Joseph F. Engelberger

Robotics Awards



Catherine Morris

Catherine Morris

2019 Engelberger Robotics Award for Leadership

Catherine Morris is the Director of Automotive Sales and Group Leader for ATI Industrial Automation, the world-leading manufacturer of robotic end-effectors. She has been an integral part of ATI since 1994, and is a champion of change, both within the organization and the industry as a whole. Her dedication to ATI and its mission to make automation more accessible has created countless opportunities for growth of the organization. In her role as Director of Automotive Sales, Catherine is working to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing relationships through superior customer service. Catherine’s commitment to delivering the very best possible solution, no matter what, has made her a leader within ATI and the robotics industry. Her work ethic is built on trust and quality, and her customers have come to recognize her as a person who gets things done. Even when customer needs extend beyond ATI solutions, Catherine reaches deep into her network to help her customers resolve challenges. By truly listening to the problem and exacting due diligence, Catherine facilitates solutions that enable her customers to thrive.

In addition to her work with ATI, Catherine has been an active Board Member of the Robotics Industries Association (RIA) as well as the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for both organizations, and was a Past Chairperson of RIA. She was the first woman to be elected Chair of RIA in 2012, and the first person to represent an end-effector supplier in RIA leadership. Catherine has also worked extensively to help secure exhibitors, special guests, and facilitate promotional efforts for the biannual Automate Show. Under her direction, the Automate Show’s attendance and popularity have surged to record levels. This platform has given Catherine great insight which she has used to better ATI and the robotics industry. She is a meticulous learner who is connected to her company and her industry. Her accomplishments are proof of what can be gained by just staying in touch. She has a reputation for responsiveness and is never afraid to ask one more question or take just another look at something. Catherine is a vigilant advocate for all who participate in the automation industry, from major robot manufacturers to smaller equipment suppliers. She encourages her peers to leave their logos at the door and work with the entire industry in mind. Catherine’s ability to bring people together and help them to see things in new ways has made her a tremendous asset to ATI as well as RIA and A3.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Catherine began her career as a physical education teacher. This experience coupled with her time as a member of the UNC Lady Tar Heels basketball team has given her a passion for learning and a competitive edge that drives her work. When she is not supporting and coaching fellow ATI team members and serving the automation industry, you can find Catherine taking in UNC’s athletic events. She serves on the Executive Board of the UNC Rams Club (part of the Educational Foundation), UNC Board of Visitors, and the Advisory Board for the UNC Writing and Learning Center.

“I am very surprised and extremely honored to be this year’s recipient of the Joe E. Engelberger award for leadership. As I join the ranks of so many notable peers, I cannot help but feel grateful. From the very beginning, I was wholeheartedly embraced by this industry at a time when very few women were even trying to do what I was doing. That warm welcome and steadfast support have paved the way for me. Many of the people I worked with became valuable mentors and lifelong friends. I fell in love with this industry after my first sales call. Speaking with a potential client to discuss the possibilities of making robots flexible was so exciting! I was told later by that same client that I’d found my niche in sales and have not looked back. I am very fortunate to work for a company that encourages me to continue learning and developing my skills as a leader, while also serving in organizations like A3 and RIA that exist to better our industry. I have an opportunity to educate companies on what is possible with automation and foster growth for all. Winning the Engelberger Leadership award is definitely the pinnacle of my career and means more than I can express in words."

Catherine Morris, Director of Automotive Sales, Group Leader, ATI Industrial Automation

Dr. Howie Choset

Dr. Howie Choset

2019 Engelberger Robotics Award for Education

Howie Choset is the Kavcic-Moura Professor of Computer Science in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he serves as the co-director of the Biorobotics Lab and as director of the Robotics Major. While working at Penn’s GRASP Lab, he earned undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Entrepreneurial Management. Thereafter, Howie received his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in 1996.

Howie’s research group reduces complicated high-dimensional problems found in robotics to low-dimensional simpler ones for design, analysis, and planning. Motivated by applications in confined spaces, Choset has created a comprehensive program in modular, high DOF, and multi- robot systems, which has led to basic research in mechanism design, path planning, motion planning, and estimation. This work has been supported by both industry and government and has appeared in several journal papers (including one in Science and two in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sceince), 180 conference papers.

Choset's research program has contributed to strategically significant problems in diverse areas such as surgery, manufacturing, infrastructure inspection, and search and rescue. In addition to publications, this work has led to Choset, along with his students, to form several companies including Medrobotics, for surgical systems, Hebi Robotics, for modular robots, and Bito Robotics for autonomous guided vehicles. Recently, Choset’s surgical snake robot cleared the FDA and has been in use in the US and Europe since.

Choset also leads multi-PI projects centered on manufacturing: (1) automating the programming of robots for auto-body painting; (2) the development of mobile manipulators for agile and flexible fixture-free manufacturing of large structures in aerospace, and (3) the creation of a data-robot ecosystem for rapid manufacturing in the commercial electronics industry. This year, Choset co-lead the formation of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, which is $250MM national institute advancing both technology development and education for robotics in manufacturing. Finally, Choset is a founding Editor of the journal Science Robotics.

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