Roy Sjöberg named 2013 SPE Automotive Division's Life Achievement Award winner

The veteran auto designer, who made his mark on Detroit classics, including the Chevy Corvette and Dodge Viper, will be honored for his role in plastics and composites innovation on Nov. 6, at the Society of Plastics Engineers' 43rd annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.

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Fro his 45 years' experience in automotive design and development on iconic vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Dodge Viper sports cars, Roy Sjöberg, P.E., has been named the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE, Troy, Mich.). He will be honored for his leadership in automotive plastics and composites innovation at the 43rd annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on Nov. 6, 2013 at Burton Manor ( in Livonia, Mich.

Since his retirment from Chrysler (Auburn Hills, Mich.), Sjöberg has remained active. Under the name Team R-Squared S LLP, he has consulted with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a low-cost airframe project, and he has consulted on Ferrari SpA's Maserati program for homologation/vehicle development for U.S. sales. A notable keynote speaker, Sjöberg has addressed engineering, team building and leadership topics for  SAE International (founded as the Society of Automotive Engineers), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), ASME (founded as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers), the American Society for Quality (ASQC), and SPE. He served as a Blue Ribbon judge for the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition for more than a decade, and is still very active as a judge at the Concourse D'Elegance for the Amelia Island Concours, Glenmoor Gathering, & St. Ignace car shows. Further, Sjöberg is a Sloan (School) senior executive alumnus from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned BSME and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan. He holds six U.S. and international patents, three in the area of plastic parts. And he is a lifelong supporter of vehicle development, innovation, ingenuity and American leadership in the global automotive industry. Married, with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he helped form and is still a board member of the Friends of Inland Lakes Schools Inc., a community foundation that promotes educational opportunities for local students.

"Throughout my career," says Sjöberg, "My personal philosophy was always 'If it needs to be done, I will make it happen.' I didn't wait around for someone else to tell me what needed to be done. I looked at the situation, figured out what was needed, and then I just did it. I mentored my Chrysler teams the same way. I always prefer to be an entrepreneur rather than an 'observer' in my work and in my life." He says he will focus his acceptance speech on how this philosophy can be applied to future challenges for the plastics industry.

On Nov. 6, Sjöberg will be honored at this year’s SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala, starting with a VIP Cocktail Reception at 4:30 p.m., generously sponsored by Ticona Engineering Polymers (Florence, Ky.). At 5:00 p.m., the main exhibit area will open for general admission and guests can review this year’s Automotive Innovation Awards part nominations and enjoy the specialty and antique vehicles that are always a highlight of the show. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the awards program itself will last from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. For those who wish to extend merrymaking and networking activities, the ever-popular Afterglow, also sponsored by Ticona, will run from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.

First given in the year 2000, the The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes the technical achievements of individuals whose work — in research, design, and/or engineering —  has led to significant integration of polymeric materials on passenger vehicles. Past winners include:

  • J.T. Battenberg III, the former chairman and CEo of Delphi Corp.
  • Bernard Robertson, then executive VP of DaimlerChrysler.
  • Robert Schaad, then chairman of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
  • Tom Moore, retired VP, Liberty and Technical Affairs, at then DaimlerChrysler.
  • Mr. Shigeki Suzuki, general manager of the Materials Division, Toyota Motor Co.
  • Barbara Sanders, retired director, Advanced Development & Engineering Processes, Delphi Corp.
  • Josh Madden, a retired executive at General Motors Corp. (GM) & Volkswagen of America.
  • Frank Macher, the former CEO of Collins & Aikman Corp., Federal Mogul Corp., and ITT Automotive.
  • Irv Poston, the retired head of the Plastics (Composites) Development – Technical Center, at GM.
  • Allan Murray, Ph.D, a retired technology director at Ford Motor Co.
  • David (Dave) B. Reed P.E., a retired staff engineer, Product Engineering, GM.
  • Gary Lownsdale, P.E., chief technology officer, Plasan Carbon Composites.

SPE’s Automotive Innovation Awards Program is the oldest and largest competition of its kind in the world. Dozens of teams made up of OEMs, tier suppliers, and polymer producers submit nominations describing their part, system, or complete vehicle and why it merits the claim as the Year’s Most Innovative Use of Plastics. This annual event typically draws more than 700 OEM engineers, automotive and plastics-industry executives, and media representatives. As is customary, funds raised by this event are used to support SPE educational efforts and technical seminars, which help educate engineers and, thus, secure the role of plastics and composites in the advancement of the automobile.

For more information about the SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Competition and Gala or to download nomination forms and rules for this year’s competition, please see and, or contact the group at (248) 244-8993.

For more information about the SPE or its events, visit the Web site at, or call (203) 775-0471.

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