Society of Automotive Engineers appoints new president

The Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A) has elected automotive engineering consultant Bill Malkoutzis to the role of president. 

Founded in 1927, the Society is a member-driven organisation representing automotive engineering professionals in Australia, including manufacturers.

Malkoutzis says he plans for the Society to again be the industry platform for debate about engineering excellence in safe and sustainable transport.

"We want to reinstate our position as the ‘go to’ place for information about state of the art technologies to ensure our members are at the leading edge of their professions," he said.

On accepting the SAE-A presidency, Bill Malkoutzis said his first task is to recognise the leadership and commitment of immediate past president Patrick Ross.

"During his two years as president Patrick Ross led the Society through a very challenging period resulting from major changes in our industry," said Bill Malkoutzis.

He says that years ago locally-produced vehicles accounted for more than 80% of sales.

"Now local vehicle manufacturing has declined sharply as Australian consumers select almost 80% of their purchases from a range of over 50 imported models of cars and light trucks. The result is that Society members have endured more than 50 years of plant closures and job losses," he said. 

"Today, smaller teams of engineers develop vehicles for Australian buyers. We also have some teams of specialists contributing to global vehicle platforms for the Asian, European, Middle East and USA markets.  With powerful on-board computers controlling modern vehicles, service technicians need specialist electronics and diagnostics skills.  

"The dramatic changes faced by members have also affected SAE-A operations and, like all industry stakeholders, the Society must adapt to changes in the structure and culture of the industry. While measures have been taken to minimise the impact of industry change on the Society, we must do more to adapt to the new paradigm of reduced membership and fund raising opportunities.”