Takata invests in Kettering

Feb 10, 2004

The worldwide auto safety systems supplier invests in its own future by investing in Kettering today. A symbiotic relationship has developed between the corporation and Kettering facilitating cutting edge research.

Large corporations regularly invest in their own future. Takata, supplier of a broad range of passenger and driver safety systems and devices, recently increased its investment in Kettering University's and its own future with multiple donations to the school, including financial support and equipment. The company will see a return on their investment in better-educated co-op students and a more experienced workforce.The company made a second $25,000 donation, part of an overall $50,000 gift, soon after donating data acquisition equipment and a crash test sled for the Crash Test Safety lab currently under construction on campus. The data acquisition equipment will enable Kettering researchers to record data in fractions of seconds from sensors such as those used on crash test dummies and crash test sleds. Takata had upgraded their data acquisition system and gave Kettering the equipment they were replacing. New, the equipment is valued at $350,000.

The donated deceleration sled will be part of the new crash test safety program in Mechanical Engineering. "Until recently, Kettering had not addressed the issue of crash test safety academically and was more oriented to engineering fundamentals and building automobiles. Now we are moving into the area of crash test safety as part of an engineering education," said Patrick Atkinson '91, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering.

"We are happy to assist Kettering University's expansion of their crash test safety program with the donation of a sled," said Timothy F. Healy, executive vice president of Takata in Auburn Hills. The sled is a dual pneumatic drive sled, capable of a 3,000-pound payload in excess of 35 miles per hour. It is equipped with a four-camera suite of digital video data acquisition as well as on-board and off-board data acquisition systems for use with the university's crash test dummy.

In addition to the equipment, two Takata staff members sit on the Kettering Crash Safety Industrial Advisory Board: Robert Fisher, a 1987 graduate of Kettering/GMI and vice president of Purchasing, Program Management, Business Systems and Supplier Diversity, and Michael Rains, a 1977 graduate and director of Engineering Systems Integration and Testing and Evaluation. The board first met Oct. 23, 2003, and plans to meet every six months.

Takata's commitment to Kettering goes back to 1982, the year General Motors Institute became independent from General Motors Corp. Takata was one of the first non-GM co-op employers for Kettering/GMI students. The company has continued to hire more co-op students each year, and many graduates have become permanent employees. "Kettering graduates are a great resource for Takata and we expect that to continue in the future," said Healy.

Students and Takata will realize a direct benefit from the recent equipment donations. "This lab facility helps students who co-op at Takata come back to the work environment with more knowledge, not only with engineering fundamentals, but with education tailored to Takata's core business," said Atkinson, making them prepared employees.

For more information on Bio-Mechanical Engineering and Crash Test Safety at Kettering, contact Janet Brelin-Fornari at jfornari@kettering.edu or (810)-762-7843

Kettering's Crash Safety Industrial Advisory Board:

  • Jesse Benny, project engineer at Autoliv Inc.
  • John Cheyne, vice president at Via Systems / VIA Test Laboratories
  • Carolyn Dodson-Woznicki, vice president and general manager/Ford Business Unit - N.A. at Johnson Controls
  • Rob Fisher, vice president of Purchasing, Quality, Program Management, Business Systems Takata
  • Dr. Michele Grimm, assistant professor of Bioengineering Center at Wayne State University
  • Mike Holcomb, president at M.P. Holcomb Engineering Corp.
  • Jack Jensen, supervisor, ATD Laboratory at GM Proving Grounds
  • Artie Martin, engineer, Occupant Protection System Performance at General Motors
  • Matt McCann, TRW
  • Richard Miller, manager, Community Safety Services at AAA Michigan
  • Jeff Pike, Vehicle Interiors at Ford Motor Co.
  • Carl Savage, president at Savage Engineering
  • Lee Boger, Delphi Automotive Systems at Delco Electronics Systems
  • Paul Slaats, manager, Engineering Services TNO-MADYMO
  • Dan Vartanian, corporate program coordinator at the Office of Highway Safety Planning, NETS (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety)
  • Dr. Norm Walter, MD, Family Orthopedic Associates and McLaren Hospital Department of Orthopedics Program director, Orthopedics
  • Minoo Shah, senior staff research scientist at Delphi Corp. Safety & Interior Systems
  • Chad Ivan, president at Kayser-Trede, North America
  • Randy Kelly, vice president, Sales and Customer Service at Robert A. Denton, Inc.

Kettering representatives:

  • Dr. Patrick Atkinson, associate professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Joel Berry, department head, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, assistant professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering and Business
  • Dr. Massoud Tavakoli, professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Dr. Mark Thompson, professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Peggy Simpson, director of Corporate and Foundation Gifts, University Advancement

Written by Dawn Hibbard
(810) 762-9865