Chrysler Group Engineer Wins Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Prize

Fellow Hussein Dourra
Hussein Dourra

AUBURN HILLS, MI--Feb. 28, 2013:  Chrysler Group LLC Technical Fellow Hussein Dourra has been named winner of the Edward N. Cole Award for Automotive Engineering Innovation for 2012.

The annual prize recognizes a Society of Automotive Engineering member whose lifetime accomplishments are deemed to be original, innovative and significant.

"Hussein exemplifies the drive and passion we seek to instill in our engineers," says Bob Lee, Chrysler Group LLC Vice President and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering. "We are extremely proud of his accomplishments and deeply grateful for the contributions he has made to the company and our industry."

Dourra, 55, joined the company in 1982 and currently leads the advanced powertrain controls team. He holds 22 U.S. patents and five international patents and helped pioneer the industry's first electronic transmission controls.

Dourra was the first beneficiary of the company's Technical Fellow program, earning the title in 2007. Technical Fellow is a title reserved for recognized industry experts.

In 2008, he shared the Walter P. Chrysler Technology Award. (Following a four-year hiatus, the company this week revived the annual prize, which is given to holders of Chrysler Group's most outstanding patents.) Dourra won for his work on an algorithm that enables precise control of multiple shift elements.

The breakthrough sparked the evolution of a six-speed automatic transmission that generated cost-savings of an estimated $360 million. The company also became the first North American auto maker to introduce a six-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive applications.

Chrysler Group remains an industry leader in advanced automatic transmission development. The company was the first and remains the only North American auto maker to produce vehicles with 8-speed automatic transmissions.

Chrysler Group also is on track this year to launch the world's first vehicle equipped with a nine-speed automatic.

Another of Dourra's patents that saw production is an algorithm that helps monitor critical operational parameters such a clutch temperature. It is used in the award-winning Ram 1500 pickup.

Edward N. Cole Award judges had a challenging task because many accomplished engineers were nominated, says award committee chairman Jim Grady.

Judges consider criteria such as the originality of an engineer's work and impact it has had on the industry.

"Our committee was especially impressed by the number of Hussein Dourra's ideas that made it through to vehicle production," Grady says. "This is why we made our call."

Dourra is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he earned a Ph.D in engineering and Master's degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Business Administration. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University, where he also serves as a guest instructor for graduate-level studies.

The Edward N. Cole Award honors the memory of the former General Motors Corp. president and CEO, who sought to inspire engineers and enhance the profession's reputation.

Dourra will receive his prize during the SAE 2013 World Congress, April 16-18. Chrysler Group is the host company; CEO and President Sergio Marchionne will deliver the keynote address; and Mircea Gradu, Vice President-Powertrain, Transmission and Driveline Engineering is event chairman.

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