Alumni Excellence Academy Inductee 2016

Mike Smitley

'86, Engineering Graphics


Mike Smitley is a Section Leader of Production Engineering Planning at DENSO Manufacturing Michigan, Inc. (DMMI) in Battle Creek. He spent the first 25 years of his engineering career at DMMI, Ralston Foods and the Kellogg Company, joining DENSO as an advanced engineer in 1997. At DENSO, Mike led engineering teams dedicated to a variety of automotive heating and cooling products, including starting up an automated heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) assembly process and launching new production processes in Canada, Arkansas and Mexico.

Mike facilitates partnerships with WMU and other universities and established a partnership between DMMI and the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency (KRESA). Mike’s work with KRESA through the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum engaged more than 20 DENSO engineers in local middle school classrooms. After piloting the program in Portage, Mike helped expand PLTW into a regional partnership for DENSO in North America, paving the way for DENSO engineers throughout the U.S. to build excitement for careers in manufacturing and engineering.

Mike earned a BS in Engineering Graphics from WMU in 1986.  His grandmother earned a Life Certificate from Western State Teachers College in 1931, and a BS from Western Michigan College of Education in 1956.  Mike’s mother earned a BS from WMU in 1962. Continuing the family tradition, Mike’s son recently earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at WMU.