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

Mark O'Brien

Mark O'Brien

Co-Chapter Chairman

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.

Robert "Bob" Iossi

Robert "Bob" Iossi

Co-Chapter Chairman & Community/Education Outreach

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

Bob has over 40years experience in the Industrial & Commercial Automation and Robotics Business. He started with Caterpillar and expanded his experience in Electrical/Electronic Engineering with Allen-Bradley/Reliance Electric, Now Rockwell Automation ending his career in the role of Business Center Manager after 25 years of service.

Bob and two other Partners founded Friction Bonding in Beloit designing the first automated robotic friction bonding machine. Bob then moved into Applications/Systems and Sales and has worked to help System Integrators expand their Technical Sales and Engineering Teams for the past 15 years working for Comau-Pico/Comau, Maverick Technology, Crown ESA, ESE, Parker Hannifin, and Nolan Power/SBS Battery.

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.

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.

Jeff Roberts

Jeff Roberts

Membership & Industry Director

VP of Engineering – Crafts Technology

As the Director of Membership & Industry; Jeff is focused on bringing events and content to our members is a way that aligns manufacturing and engineering in a cool, entertaining, and educational way.

Jeff is the Vice President of Engineering at Crafts Technology. He leads the engineering team in the development, fabrication, and application
of advanced tooling solutions for industrial equipment. The team leverages their in-depth experience and knowledge of advanced materials and mechanical design to develop and deploy solutions that advance the performance and uptime of industrial machinery.

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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