Three NC participants from two national conferences received awards and recognition for their outstanding contributions in manufacturing.

John Welborn and Joshua Branch from Wilkes Community College competed in the SME manufacturing competition at SkillsUSA National Leadership Skills Conference in Kentucky. Dr. Rohan A. Shirwaiker from NC State received one of 10 SME Robert J. Hocken Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Awards at the North American Manufacturing Research Conference.

Welborn and Branch won the bronze medal for their use of additive manufacturing/3D printing process. Twenty-two teams competed as college or high school teams. The competition features two design challenges and a written exam to test the teams’ knowledge of additive manufacturing. Teams designed and tested their own catapults for distance and accuracy.

“The winners of this year’s Additive Manufacturing competition represent some of the best and brightest at their schools,” CEO of SME Jeff Krause said. “Additive manufacturing/3D printing is growing rapidly, and the demand for talent in this field continues to outpace the availability of the workforce.”

Shirwaiker’s award was given to manufacturing engineers under 35-years-old who have started their careers by contributing significantly to the industry. His academic research focuses on biomedical engineering for medical devices. The Triangle Business Journal wrote on a recent breakthrough- using silver to fight superbug bacteria.

“Manufacturing innovation and advancements start with an idea, followed by essential research to bring a concept to reality,” Steven Schmid, NAMRI/SME president, said. “The industry experts and leaders we are recognizing today are pivotal to the progress and achievements we see in manufacturing.”