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Ford global director Michael J. Whitens wins SPE Lifetime Achievement Award

A retired automotive industry veteran with over 30 years of experience, Whitens spent the majority of his career at Ford in various body engineering disciplines.


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August 21, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Michael J. Whitens

Michael J. Whitens, retired former global director for Ford’s Vehicle and Enterprise Sciences at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center, has been named the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

In his most recent role at Ford, from 2014 – 2018, Whitens led the development of technology strategy and implementation in support of emerging areas including plastics/polymers, advanced plastics processing technologies, composites and material formulations with responsibility for over 500 researchers at three Ford Motor Company global facilities.

Whitens retired from Ford last year.

“[Whitens] has demonstrated expertise working on several advanced plastics processes including micro-cellular foaming, long-fiber thermoplastic (D-LFT) composites, natural fiber composites, carbon fiber composites, nano additive based composites, metal-plastics hybrid molding, co-injection molding, twin screw extrusion compounding, polyurethane foams and more,” SPE said. “His work includes the development of several innovations for numerous automotive plastics applications, ranging from interiors and exteriors to under the hood and safety – including instrument panels, door panels, door modules, molded-in-color, seating, NVH foams, fuel systems components and more.”

An automotive industry veteran with over 30 years of experience, Whitens spent the majority of his career at Ford Motor Co. in various body engineering disciplines. He also spent three years as the Mustang PVT (Platform Vehicle Team) manager.

“[Whitens] is a recognized leader in the development of innovative technologies in the automotive field, with 35 patents in many areas of component innovation, new material development, safety, body interior, exterior and vehicle execution,” SPE added.

Whitens will receive his award at the SPE’s 49th annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on November 6, 2019 in Livonia, Mich.