SME (previously the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) is a non-profit student and professional association for educating and advancing the manufacturing industry in North America.[1][2][3]

PredecessorSociety of Manufacturing Engineers, Society of Tool Engineers
TypeProfessional association
PurposeTo advance manufacturing and attract future generations.
HeadquartersFlag of the United States.svg Southfield, Michigan, United States
  • 1000 Town Center, Suite 1910, Southfield, MI 48075
Region served
Official language
Secretary General
Vincent W. Howell Sr., FSME, CMfgE
Michael D. Packer, FSME
Executive Director & CEO
Robert Willig
SubsidiariesSME Media, Tooling U-SME, SME Education Foundation
Formerly called
Society of Manufacturing Engineers


SME was founded in January 1932 at the height of the Great Depression. Originally named the Society of Tool Engineers, and renamed the American Society of Tool Engineers one year later, it was formed by a group of 33 engineers and mechanics gathered at the Detroit College of Applied Science.[4] By April of that year, just four months after its beginning, membership increased from the original 33 members to 200 members and continued to grow rapidly with new chapters popping up across the country.[5] As the economic troubles of the 1930s pushed the world ever-closer to war, Society members responded by helping to convert America's industries into the primary military supplier for the Allied war effort, or what President Roosevelt referred to as the "arsenal of democracy." The organization also tailored their educational materials to meet the needs of the defense program and established the Emergency Defense Training Committee.[5] Between 1941 and the end of the war in 1945, Society membership more than doubled, rising from 8,700 to nearly 18,000 members.

Following the end of the war, the Society helped convert America's wartime industry into a producer of consumer goods. Switching focus from defense to research, appointing a planning committee and setting aside $25,000 for establishing a Research Fund in 1950, the society proceeded to establish a $50,000 educational fund and awarded its first scholarships in 1951. In 1960, the Society changed its name to The American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers and in 1970 it became the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. However, since 2013 only the abbreviation SME has been used as the official name.[6]

The Society launched the SME Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation in May 1979. By 2007 SME had successfully expanded into more than 72 countries, establishing itself as the world's leading provider of knowledge, networking and skills development for the manufacturing industry.[5] In September 2010, SME acquired Tooling University LLC, an educational technology and blended learning company that provides learning management system software and online manufacturing training content.[7][8]

In 2018, SME moved its headquarters from Dearborn, MI, to Southfield, MI.[9]


  1. ^ "SME - Society of Manufacturing Engineers". California Polytechnic State University. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Society of Manufacturing Engineers". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Society of Manufacturing Engineers". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Society of Manufacturing Engineers". NNDB. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Krar, Steve. "Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Manufacturing, the largest contributor to the Wealth of a Country)" (PDF). Automation Magazine. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. ^ "SME History". SME. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Del Ciancio, Mary (24 September 2010). "SME to acquire Tooling U for online training". Manufacturing Automation. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Training". Manufacturer's Edge. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  9. ^ SME moves 130 workers from Dearborn to Southfield Town Center", "Crains Detroit Business", Detroit, May 14, 2018

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