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Steel Advocates Recognized At North American International Auto Show
SMDI honors steel innovators with 3rd annual Men and Women of Steel awards

DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- During a press briefing at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit today, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), presented the annual "Men and Women of Steel" awards to two distinguished honorees who are championing the use of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS).

The Industry Innovator Award was presented to Gregory Warden, executive director and global functional leader, body, exterior & dimensional engineering at General Motors (GM). The award acknowledges automotive designers or engineers who showcase superior innovation in their use of AHSS. Warden's team is leading in the application and advancement of AHSS and General Motors' ongoing use of steel in their vehicles exemplifies this. Thanks to companies like GM, who fully exploit the properties and value of steel, the growth of AHSS has exceeded expectations.

The Community Hero Award recognizes individuals and organizations whose work using steel impacts the quality of life of the community. The 2017 recipient is Steve Marks, industry technical support manager at Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). His work includes conducting research on collision repair, OEM contract training and development and is a lead instructor for certification programs. Marks educates the next generation of technicians about the repair processes for steel, which have been widely taught for many years. As steel is reinvented and new grades are produced, Marks aids in the redevelopment of the repair process making sure it is as advanced as the new steels.

"The continued use of steel shows the resilience of the industry and the recognition of its strength, durability and value by automakers and consumers alike," said Dr. Jody Hall, vice president – automotive market for SMDI. "We are extremely pleased to honor Greg and Steve for their work with steel and their commitment to creating and repairing lighter, stronger, more sustainable vehicles."

Previous winners include 2016 Industry Innovator Mike Sweers, chief engineer for the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma vehicle programs and the vice president of engineering design – interior at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.;  2016 Community Hero, The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Vehicle Technologies for its support of research, development and deployment of efficient and sustainable highway transportation technologies to improve fuel economy and minimize petroleum use; 2015 Industry Innovator, Elizabeth Krear, chief engineer on the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel; and 2015 Community Hero, Ron Moore of McKinney, Texas, for his efforts in educating first responders and other emergency workers on cutting tools or alternate solutions for passenger compartment access due to the use of AHSS parts.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. 

SMDI increases and defends the use of steel by developing innovative materials, applications and value-added solutions for customers in the automotive, construction and packaging markets. SMDI automotive investors include: AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal and Nucor Corporation. For more information on SMDI, visit or follow @DriveUsingSteel on Twitter.

SOURCE Steel Market Development Institute

For further information: DEANNA LORINCZ, 586.634.1766 / [email protected], or, ANN MARIE FORTUNATE, 586.214.1731 / [email protected]