The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) has given its 2017 Outstanding Leadership Award to David Roland Finley for his work as dean of business and engineering at Lake Superior State University. The citation was presented by ESD president, Douglas Patton, during the Society’s annual dinner on June 21 in Plymouth, Mich. Patton is executive vice president and chief technology officer of the engineering division at Denso International America, Inc.
The annual award honors between one and six ESD members, based on career accomplishment, communications, community relations, educational and professional relations, flexibility and creativity, finances, forward planning, operating, organizing, participation, planning, and publications.
As an LSSU dean since 2012, Finley has worked to establish an ESD student chapter on campus that is affiliated with the Engineering House living/learning community. He also oversees LSSU’s unique Product Development Center and serves on the boards of both Sault Sainte Marie Advanced Resources and Technology, Inc. (SmartZone) and Operation Action U.P.
More recently, Finley has been LSSU’s acting president since May 12. He has also been serving for the past year as LSSU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, on top of his responsibilities to the schools of engineering and business.
Lake State hired Finley in 2012 to take the helm of what was then the College of Business, Engineering, and Economic Development. Prior to that, he was vice president of academic affairs at Trine University in Angola, Ind.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric and oceanic science, and a master’s degree in atmospheric science, both from University of Michigan, as well as a master’s degree and doctoral degree in chemical engineering, both from Wayne State University.
Finley started his career in Ann Arbor as an environmental consultant but soon found his heart was in academia. Shortly after earning his Ph.D., he took a position as chair of the McKetta Dept. of Chemical Engineering at Trine University in Angola, Ind., and continued through the ranks there.
The Engineering Society of Detroit was founded in 1895 by a group of graduates from the University of Michigan. A list of members reads like a “Who’s Who” of past and present industry and civic giants, with luminaries such as automakers Henry Ford, Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca, and GM’s G. Richard Wagoner, as well as industrial architect Albert Kahn and biochemistry Nobel laureate Richard Kuhn. Today ESD reaches and represents more than 60,000 engineers and 3,000 companies.