IMMI's award-winning Premier engineering team (from left): Chris Foye, John Szalai, Jeff King, Dave Merrick, Doug Bittner and Tom Rumler.
WESTFIELD, Ind. — IMMI's Premier engineering team will receive the 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Henry Ford II Distinguished Award for Excellence in Automotive Engineering.
The award recognizes the company's accomplishments in increasing safety on motorcoaches and school buses with the development of the Premier seat, which incorporates SafeGuard SmartFrame technology to protect both belted and unbelted occupants.
The Henry Ford II Award recognizes SAE International members who use their engineering skills to achieve product or manufacturing process contributions that are assessed to have had the greatest positive effect on the passenger car, truck or bus industries. Established in 1988, the award is funded by Ford Motor Company and administered by the Henry Ford Award Board.
The Premier seat was originally developed for Greyhound, a division of FirstGroup America, for use on its motorcoaches. SmartFrame is a technology that was originally developed for the school transportation industry and has been available on school buses since 2002.
"Both IMMI and FirstGroup America have invested heavily in finding new ways to make travel safer," said James Johnson, director of sales for IMMI. "Our work together in developing Premier has resulted in a product that makes a real and lasting impact on the safety of motorcoach passengers traveling America's roadways."
Kevin Middleton, executive vice president of engineering and fleet at FirstGroup America, noted the influence of this new seat on the motorcoach industry. "The IMMI engineering team created a product that benefits both our clients and consumers," he said. "The feedback and ideas we were able to share allowed us to develop groundbreaking seat technology that is sure to have an impact on the industry moving forward."
The IMMI engineering team will receive its formal recognition at the 2010 World Congress on April 13 in Detroit, Mich.