Citizen of the World - SAE 2016 President Cuneyt Oge
‘Citizen of the world’

Cuneyt L. Oge begins his term as 2016 SAE International President with a vision about ‘auto-mobility and aero-mobility 2050.’

He was born in Turkey, spent time in the U.S. as a young adolescent, graduated high school in Europe, went to college in the U.S., learned to speak multiple languages, married a Greek, and traveled the world.

“As my name implies, I’m a bit of a curiosity,” allowed incoming SAE International President Cuneyt Oge (pronounced June-eight Oh-gay). The veteran management consultant, who officially takes over the reins of the SAE Presidency later this month, puts no negative spin on that self-appraisal. Quite the contrary, as he goes on to say: “I think I qualify as a bona fide citizen of the world.”

Which should prove effective in raising SAE’s global profile and making its products and services more relevant in a flattening and fast-changing world. Oge told SAE Update:

“I’ve worked all around the world. I learned that to be effective in this global world of ours, you have to learn how to be global personally.”

That means, among other things, speaking multiple languages and learning to have empathy for the unique situations that different countries and peoples find themselves in. “And you can only learn that by being on the ground and using all your senses in different situations,” he said. “I’ve had the privilege of working, literally, in most of the developed countries of the world in some capacity or the other working with engineers, with business people, and having friends and relationships around the world. To me, that’s all natural. That’s the way I grew up, that’s the way I’ve made my life.”

Oge retired as Partner in PWC’s PRTM Management Consultants in 2013 and spent his career serving the automotive and aerospace industry in charting new strategies and improving operations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Delta Wing Technologies, Inc. He has held numerous consulting jobs throughout his career, which began with an engineering position at Olin Chemicals Corp. in 1977. He has a BS in industrial management and an MS in industrial engineering and operations re-search-both degrees from the University of Massachusetts. He also did postgraduate work at the Stanford Business School.

A 21-year member of SAE, Oge has served on the SAE International Board of Directors and on the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees. He first got involved in SAE by helping to develop conferences, and along the way met SAE leaders who would be-come his mentors, among them past SAE Presidents John Leinonen (1995), Don Ableson (1999), and Dan Hancock (2014). “Being asked to serve as SAE President is truly an honor, and I’m delighted to be here.”

During an orientation day for new 2016 SAE Officers at the Society’s Pittsburgh headquarters on Dec. 9, Oge provided an overview of his goals as the new SAE President. What follows are his edited remarks. “Each President tries to put things in motion in hopes that they will outlast them and actually take root. My focus areas are going to be in three areas.

Number one is what I call the changing worlds of aero-mobility and auto-mobility-think of it as auto-mobility 2050 and aero-mobility 2050. The world of auto-mobility is fundamentally going through a revolution. Think about it: The powertrains that power our vehicles are changing. We have over 76 alternative-powertrain models in the U.S. market today. Never been seen before.

How we drive is changing.

Autonomous driving was a figment of many people’s imagination only a few years ago.

Now we’re talking about having it within a few years.

How we own cars is changing. Personal ownership is being displaced with shared vehicles. Many younger-generation owners would rather have a car on demand rather than own one. Think about this fact: By 2050, 85% of the developed world’s population will be living in urban centers. In many places in the world today, you cannot even drive into the city unless you have a specific kind of car or unless it’s a certain day of the week. So, the automotive side of the world is changing.

On the aerospace side, we’re seeing similar changes. By 2050, civil air transport and space transport are probably going to come together. We’re going to have space travel, we’re going to have space ports…

Just imagine that, spaceports alongside airports.

So we need to think these things through and crystalize SAE’s involvement and strategy for this changing world. We’re very active in the next-generation cars, we’re very involved with the standards development for things like cybersecurity, for driverless cars, battery charging standards for electric vehicles, for all types of aerospace developments around the world. So we’re well positioned, but we have to keep being proactive and out front, leading the industry to move forward successfully. The second area that I think we need to focus on is our global network. SAE International has a global network, but that network has to continue to grow and get stronger. The Brazilian engineer sitting in Brazil should be networked and talking seamlessly with the engineer in the U.S. or the engineer in India, or the engineer in China. That’s how engineers like to work, how they need to work. And I’m not talking about tools for collaboration. Those already exist. I’m talking about informal networks: the knowledge networks that SAE can help feed with its extraordinary depth of knowledge in specific technical areas, its intellectual property, and its historical files and libraries that contain invaluable information.


…As we continued to globalize, we have to think in terms of what I call altruistic capitalism.

As we go out to the world, I think we have to never lose sight of the fact that SAE is there to provide a value, a service, to society, as well as its members. But at the same time, we should do it in a way where it can generate revenues to cover at least the expenses of the value created. Because SAE, at the end of the day, is a business. Yes it is a nonprofit. Yes it is a business for creating value. But it has to have a business mindset as it approaches the world.”

By Patrick Ponticel, SAE Update Editor