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Speaker Biography

1998 Foresight/IMM/CCIT Senior Associates Gathering


Robert M. Santer

Bob Santer has held a number of interesting positions in his twenty one years as an aerospace/defense engineering professional, automotive engineer/designer, management professional and analyst. Today, Santer is pursuing future technology trends and their potential impact on the Ford Motor Company and overall automotive industry.

Currently, Santer is Chief Product Analyst for Technology Planning and Support within Ford's Advanced Vehicle Technology organization. This activity is responsible for helping manage Ford's Research and Development function, ranked #2 in the United States for total spending in pure and applied R & D.

Aware of the potential effect that revolutionary, as well as evolutionary, technology can have on all aspects of automotive design, production and application, Santer consults a broad range of intelligence sources for early warning indicators of technology impacts. His broad background in engineering and the base sciences, as well as the application aspects of technology interface, make his efforts a widely cross functional endeavor. He is also part of several teams within Ford, assessing new technology communication impacts within large organizations, and the applications of futuring methodologies to needs based segmentation.

From 1991 to 1996, Santer was Studio Engineering Supervisor for multiple production vehicle programs, leading diverse cross functional teams from vehicle concept to production-ready status. Additionally, throughout the 1980's, Santer helped to establish, develop and apply the concept of aerodynamic design to Ford Motor's entire vehicle lineup, including drag reduction for fuel economy, lift management for improved handling, cooling airflow management and acoustic development for reduced windnoise. The concepts and equipment developed by Santer still provide the basis for automotive aerodynamic development today. Prior to his coming to Ford, Santer was design and liaison engineer for the prototype and production F/A18 Hornet, F15 Eagle, and AV8B Harrier fighter aircraft programs.

Some other details of his career include:

  • Currently a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Management at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Santer holds a Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering and a Master's in Engineering Management, both from the University of Michigan.
  • Experienced as a professional engineer and supervisor in research, planning, purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and other more specialized areas. Includes directing a variety of research scientists/staff in advanced automotive technology areas. International design and production experience in Asia.
  • National speaker on a variety of automotive engineering issues to professional, business and university groups. Past consultant to university and industry groups in automotive related subjects.
  • Commercially and privately traveled

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