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TRW's Vos Named Design News 'Engineer of the Year'

Mar 5, 2003

Tom Vos, Director of Safety Systems Technology for TRW Automotive, has been named 2003 "Engineer of the Year" by the readers of Design News magazine.

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A pioneer in the occupant safety restraints arena, Vos has dedicated a 40- year career to developing significant advancements in seat belts, air bags and integrated safety systems, playing a key role in the rapid growth of the inflatable restraints business for TRW Automotive in the 1980s and 1990s.

As the 16th Design News "Engineer of the Year," Vos was honored at the annual Design News awards dinner on Tuesday, March 4th, at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. His award included a $25,000 educational grant from Timken's Torrington Co., Torrington, Conn., which is going to his alma mater, Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

"Tom Vos is the embodiment of what our business is all about, a single- minded dedication to safety, customer satisfaction and product excellence," said John Plant, president and CEO, TRW Automotive. "Tom's persistence in bringing the first driver side air bag for TRW to market is a great example of someone who truly believed that what they were doing could make a difference to the motoring public."

A holder of 13 patents in restraint design and manufacturing innovation, Vos has been much involved in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) development of federal safety standards for motor vehicles, during a time when the regulatory environment could best be described as contentious.

"From his work in product research and through to application, Tom gained a very in-depth understanding of all aspects of occupant safety systems. He knows the technology, and the interaction of all the products together. He also understands the laws and why the laws were written the way they were. He's a tremendous asset not only for the technical community, but also is viewed by NHTSA as a repository of knowledge," says Kevin McMahon, vice president of government affairs for TRW.

Overall, air bags are credited with a 12 percent fatality reduction for all occupants, belted or unbelted, in all crashes. The mid-1990s brought a growing awareness of energy management issues and the complementary roles that seat belts and air bags could play. By considering the system as a whole, engineers were learning better how to maximize the dissipation of the occupant's kinetic energy.

Currently, Vos and his engineering team are focusing on advanced bag/belt systems and directing a team that is developing advanced sensing systems that will tailor system performance to occupant position/crash scenarios. He also continues to be the point man for regulatory and legal occupant safety issues.

TRW Automotive's sales place it eighth largest among the world's automotive suppliers. Now the seventh largest firm headquartered in the Detroit Metropolitan area, the company employs approximately 64,000 people in 22 countries.

TRW Automotive is headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA. Its products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine valves, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts. TRW Automotive news is available on the Internet at .

Photo: NewsCom: AP Archive: PRN Photo Desk, +1-888-776-6555 or +1-212-782-2840 SOURCE: TRW Automotive

CONTACT: Manley Ford, +1-734-266-2616, or John Wilkerson, +1-734-266-3864, both of TRW USA, or Ilke Kaufmann of TRW Europe, +49-211-584-557

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