pasquale Bova, of the Chicago office said, “We are investing in the future of advanced manufacturing by providing highly accomplished student manufacturing engineers with a global perspective. We maintain contact with our awardees, inviting them to our events held throughout the country including trade shows, dinners and conferences and via social media channels. We also maintain dialogue online to answer questions or provide guidance.”

The ITA program, which is international in scope, includes diverse countries such as Russia, Mexico, Brazil, India and China, and engineering programs in areas ranging from plastic and rubber machinery, textile machinery, machine tools, packaging machinery and printing/ graphics and converting machinery.

IMTTA 2011 was organized, as in previous years, by the Machines Italia project department of the Italian Trade Commission via its Chicago office, in collaboration with UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE (Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products), FEDERMACCHINE (Italian National Association of Manufacturers Capital Goods) and the SME Education Foundation.

The IMTTA program is a competition asking upper level students attending premier North American universities to write a thesis on the relative innovation taking place in mechanical engineering related industries and the issues they face.

The aim of the program is to enrich the engineering education of students and to advance knowledge on issues of importance within the industry to the next generation of engineering professionals. The Italian Trade Commission, UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, and the Politecnico University of Milan hosted the award ceremony in Milan at the Museum of Science and Technology.

Winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the SME Education Foundation and selected based on the innovation and subject content of their thesis papers.

Winners included:

Joseph Akyeampong, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, N.C., for his paper “ICT enabled Intelligent Manufacturing: Concept, Innovative Applications and Future Directions;”

Brandon Christeson, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, for his paper “Novel Thermo-Magnetic Enhancement of Electrochemical Process;”

Rachel Decker, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, for her paper, “Manufacturing Innovation: Sink or Swim;”

Roger Harrison, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich., for his paper, ldquo;Multi-Tasking an Already Established Fixture on the Road”

Mitchell Krogman, Kettering University, Flint, Mich., for his paper, “Advances in Titanium Alloy Medical Implants Utilizing the Electron Beam Melting Process;

Dylan Schmitter, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., for his paper, “Applying Sustainable Practices in Maintenance in Manufacturing;”

William Seldon, Kettering University, Flint, Mich., for his paper, “Local Motors: An Innovative Change in the Industry,” and

Carl G. Simonsen, University of Colorado, Denver, Colo., for his paper, “Approaches to Forming Challenges Posted by New Advanced High Strength Sheet Steels.”

About the IMTTA Award:

The trip was part of the Italian Machine Tool Technology Awards, which is part of the international program Italian Technology Awards. The IMTTA is sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission, via its Chicago Office, UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE (Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products, Politecnico of Milan (, ), FEDERMACCHINE (Italian National Association of Manufacturers Capital Goods and in the United States, the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF).

About The Italian Trade Commission:

The Italian Trade Commission (I.C.E., Istituto nazionale per il Commercio Estero) is the Italian government agency entrusted with the promotion of trade, business opportunities and industrial co-operation between Italian and foreign companies. It supports the internationalization of Italian firms and their consolidation in foreign markets. The Commission’s educational programs are based on the following pillars: research, innovation, communication and quality control of training processes. The Commission has agreements and programs with Italian Regions and local governments for the education and training of technical personnel, students and firms. Visit or its Machines Italia project

About the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products:

The objective of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products, has always been to promote the interests of the industry, and the growth and spread of an entrepreneurial culture through the supply of services that are constantly updated to meet the requirements of the companies operating in this particular sector.

About the Politecnico di Milano:

The Politecnico di Milano is a science and technology university producing engineers, architects and industrial designers through a variety of innovative specialized courses, with great attention being devoted to all elements of education. The Politecnico di Milano has its core focus on quality and innovation in teaching and research, resulting in a prolific relationship with the economic and manufacturing worlds through experimental research and technology transfer.

About the SME Education Foundation:

The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit Also visit for information on advanced manufacturing careers and our award-winning website for young people,

Media Contacts:

Italian Trade Commission, Chicago Office, Ms. Brigitte Auteri or Mr. Bart Pascoli,

(888) 482-5872 (ITALTRADE), Fax: (312) 264-6209 -

UCIMU – SISTEMI PER PRODURRE - Dr. Mattia Puppi, +39 02 25255306,

Fax: +39 02 26255885 -

SME Education Foundation, Mr. Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, (313) 425-3300, Fax: (313) 425-3411,

Note to Editors: Photos available online.