WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), today presented three awards for achievement and service to the North American steel industry to Dr. Grant Thomas of AK Steel, Eric Petersen, formerly of AK Steel (retired); and, Edward Pleet of Ford Motor Company. The awards were presented by AISI Chairman Roger K. Newport, Chief Executive Officer at AK Steel Corporation, during the Institute’s General Meeting in Washington, DC.

Dr. Grant Thomas, Manager, Product Research, AK Steel Research and Innovation, was presented with the 2019 Market Development Achievement Award, for his recent contributions to collaborative market development that continues to strengthen the position of new, high-strength steel as the material of choice in automotive applications.  Grant has contributed to the industry through active involvement with the SMDI-sponsored program on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), development of commercial Third Generation Advanced High Strength Steels, and active promotion of steel research and development.

Eric Petersen, formerly of AK Steel

Eric Petersen, formerly of AK Steel, received the 2019 Market Development Lifetime Achievement Award, which was created to recognize members of the North American steel industry who have made significant contributions over the course of their careers in advancing the competitive use of steel in the automotive marketplace. Mr. Petersen was chosen for his outstanding contributions in advancing collaborative market development in the automotive market. He worked globally on the promotion of advanced high-strength steels and technology on behalf of AK Steel and the steel industry in general, and is recognized as a leader and spokesperson for the industry.

Edward Pleet, Chief Engineer, Global Body Structures and Architecture, Ford Motor Company, is this year’s recipient of SMDI’s Market Development Industry Leadership Award. This award recognizes steel partners or customers, such as automakers, who have made significant contributions to advancing the competitive use of steel in the marketplace. Mr. Pleet was selected for this award as a result of his leadership and active participation in collaborative research on behalf of Ford that will help set new standards of automotive materials innovation for the entire auto industry.  Mr. Pleet has led in the application and advancement of advanced high-strength steel at Ford, as demonstrated by their latest product lines, including the newly-unveiled 2020 Escape.

“These award winners exemplify the best attributes of a strong and growing automotive steel industry in North America,” said Mr. Newport. “Each of them has demonstrated the innovative success the entire industry can enjoy through industry-wide collaboration. Fostering that collaboration is the mission of the Institute and its member companies, and we’re proud to recognize each of these outstanding individuals.”