Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 19

2022 SAE PRESIDENT | MANAGEMENT FEATURE
A case study in self-confidence
" When I joined Caterpillar, it was in the machine engine performance
group. We were about to enter the U.S. Tier 1 emissions regime for offroad
vehicles. I know, I'm dating myself. Anyway, Caterpillar had done this work
for onroad engines, so the thinking was we can do the same for offroad.
But there were differences.
First, there were only a handful of ratings for onroad engines. There
were literally hundreds of ratings for offroad engines. If we developed
rating by rating, it would have taken several years to do them one by one.
Also, the transient response requirements in offroad were much more
demanding than in onroad. We came up with the idea of doing load and
speed sweeps and using an optimization routine to finalize with each rating
and then just do point confirmation in the lab. I was a relatively junior
person, but I had confidence in our approach and pushed it. The product
owners said, 'This guy has confidence, why not give him a chance?'
So my team and I - there's never just one person - we proposed
Retired from Caterpillar, Srinath is principal board advisor at an Indian
electric vehicle manufacturer, Booma Innovative Transport Solutions.
Here, in October 2021, he gets a feel for one of their products.
me or you talking to these kids, college students would
have more relevant things to say. They have street cred. "
" Similarly, " he continued, " I'd like to see SAE young
professionals reaching into college to generate more
interest in mobility engineering. And then how do we
get maybe more senior managers to mentor the
young professionals, even cross-company mentoring?
There are lots of things I would like to bring about. I
always say you can't eat an elephant in a single bite;
you've got to start small and keep working. I've had
discussions with SAE's executives on how to bring this
about in stages. "
The new social-media-savvy generation, Srinath
said, " is a lot more about giving and doing good and
not quite as selfish as my generation was at their age,
to be blunt. So, we can tell them that if you join SAE,
you can get this and that benefit. That's fine. But if you
could also say, 'You can help by advancing the world
of science, advancing the world of mobility engineering,
and here's how mobility engineering can help the
world,' then you're bringing more of a sense of purpose.
I think this will actually connect better. "
Education and experience
After graduating from the elite Indian Institute of
Technology in Madras with a bachelor's degree in mechanical
engineering, Srinath earned a Ph.D. in aerospace
engineering from the University of Michigan in
1985, followed by two years of post-doctoral research
and teaching there.
He was hired by Caterpillar in 1987, working in fuel
systems, diesel engines, electronic engines and machine
systems. It didn't take him all that many years to
TRUCK & OFF-HIGHWAY ENGINEERING
something that would substantially reduce their costs and actually allow
them to get to the end point rapidly. They let us run with it - successfully!
The point is: If you believe in something, you have to get after it. Show
courage and conviction without coming on too strong. "
-Dr. Sri Srinath
Posing with a Caterpillar
machine while on safari in
Kenya, July 2010.
work his way into manager roles with multibillion-dollar budgets.
" I've expanded businesses globally because that's where the growth
was, " he said.
Enterprise transformation, marketing, talent development, supply
chain, product innovation and facilitation are some of the other main
areas in which he cultivated expertise at Caterpillar.
One of the sayings that Srinath keeps at top of mind is, " Reject the
tyranny of the 'or' and embrace the power of the 'and.' " He said: " It's
not a matter of quality or cost. Or fun or work. No, I want both. "
Regarding personal style, " I try to be easygoing and approachable, "
he said. " When you do that, people share their ideas freely. If you are
aloof, you don't get that. And we know that reluctance to share ideas
freely has a negative impact on collaboration and innovation. "
Srinath noted that " innovation happens at the intersection of disciplines
today. We have to have a willingness to collaborate across disciplines
to succeed in today's world. "
February 2022 19

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR4
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVRA
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVRB
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 3
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 4
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 5
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 6
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 7
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 8
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 9
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 10
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 11
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 12
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 13
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 14
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 15
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 16
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 17
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 18
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 19
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 20
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 21
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 22
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Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 25
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 26
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR3
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR4
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