TARDEC's Rizzo receives Award for Women Leaders
Denise M. Rizzo, Ph.D., Research and Mechanical Engineer, Powertrain Modeling and Simulation, U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), was presented with the 2017 J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders at WCX17: SAE World Congress Experience in Detroit in April.
This award, which recognizes a woman active in the mobility industry who has achieved the best balance of life by demonstrating outstanding performance, leadership, and innovation, was established by the SAE Women Engineers Committee to recognize the role of women in the mobility industry by the contributions they make both professionally and personally.
"There are a lot of great women working in the industry, so to be recognized is a huge honor," said Rizzo, who specializes in modeling, simulation, and control of propulsion systems of ground vehicles. "I feel lucky to win something while getting to do what I love."
She has been active with the SAE Dynamical Modeling and Simulation Standards and Powertrain Controls and Calibration committees. She has also served as Session Organizer and/or Chair for sessions at the SAE World Congress from 2013 through 2016. In 2015, she developed a new session title "Modeling and Simulation of Military Ground Vehicles."
"I've been going to the SAE World Congress since I was an undergraduate student," Rizzo said. "It has allowed me to branch out and meet people from all over the world who are working on important challenges. Participating in the modeling and simulation sessions has expanded my technical knowledge and given me a more rounded picture of modeling and simulation."
Rizzo praised the support she has received from the U.S. Army for her research ideas. Prior to joining TARDEC in 2008, she was a research and development engineer in the Powertrain Group at Chrysler LLC. She noted how the focus of her research shifted when she moved from a position in industry to one in the military.
"You're completely flipped from focusing on regulations, such as emission regulations, to focusing on survivability—how saving fuel helps save lives. Using less fuel means using fewer tanks. Fewer tanks equals increased safety."
Right now, her research is focusing on the use of energy from a very high view. "Rather than focusing on a vehicle, we're looking at energy use by convoys and platoons, as well as autonomous vehicle systems," she explains. "I'm looking at energy use from the battlefield perspective – using energy to best benefit the soldiers. It's very exciting."