The Timken Company has awarded Dr. Mircea Gradu its 2011 SAE/Timken-Howard Simpson Automotive Transmission and Driveline Innovation Award. Dr. Gradu is the engineering director for transmission and driveline, as well as the head of virtual tools analysis, for Chrysler Group, LLC. The SAE/Timken-Howard Simpson Automotive Transmission and Driveline Innovation Award recognizes automotive industry engineers for outstanding contributions to technological progress and dissemination in the areas of transmissions and drivelines. “We honor Dr. Gradu because of his many contributions to automotive systems development, design, validation and manufacturing,” said Brian Ruel, vice president of Timken’s Light Vehicle Systems business. “As head of virtual tools analysis at Chrysler, Dr. Gradu has promoted advanced technologies that set an example for the entire industry, such as simulation methods that enable cost-effective development and validation through virtual exploration. This exponentially increases the number of scenarios Chrysler’s engineers can explore to continually advance the company’s products.” In addition to his responsibilities at Chrysler, Dr. Gradu serves as SAE International’s automotive vice president, and provides leadership and continuity for the society’s automotive initiatives, including standards, events and educational programs. A holder of 21 patents, Dr. Gradu received the SAE Forest McFarland Award in 2005. He also received the Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation in 2008. Dr. Gradu received the SAE/Timken-Howard Simpson Automotive Transmission and Driveline Innovation Award on April 12, 2011, during the SAE 2011 World Congress in Detroit. The award, established in 2007, honors Howard Simpson, an extremely talented and innovative engineer who invented and developed the revolutionary planetary gear set. His innovation served as the basis for the Ford C4 and C5 transmissions, which were produced for more than 20 years, plus several other Chrysler and General Motors transmission models.