Jack Roush receives 2017 SAE Foundation Industry Leadership Award

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DETROIT — On Tuesday evening, the SAE Foundation presented its 2017 Industry Leadership Award to Jack Roush, founder, CEO and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing. The ceremony took place during the organization’s annual celebration inside the Masonic Temple in Detroit.

In 1988, Roush partnered with driver Mark Martin to launch his first NASCAR Cup Series team. In 2007, Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group merged and brought together two championship organizations. He formed Roush Industries in Livonia, Mich. and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016. His family of companies now includes Roush CleanTech, developer and manufacturer of propane fuel systems for the fleet vehicle market.

“Thanks from the bottom of my heart,” Roush told the crowd. “I’m fortunate to have had parents who gave me the encouragement and tools to develop my early interest in how things work and how they are made. I’m deeply honored for your industrial leadership award. As an employer in the automotive and aerospace fields, I hope the SAE board, it’s sponsors and volunteers will be successful in motivating future generations of youngsters in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Proceeds from this annual fundraiser benefit the SAE Foundation. The Foundation is addressing one of the most pressing issues facing industry today – the decline of students enrolling in science and technology programs – by supporting SAE’s pre-K through college programming that brings math and science to life and fills the workforce pipeline with skilled technical talent.

“I’m really impressed by these kids,” the CEO of Roush Fenway Racing explained.  “I went to St. Edith in Livonia. The kids wouldn’t have a chance to do what they do without the SAE Foundation. Dream large. Follow your dreams. Just go do it.

Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) has racked up an impressive list of victories. The team has won eight driver’s championships across all of NASCAR’s divisions. In addition, RFR has won 324 NASCAR races including 137 in the Cup series, 138 in the Xfinity series and 50 in the Truck series.

“I’ve done it on the backs of some really good people,” Roush explained. “We had cars that were really shocking the competitors. In fact, some of those cars still compete on the circuits today.”

Autoline‘s John McElroy served as the emcee for the awards ceremony. He asked Roush about his CleanTech company.

“Ten percent of gas out of the ground is propane,” he answered. “We got more than we can use–it runs cleaner than gasoline does. We put it in Domino’s Pizza vehicles. They called one day and wanted an oven to deliver pizzas hot. We built one series. They stopped production on the platform. They are just trying to keep it warm.”

When asked about the future of the automobile industry, Roush had this to say:

“People need to get old, but companies don’t have to. I’m 75 years old. We have an interest in alternative cars. The electric cars, the idea of being able to regenerate, and be able to charge the battery. I think that’s the future.”

Other honorees at the 2017 SAE Foundation Annual Celebration include:

  • Donald W. Ableson Award for Visionary Leadership: Jack Thompson (posthumously)
  • Gordon Millar Award: Ford Motor Company
  • Young Industry Leadership Awards: Sandeep Makam (FCA LLC), Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D. (Clemson University)

During the networking reception, local students presented exhibits from their participation in SAE International’s award-winning STEM education programs – A World In Motion® (AWIM) and the Collegiate Design Series™. Displays by student teams included rolling things, straw rockets, a jet toy challenge, a fuel cell challenge, a motorized toy car challenge and a glider challenge, among many others.

For more information about the SAE Foundation or to make a donation, visit http://foundation.sae.org/


The 2017 SAE Foundation’s Annual Celebration was held inside the Masonic Temple in Detroit. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Students from St. Edith School in Livonia demonstrating their gliders. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


A student describes this miniature fuel cell car that he built to attendees. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Autoline‘s John McElroy interviews Jack Roush for an upcoming episode airing on PBS stations in July. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


A representative from Ford Motor Company accepts the 2017 Gordon Millar Award. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Srikanth Pilla, Ph.D. received the first of two Young Industry Leadership Awards. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


Sandeep Makam from FCA LLC accepted the second Young Industry Leadership Award. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)


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