Fourth Annual GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering Award to be Presented to General Motors Engineering Team Behind First Mass-Produced Automotive Catalytic Converter
Unheralded Engineers from GM to be Honored as Air Quality Innovators for Enabling Use of Catalysts in Automotive Emission Control Systems
Troy, NY – (Business Wire) – 10/15/08 – The team of engineering, research and development professionals at General Motors, whose work produced the world's first road-ready catalytic converter emission control system for cars and opened the age of unleaded gasoline, will be presented the 2008 GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award on Tuesday, October 21. The award celebrates the 35th anniversary of the creation of the breakthrough device and will be the first public recognition for this little-known engineering team.
Although catalytic converters had been invented prior to 1973, getting them to work and survive in harsh environments – like the undercarriages of cars – proved to be a significant challenge. This team's behind-the-scenes engineering breakthrough helped to overcome the effects of severe thermal, chemical and mechanical punishment of catalysts in harsh automotive exhaust gas environments. Their engineering efforts between 1973 and 1975 resulted in the adoption of the automotive catalytic converter in time for General Motor's 1975 model year. It also ensured the commercial availability of unleaded gasoline, thus helping start the first "green" movement in the automotive industry.
"GlobalSpec is honored to recognize these engineers and scientists from General Motors and from its AC Spark Plug Division, whose seemingly 'everyday' work ultimately resulted in significant health and economic benefits to hundreds of millions of people throughout the United States and around the globe," said GlobalSpec Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Killeen. "As a team, this group designed, led the assembly, created and tested the world’s first production-ready automotive catalytic converter emission control system. Their pioneering work paved the way for unleaded fuels becoming viable and for improved drivability and greatly reduced emissions. We thank and salute them for their efforts."
GlobalSpec, the leading specialized search engine, information resource and e-publishing company for the engineering, industrial and technical communities, will present the award on October 21 to this team of retirees from General Motors.
Richard Klimisch, Ph.D., General Motors' first catalyst expert, will accept the award on behalf of the team. Also addressing attendees will be Alan Taub, executive director, GM Research & Development, and Robert Stempel, past GM chairman, himself one of the honorees.
The GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award is presented annually to a person or group whose singular moment of engineering ingenuity produced a significant turning point for the application of technology and resulting benefits to people, science and industry. The 2005 award was presented to NASA engineers from April 1970 responsible for saving the lives of crew members during the harrowing flight of Apollo 13. In 2006, the award was given to members of the Jason Jr. engineering team in honor of the 20th anniversary of the first video survey of R.M.S. Titanic. Last year, GlobalSpec saluted the Motorola engineering team responsible for building the DynaTAC, the world’s first cellular telephone.
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