Xiangli Chen (MSME ’88, PhDME ’94) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.
“Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education,” according to an NAE press release.
Chen, formerly a vice president of General Electric and president of GE China Technology Center, was elected for pioneering work in optical sensing and precision laser processing, and for leadership in globalizing industrial research and development.
The MechSE Department celebrated Chen’s illustrious career by awarding him the Distinguished Alumni honor in April 2016. His visit to the Urbana campus included an address to the department’s award-winning students, telling them how he accelerated his career through a proposal for expansion into China.
“If you have a good idea, and if you have the data behind it and can prove that it is feasible, you might get a chance to try it. But you have to initiate it—that is the key,” Chen said. “You have to initiate the idea, talk to the right people, and influence them.”
Chen and the rest of the 2017 NAE election class will be formally inducted during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 8.