• Staff Biographies

    Principal Investigators

    Don Hutchison



    Don Hutchison (Principal Investigator)

    Don is no stranger to Macomb, having previously served as Associate Dean of Engineering Technology from 2012 to 2017. His most recent assignment was as Dean of Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies at Oakland Community College (OCC) where he managed an array of STEM-related programs and served as Principal Investigator for an NSF ATE-funded project.

    Don is a graduate of the Focus: HOPE Machinist Training Institute in Detroit, MI.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from Lawrence Technological University, and a Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Operations from Kettering University.

    Don was previously employed by General Motors Corporation (GM) and held several positions in the design and engineering disciplines. As Staff Manufacturing Engineer, Don successfully completed multiple international assignments implementing common manufacturing processes between GM North America and GM Europe. Don has also consulted with state government-funded projects, non-profit organizations, and multinational corporations to assist in building and retaining a diverse manufacturing workforce.

    Ben Cruz



    Ben Cruz (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Benigno (Ben) Cruz, is Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College (MCC).

    Prior to joining CAAT on July 1, 2019, Ben was a Senior Engineering Group Manager responsible for the GM Climatic Wind Tunnels and the HVAC Laboratories. He was responsible for vehicle development and validation testing in wind tunnels capable of replicating extreme environments and drive conditions for validation testing. Ben Retired from GM March 29, 2019.

    Ben also had past assignments at GM Mexico where he was responsible for construction, staffing and start up of a Proving Ground in Mexico. Ben also had an assignment as Engineering Development Manager at the Desert Proving Ground in Arizona.

    Ben Holds a B.S.E. from Arizona State University, and an MBA from University of Phoenix.

    Gene Liao



    Y. Gene Liao (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Dr. Gene Liao is Director of Electric-drive Vehicle Engineering & Alternative Energy Technology, and Professor of Engineering Technology at Wayne State University. He is experienced in the areas of hybrid drivetrains, vehicle dynamics, and computer-aided engineering in manufacturing. Prior to Wayne State, he worked as a practicing engineer for over seventeen years in automotive sector.

    He holds a Doctor of Engineering from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Mechanical Engineer from Columbia University, M.S. from University of Texas at Arlington, and B.S. from National Central University (Taiwan), both in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Liao has research and teaching interests in the areas of automotive components design and manufacturing, vehicle dynamics, and electric-drive vehicle simulation and development. He has published more than 110 journal and conference papers, and four book chapters in these areas including two chapters in McGraw-Hill 12th edition Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers.

    He is the PI and co-PI for several federal and state funded projects in electric-drive vehicles and advanced energy storage systems. As an international recognized expert in these areas, he has served on the technical review committees for the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Singapore National Climate Change Secretariat and Research Foundation, Green Energy Transport Sector in the Sultanate of Oman, and Renewable Energy Engineering of Ethiopian Defense University.

    Shannon Williams


    Shannon Williams (Co-Principal Investigator)
    Shannon Williams is the new head of Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming at the Macomb Intermediate School District. In that role, she has the great privilege to service 21 school districts as they expand and evolve their CTE offerings. As an educational consultant Shannon works to ensure all districts in her sphere of influence are up to date on the latest trends, policies, and advancements in Career and Technical Education. While offering support to the local school districts Shannon also fosters relationships with industry partners who are looking to connect with students in a meaningful way.

    Shannon started her teaching career in Utica Community Schools in 2004 where she taught Business and Technology classes. In 2012 she left the classroom to become the CTE Teacher Leader for Utica. In that role, she helped manage the budget and curriculum for approximately 45 teachers, across 5 buildings, covering 16 different career pathways.

    In January of 2017, Shannon was offered the wonderful opportunity to become the Career and Technical Education Regional Administrator for Macomb County. She is honored to now serve all the districts in Macomb and looks forward to helping them advance CTE opportunities for students.


    CAAT Grant Staff

    Sherri Doherty



    Sherri Doherty
    Sherri Doherty is Assistant Director of Communications, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College.   She is focused on communication of the CAAT grant initiatives and resources to educational institutions, industry, and other partners.  Her primary responsibilities include management of the CAAT’s website, resource library, and social media presence, writing and editing the CAAT Tracks monthly newsletter, developing and planning the Center’s K-12 outreach activities, public events, and professional development opportunities.

    Sherri has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry.  Prior to joining  CAAT, Sherri was a Senior Project Manager at SPX Service Solutions where she launched and managed a global e-commerce website and fulfillment program on behalf of Chrysler Group, LLC.   She also served as Director of Operations at Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES), a non-profit business and education partnership funded by 14 automotive manufacturers to provide a pipeline of qualified service technicians to dealerships.  Earlier in her career, she was a Program Administrator for the Ford Marketing Institute and an Employment Services Officer at Wayne State University. Sherri has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

    Carol Hensler-Smith



    Carol Hensler-Smith
    Carol is the Website Content Coordinator at the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College. She researches emerging automotive technologies focusing on Connected and Automated Vehicles, Electric Vehicles, Alternative Fuel Sources and Lightweighting, and publishes relevant content to the CAAT’s online resource library and social media channels, creates digital media, and assists with events and the monthly newsletters.

    Carol has over 20 years of design and marketing experience and started her career creating digital presentations for GMAC. Later she worked for a Volkswagen IT subsidiary designing web interfaces. She also created online help systems, training materials, and proposal and presentation documentation. At Valenite LLC, Carol created marketing communications for field sales representatives, retail outlets, and trade shows.

    Prior to her position at Macomb, she broadcast CPE training to remote students via web conferencing and mobile devices, while using various digital communications to provide them with support.

    Carol has a BFA from Wayne State University and a Social Media for Business Certification from Macomb Community College.

    Mary Hojnacki



    Mary Hojnacki
    Mary Hojnacki is the Program Manager for the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College (MCC). She is focused on managing activities of the CAAT grant, including monitoring performance to grant commitments and budget. She also plans and coordinates conferences and activities.

    Mary has 30 years of information technology experience in industries ranging from automotive to telecommunications. She also has over 20 years experience as a project manager. Prior to joining CAAT, she worked for MCC as the grant administrator for the Health Information Technology grant.

    Mary has a B.S. degree in management science from the University of Detroit and an MBA from Oakland University. She also holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute.

    Nelson Kelly



    Nelson Kelly
    Nelson Kelly is Assistant Director, Energy and Automotive Technology, for the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College. He is responsible for technology assessments, curriculum development oversight, managing seed funding contracts and materials, and conducting periodic webinars and outside presentations. Those curriculum materials in emerging automotive technologies such as electrified powertrains, connected and automated vehicles, and lightweighting are disseminated via CAATs web site to educate automotive technicians in the latest automotive advancements that contribute to increasing the energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of vehicles.

    Prior to joining CAAT, he was a research scientist for 35 years at the General Motors Research and Development Center in Warren, Michigan. From 2000 to 2012 he developed solar-powered systems for the generation and compression of hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles and the direct DC charging of battery electric vehicles. After joining Macomb Community College, he taught three new courses in the Electric Vehicle Development Technician program. Each of the courses was developed and taught for the first time at Macomb Community College.

    Nelson has a B. S. degree in Chemistry from Miami University (Ohio) and a Ph. D. in Physical Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University.

    Saleta McMurray



    Saleta McMurray
    Saleta McMurray is the STEM Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College. Her responsibilities include recommending, developing and implementing innovative outreach strategies to increase awareness of automotive engineering related occupations. She is a travelling instructor focused on teaching STEM classes to middle/high school students and teachers in the CAAT’s regional area. Saleta also participates in all STEM related events and activities at Macomb Community College.

    Saleta has over 10 years of experience working for DaimlerChrysler and Chrysler LLC. She has worked in Product Engineering where her responsibilities consisted of developing, designing and testing chassis components for the Minivan. She also worked in Manufacturing Engineering where her responsibilities consisted of developing process lines for engine components and designing plant layouts for several of the engine part lines and support areas for the plants. During her years as an Engineer, she nearly completed the process of becoming a teacher through the Saginaw Valley State Accelerated Teaching Program.

    Saleta has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University.

    Sherri Sullivan



    Sherri Sullivan
    Sherri Sullivan is the Webmaster for the Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) at Macomb Community College.  She maintains the website, including responsive design, data analysis, and website best practices. Sherri manages layout, design, and distribution of the newsletter, CAAT Tracks, and provides support for social media campaigns. Sherri is also responsible for developing and maintaining the CAAT’s online resource library of classroom-ready educational materials, maintaining the Center’s social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and general website maintenance.

    Prior to joining CAAT, Sherri worked as an Office Manager and Program Coordinator for several companies, including the Rochester School of Martial Arts.  She is a certified Web Developer through the International Webmasters Associaton and the HTML Writers Guild.  She has pursued web development as a hobby for 20 years.

    Sherri has a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelors Degree in English, both from Oakland University.  She also has numerous certificates in web design and development, project management, and database administration.