2022 SAE President Sri Srinath: Engineer, Leader, Mentor
Dr. Sri Srinath, SAE’s 2022 president, brings a career’s worth of experience and ideas to his new role.
With experiences ranging from being a hands-on engineer to managing multi-billion-dollar businesses to serving as a director in human services, “Sri Srinath is well suited to lead SAE International over the next twelve months amid life-transforming technological innovation in mobility and related fields,” Raman Venkatesh, SAE’s chief operating officer, noted. “He is sure to be an inspiration for SAE members.”
Dr. Srinath (right), the 116th person to serve as SAE president, has distinguished himself not only at Caterpillar, where he worked in various engineering roles for nearly 30 years, but also at SAE. He became a member in 1988 and has served on the Board of Directors (2014-2016), Finance Committee (2016-2019), Executive Nominating Committee, and COMVEC Executive Council. After retiring from Caterpillar at the end of 2015, he joined the management consulting firm CGN Global, where he currently serves part time as managing director. Srinath is also principal board advisor at Booma Innovative Transport Solutions, an Indian electric vehicle manufacturer.
“I have an engineering background but an executive mindset,” he told Update, SAE’s member publication, in a December 2021 online interview. And so it is with confidence – and “a trace of nervousness” – that Srinath, who describes himself as “easygoing and approachable,” starts his one-year term as SAE president. “I can’t say enough about how excited I am. It’s a great responsibility and I want to make sure I’m a good steward. I intend to leave the organization as least as well as I find it, if not better,” he said.
Among Srinath’s goals is to support the continued expansion of SAE technical committees in autonomy, electrification and batteries, vehicle connectivity, and other new technology areas. He noted that more than ever the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle sectors share a technology focus in these key areas. As engineers learn from each other and collaborate across sectors, Standards is increasingly “a prime area for SAE to demonstrate the integrated approach,” Srinath said.
Mentoring, especially for young people, is a personal focus area for SAE’s 2022 president, who earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan. Specifically, he would like to see SAE lead a mentoring process where college students who are already engaged with SAE reach out to high-schoolers before they make their career-choice decisions. “Rather than me or you talking to these kids, college students would have more relevant things to say. They have ‘street cred,’” he asserted.
The new social-media-savvy generation, Srinath said, “is a lot more about giving and doing good and not quite as selfish as my generation was at their age. We should tell them that if you join SAE, ‘you can help by advancing the world of science, advancing the world of mobility engineering, and here’s how mobility engineering can help the world.’”