President and CEO of Red Cedar Technology in East Lansing. In 1999, Averill and co-founder Erik Goodman formed an engineering design and consulting services company. The growth and success of those activities were primarily due to a new design-optimization tool. The company then developed its flagship product, HEEDS, to make the tool available to other engineers. Today, Red Cedar provides multi-disciplinary, design-optimization software, solutions, and technology. Averill is on the faculty at Michigan State Universityís Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he researches composite materials and structures, crashworthiness, the design of hybrid electric powertrains, and the design optimization of large and complex systems. He received his doctorate and masterís degree in engineering mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his bachelorís degree in engineering science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

WHERE BORN: "Jonesboro, Arkansas. But I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "My wife. She has unknowingly taught me a lot about running a business through her natural gift of understanding human behavior. More importantly, she makes sure that I remember what is most important, and she keeps me and our kids safe and sane. She is my best friend and most important advisor."

LAST BOOK READ: "What Time Is It? You Mean Now? by Yogi Berra, one of the greatest accidental philosophers of our time. I also read stacks of business and technical books, of course, but a little Yogi helps to balance things out."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Driven, honest, teacher."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "Automated optimization is the next wave to hit the fields of engineering design and scientific investigation. Just as the CAD (computer-aided design) and CAE (computer-aided engineering) waves before it, the introduction of design-optimization software tools will help engineers design much better products much faster than before, and help scientists better understand complex phenomena and discover new drugs and materials. For this reason, these tools will soon be on the desk of every scientist and engineer who performs math-based analysis or design. The industry will soon be thinned out, with those companies having the best technology surviving and supporting the market."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "My cell phone. It's not new technology, but with three offices and a busy travel schedule I rely on it heavily to stay in touch with customers, colleagues, and family."

FAVORITE PLACE: "A baseball field or a golf course anywhere in the world."

FAVORITE HOBBY: "Coaching youth baseball and playing golf."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Itís a toss-up between Mexican and Italian."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "Seeing the forest despite the trees. No matter how much is going on or how crazy it gets, I am usually able to maintain a clear focus on the big picture and use this vision to guide action."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "If I am remembered as a good father and husband, and as someone who had a positive influence on others, then I will consider this life successful. I hope to get bonus points for making some meaningful contributions to engineering design."