Michael R. Withers, vice president of ride engineering at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) in Glendale, Cailf., has received the ASTM International Award of Merit and title of fellow from ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices. The Award of Merit is the highest organizational recognition for individual contributions to ASTM standards activities.
A member of ASTM International since 2000, Withers was honored for his outstanding leadership in the development of ASTM safety standards for the global amusement industry, and his efforts in promoting the worldwide use and adoption of Committee F24 standards. Withers is vice chairman of Subcommittee F24.24 on Design and Manufacture and works on several F24 subcommittees. He is currently serving a term on the ASTM board of directors.
After graduating from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich., in 1972, with a B.S. in engineering, Withers began his professional career as a project engineer with Autosafety Engineering in Rochester, Mich. In 1974, he became a project manager at the John Z. DeLorean Corp. in Bloomfield Hill, Mich., and in 1977, took the position of vice president with Triad Services in Troy, Mich. In these roles he was involved with mechanical and systems engineering and automotive safety systems.
In 1990, Withers joined Walt Disney Imagineering as manager of operations of the show ride division, and he was promoted to director of operations the following year. Walt Disney Imagineering is the division of The Walt Disney Company responsible for the creation, design and delivery of all of Disney's theme parks, attractions, resorts, cruise ships and other entertainment venues worldwide. In his current role, which he assumed in 2000, he has responsibility for amusement ride mechanical and electronic engineering and he manages the engineering technical development programs. He also serves as project manager for the Disney Global Ride Safety Enhancement Program.
Outside ASTM International, Withers is a member of SAE International and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
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August 17, 2011