TROY — Altair Engineering Inc. of Troy announced that an eminent group of industry leaders will serve as judges for the Altair Enlighten Award, a new program to recognize innovation in vehicle weight reduction for the auto industry.

In collaboration with the Center for Automotive Research, Altair has created this award as a competition open to original equipment manufacturers, systems and parts suppliers, and materials suppliers from all segments of the industry.

The judging panel for the award program will comprise the following industry leaders:

* Jay Baron, president and CEO, Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, and director of CAR’s Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting Materials.
* Harvey Bell, professor of engineering practice and co-director of the Multidisciplinary Design Program at The University of Michigan.
* Lynn Bishop, vice president of engineering services at Pratt & Miller Engineering.
* Imtiaz Haque, founding chair and executive director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.
* Royston Jones, president of Altair ProductDesign Europe.
* Clemens Schmitz-Justen, founder and head of strategic consulting, CSJ Schmitz-Justen & Co., former director of international programs at the Clemson University College of Business and Behavioral Science, and former president of BMW Manufacturing LLC in Spartanburg, S.C.
* Chris Theodore, president of Theodore & Associates automotive industry consulting; former CEO of ASC Inc., vice president of Ford Motor Co. and senior vice president of DaimlerChrysler; and former executive director of North American advanced vehicle development at General Motors.

“CAR’s Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting Materials has gained considerable recognition and grown significantly since its inception one year ago,” said Baron, who co-chairs the judging panel with Jones. “The Altair Enlighten Award focuses on the same critical issues of how to achieve significant reductions in vehicle mass through integration of lightweight materials. As the industry draws closer to the 2017-2018 mid-term review, we anticipate that the innovations brought to light by this competition will help suggest approaches to mass reduction to meet stringent fuel economy regulations for light-duty vehicles.”

The deadline for entries in the award competition has been extended to April 12, 2013. Finalists will be interviewed in April and May, and the winners will be announced in August of this year. Companies can submit entries online at The Enlighten Award will be presented at CAR’s 2013 Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) August 5-8 in Traverse City, Mich., with the opportunity for the winning organizations to make a presentation and conduct a question-and-answer session.

“We are grateful to have found such extensive interest in the goals of the Altair Enlighten Award among leaders of the automotive industry who are volunteering their time to judge entries from around the world,” said David Mason, vice president, global automotive for Altair. “The judging panel is exceptionally qualified to evaluate the best of the industry’s efforts in reducing vehicle weight through optimization, new materials, new systems and components, and new designs.”

The Altair Enlighten Award is intended to honor the greatest achievements in weight saving each year; to inspire interest from policymakers, educators, students and the public; to create further competition for new ideas in the industry; and to provide an incentive to share technological advances.

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