Downing retires from MechSE

Steve Downing recently retired as a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. 
Downing used his industry experiences in product development, finite element analysis, computational analysis, structural analysis, and manufacturing to bring real-life and compelling engineering examples to his classes. From 2013 to 2015, he was PI on the ME 370/371 SIIP project that started improvements in the MechSE design courses and was the impetus for the MechSE Innovation Studio makerspace. 
Downing’s impact on the department’s students has been profound. Since 2007, he has made the “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students” for an amazing 28 individual class sections. In addition, he won MechSE’s Alumni Two Year Effective Teaching Award twice and Five Year Award once. And in 2016, he won both the College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award and the campus-level Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. 
He received all of his degrees from Illinois, completing a BS in engineering mechanics, MS in theoretical and applied mechanics, and PhD in mechanical engineering. Before returning to be a lecturer in MechSE in 2005, he spent 33 years in industry, much of that time at the Deere & Company Technical Center in Moline and SoMat Corporation in Urbana. He retired (for the first time) from SoMat Corporation as Vice President of Technology. 
Downing will continue his consulting and software development company, The Illinois Connection, Inc. He plans to become involved in research projects, especially related to healthy aging, and will teach an occasional course for MechSE.