We are SME Chicagoland

We are Chicagoland’s SME Chapter.

As you may have guessed, we are focused on bringing engineers in manufacturing together in the Chicagoland area.

Our aim is to promote, strengthen, enhance, and broaden manufacturing through the development of Manufacturing Engineers.

There are many inputs to manufacturing, but as we are bias (we just are)  we believe that the Manufacturing Engineer is the “Glue of Manufacturing”.

Manufacturing Engineer: The element that binds all aspects of manufacturing and makes it run as best as it can, and if that is not good enough, well, we make it better!



Our vision for SME Chicagoland is to bring together individuals with a passion for Manufacturing and Engineering so they may collaborate, educate, and train themselves & their peers in a way that continually raises the ceiling of what is possible within Manufacturing Industry. 


We deliver our vision through our systematic channels of training, events, certification, and educational offerings, and school partnerships. Together these channels allow individuals to broaden & strengthen their understanding of the manufacturing industry through experts, peers, and new ideas. 

Meet Your SME Chicagoland Board of Directors

Robert "Bob" Iossi

Robert "Bob" Iossi

Chapter Chairman & Community/Education Outreach

Technical Sales Engineer, Better by Design (Delevan, WI)

Bob has 40 years of experience in the Industrial & Commercial Machinery Automation and Robotics Business. He started with Caterpillar where he gained his machine knowledge and expanded his experience in Electrical/Electronic Engineering with Allen-Bradley/Reliance Electric, now Rockwell Automation for 25 years of starting as a Field Engineer, Applications Engineer, Systems Engineer, Project Management, Engineering Manager and then Business Operations Director. After building their Systems Integrator Business to $50M Bob took an early retirement offer.  


He then joined PICO Tool Automotive Line Supplier to commercially engineer and manage the Ford Jellybean to 500 model and then to the Taurus in Chicago for 3 years. Bob then took up the idea that he could help Systems Integrators with their sales efforts in the Chicagoland Area, so he started working with multiple different Systems Integrators with different expertise for the last 12 years in the Chicagoland Area and now Better by Design, LLC in Delavan, WI for custom machines and automation as their Technical Sales Engineer. Bob is also currently the Chairman of SME in Chicagoland.

Gerald "Jerry" Crimer PE, PMP, CMfgE

Gerald "Jerry" Crimer PE, PMP, CMfgE

Chapter Secretary & Treasurer

President, GDC Planners, Inc.

Jerry has 50 years of experience in managing engineering design and construction projects for industrial clients. Early years at Ford Motor Casting Division sparked his interest in manufacturing. Over his career, he has planned and implemented many projects that encompassed factory relocations, plant expansions, metal casting processes, lean manufacturing, material handling, environmental control, productivity improvements, and process optimization.

 Now semi-retired, he is providing consulting services to assist manufacturing clients with O&M improvements. He is also tutoring at risk high school students. Jerry is an SME Life member and is serving as Secretary and Treasurer of the Chicagoland chapter. He resides in Bolingbrook with his wife Patti.

Antigone Sharris

Antigone Sharris

Education and Industry

Antigone Sharris is faculty and Chairperson of the Engineering Technology Program at Triton College. She has more than 20 years of experience working with area manufacturers and students, helping to ensure students are employment ready for these companies.

She has been a FIRST mentor for several years and works with Chicagoland area schools and community organizations to help connect people and resources on multiple levels. She has developed community focused education programs including TechSavvy in partnership with area American Association of

University Women (AAUW) chapters, as well as summer programs like GADgET and GLoW, which are held at Triton College and other campuses.

Charles "Chuck" Gates

Charles "Chuck" Gates

Educational & Certification Director

Chuck is available to assist anyone in obtaining career enhancing training and professional certifications.

Chuck has over 40 years of manufacturing experience with Caterpillar Inc. and over 30 years experience as an adjunct professor. He is a certified instructor and has earned seven professional certifications. Chuck’s education is in management and industrial technology.

Jeffrey Groman

Jeffrey Groman

Marketing & Communications Director

Jeffrey is the founder of Groman Cyber, a cybersecurity services firm in the Chicago area. With over 20 years experience in the field, Jeffrey consults with clients in the areas of risk, threats and mitigations.

Mark O'Brien

Mark O'Brien

Special Projects

Mark O’Brien, Founder & CEO of Value Growth Partners, becomes a partner at Newport LLC, bringing his 30-plus years of experience in manufacturing, technology, distribution, and business services as an owner, executive, and advisor to the Newport LLC team.  

Mark has had deep business experience working with best-in-class companies in aerospace, woodworking, plastics & composites, technology, supply-chain distribution, metalworking, manufacturing, business services, and others.

Joe Arvin

Joe Arvin

Industry Representative

President of Arrow Gear Company

Joe Arvin, an author and inventor, is President of Arrow Gear Company and a member of the Manufacturing Advisory Board of the Illinois Institute of Technology. 

Arvin is also a founding member, president and board member of the non-profit organization Citizens for American Manufacturing (CAM). CAM’s mission is to promote the message of manufacturing’s critical role in the health of the U.S. economy.

Mr. Arvin is past Chairman of the Board for IIT’s INFACT Government Sponsored Program (Instrumented Factory for Gears). In 2012, Arvin received the “Outstanding Leader in Industry” award by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Industrial Technology and Management (INTM) Program.

Contact: arvinglobal@gmail.com

Jim Schlusemann

Jim Schlusemann

SME Headquarters Board Liaison with SME Chicagoland

President of Prosperia

A transformational business leader who improves profitability and impacts business process and performance across multiple industries. Jim brings immediate value and impact by leveraging his experience to help companies navigate growth and change.

Jim began his career as a machinist, setting up, operating and programming conventional and CNC machines that made parts for construction equipment, engines and trucks at Navistar, a global manufacturing company. 

Contact: jim.schlusemann@gmail.com



Greg Sweigert

Greg Sweigert

Industry Representative


Greg has worked for 35 years of selling and supporting CNC metalworking machine tools for both chip and fabrication sectors.

He sells CNC gear slotting machines (keyseaters) in addition to manual mills, lathes, saws and grinders, made by SHARP, ACRA, Wellsaw/WF Wells, and KENT/KGK.

Working in a shop for 7 years and earned my degree from Indiana University, graduating with distinction. Served as International Customer Service Manager for Finnish machine tool builder with Sr. Management responsibility for field service engineers training, parts supply chain, logistics for machine importing & installs. Interested in fostering manufacturing education and industrial maintenance programs.

Contact: greg@blackoutequipment.com


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