LIVONIA, MICH. (July 2, 12:10 p.m. ET) — The Society of Plastics Engineers' Automotive Division will honor Gary Lownsdale with its Innovation Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2012.
Lownsdale currently is chief technology officer for Plasan Carbon Composites Inc., a Bennington, Vt.-based maker of carbon fiber composites for the auto industry. The SPE Automotive Innovation awards ceremony is set for Nov. 7 in Livonia, Mich.
Lownsdale has been active in auto composites and plastics since the 1960s and was involved in the first use of sheet molded compound for Chrysler's Dodge Dart in 1968 and the first injection molded interior thermoplastics for Chrysler in the 1970 Barracuda and Challenger.
At Ford Motor Co., Lownsdale helped develop the first full-width thermoplastic instrument panels, with polycarbonate replacing steel in F Series pickup trucks. He was part of the team at General Motors Corp. in the 1980s to develop the Saturn line of cars and has been with Plasan since 2008.
Beyond the auto industry, he helped develop composite-bodied ski boats for Mastercraft Boats.