NWI Elects 3 New Members to IAB Executive Committee

The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) is pleased to announce the election of three new members to the Executive Committee of its Industrial Advisory Board (IAB). Dr.-Ing. Martin Lehmann, Principal Expert Research Network and Public Funding at Mann+Hummel in Ludwigsburg, Germany; Dr. SA Ravishankar, R&D Manager for Nonwoven Product Technologies at Saint-Gobain Research North America in Northboro, Massachusetts, USA ; and Mr. Arnold Wilkie, President, Hills, Inc. in West Melbourne, Florida, were each elected during the Fall 2023 IAB meeting.

Dr.-Ing. Martin Lehmann is Principal Expert, Research Network and Public Funding at MANN+HUMMEL Automotive GmbH in Ludwigsburg, Germany.  Dr. Lehmann studied at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology where he completed his Dipl.-Ing. in 1998 and earned his Dr.-Ing. in Mechanical Process Engineering in 2005.  He was a Research Engineer at Cummins, Inc., in Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA, before joining MANN+HUMMEL in 2006 where he became head of the simulation team for filtration.  He served four years (2016-20) as Vice President Air Filtration prior to assuming his current role.  Dr. Lehmann has served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the FILTECH Conference – the world’s largest filtration show – and has twice been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Filtration & Separations Society (AFS).  He was co-chair of several AFS conferences including the 2024 AFS FiltCon which will be held in Houston, Texas, USA April 8-10.  He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Graduate School of Excellence advanced Manufacturing Engineer (GSaME) at the University of Stuttgart, has been a keynote speaker at several major international conferences and has published over 80 technical papers.  Dr. Lehmann has been engaged with NWI and a member of the IAB since 2012. 

MANN+HUMMEL is a leading global company in filtration technology. Under its two business units – Transportation and Life Sciences & Environment – the Group develops intelligent filtration and separation solutions that enable cleaner mobility, cleaner air, cleaner water, and cleaner industry. Thus, the company makes an important contribution to a clean earth and the sustainable use of limited resources. 

To learn more, visit www.mann-hummel.com.

Dr. Sathanjheri (Ravi) Ravishankar, R&D Manager for Nonwoven Product Technologies, Saint-Gobain, has been serving in the nonwoven and materials industries for more than 32 years, providing technology solutions to industry challenges as a global leader. He holds two master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technologies in Metallurgical Engineering and Chemistry and received his doctorate from Virginia Tech in Material Science and Engineering in 1995.  Subsequently, Dr. Ravishankar held positions of increasing responsibility at Imerys, BASF and Cytec Solvay Group.  In 2017, he joined Saint-Gobain at its Northboro, Massachusetts, USA, R&D Center in a leadership role with the Surface Solutions group. During his career, Dr. Ravishankar has developed several patented sustainable separation technologies for minerals in both physical and chemical separation areas.  Dr. Ravishankar’s work has been recognized by industry and professional societies such as The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) with the prestigious Frank Aplan and Robert Richards Awards.  In 2023, he was inducted as “SME Fellow – Class of 2022” for his technical innovations and leadership contributions. Dr. Ravishankar serves at the advisory level to numerous academic and industrial groups such as SME, Unified Abrasives Manufacturing Association, Hoover medal board, Univ. Columbia and NC State University.  Dr. Ravishankar has been appointed to serve as the Board of Director for SME starting in 2025.  He has published over 30 publications in journals and books and presented several papers and keynote speeches at SME and several international conferences.  Dr. Ravishankar has been a member of NWI’s IAB since 2018.

Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and solutions for the construction, mobility and industrial markets. Developed through a continuous innovation process, its integrated solutions provide sustainability and performance in daily life. Saint-Gobain’s nonwoven abrasive products are ideal for materials surface preparation and finishing applications.  Saint-Gobain is also an Official Supporter of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

To learn more, visit www.saint-gobain.com.

Mr. Arnold Wilkie, President, Hills, Inc., earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from the University of West Florida. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida, and has been engaged in the synthetic fibers industry since 1970. The first 17 years were with the Monsanto Company, holding positions in Fiber Process Engineering, Fiber Product R&D, and Product Management. Since 1988, he has been a majority owner and president of Hills, Inc. – a 52-year-old company located in West Melbourne, Florida, specializing in the development, manufacture, and supply of advanced custom fiber extrusion equipment.  Mr. Wilkie is the inventor or co-inventor in numerous patents in the field of synthetic fiber and has been proudly associated with NWI since its founding in 1991 as the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center (NCRC), with Hills officially joining as a Member in 2001.

Hills, Inc., is recognized as the world leader in multicomponent fiber extrusion technology.  The company manufactures patented machinery to extrude multicomponent synthetic fibers with the most complex and precise cross-sectional geometries available at both laboratory and commercial scale.  Custom machines to make meltblown fabrics, spunbond fabrics, filament yarns, staple fibers, and monofilaments are produced for the world’s leading fiber manufacturers. Hills’ technologies are integral parts of numerous facilities available for research and commercial development at NWI. 

To learn more about Hills, Inc., visit www.hillsinc.net.

The strong tie between Industry and Academia is a hallmark of The Nonwovens Institute.  Each of our more than 50 member organizations have representation on the IAB, which reviews proposed and existing programs and recommends alternatives or additions and provides review over Institute budgets and policies. The IAB also elects the nine-member Executive Committee, which provides higher level member oversight and policy guidance.  In addition, the Executive Committee makes recommendations to Institute Leadership with regard to the composition of the Strategic Scientific Advisory Board (SSAB) and collaborates with Leadership to select SSAB members.  Many of the IAB and SSAB members actively mentor NC State graduate students in NWI’s fundamental nonwovens research program, while also acting as ambassadors for the Institute across the industry.

The time and effort contributed by all of the IAB representatives, and especially the Executive Committee members, is symbolic of the value that their member companies place upon the relationship with NWI.  Each individual is a respected leader not only in their own organization, but also across the broader industry. 

Source: The Nonwovens Institute

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