SME appoints Tracy Cullen Senior Director of Strategic Communications and Brand Management

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., October 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — SME, the trade association committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce, announced the appointment of Tracy Cullen CAE as Senior Director, Strategic Communications and brand management. She will report to SME Managing Director and CEO Robert “Bob” Willig.

Cullen joined SME from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) where she served for six years as Assistant Vice President, Communications and Brand Management. She was hired at NEMA as a change agent to form the first fully integrated communications and marketing department in NEMA history, leading the corporate communications, member marketing, and meeting planning teams. , as well as leading NEMA through a repositioning campaign that included modernizing the brand, rebuilding infrastructure, and redesigning materials. As an internal strategist for 56 product sections, Tracy led numerous industry initiatives including awareness, stakeholder engagement and consumer education campaigns.

Prior to NEMA, Cullen led global marketing and communications initiatives for the Plastics Industry Association, serving as senior vice president. There, she led the association through a name change, dues restructuring and rebranding initiative. She developed multi-million dollar event marketing campaigns for NPE, one of the world’s largest trade shows, spanning one million square feet and attracting 65,000 attendees, which generated gate revenue of $1 million. She has also managed aggressive advocacy campaigns to fight hardware and product bans.

While at Plastics, her team became the first industry group to successfully overturn a blanket material ban by Walmart, and she partnered with Edelman Public Relations to fight proposals to ban plastic bags. plastic at national and local levels. She also managed the plastics industry partnership with the Walt Disney Corporation in a $7 million multi-year consumer education campaign on the benefits of plastics.

In the area of ​​crisis management, Cullen led the chlorine industry’s crisis response through two fatal train derailments over a six-month period and managed the industry’s role through several community-wide terrorist exercises held along the Gulf Coast in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security. At Plastics, she led the successful move of her international trade show to a new location after 40 years at the same location.

“Tracy is a seasoned marketing communications professional with a proven track record of leading innovative outreach strategies that drive growth and engagement to advance America’s manufacturing sectors,” said Willig. “We look forward to her leading our team through a number of new strategic communications and branding initiatives that will position SME for continued relevance and growth over its next 90 years.”

“I’ve been a longtime supporter of the SME mission and believe that manufacturing is the key to economic growth and prosperity,” Cullen said. “I am excited to dedicate my skills and abilities to advancing manufacturing technologies and developing the manufacturing workforce.”

Cullen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Voice Communication from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginiawhere she graduated Cum Laude, as well as a Professional Certificate in Digital Media Management from Georgetown University in washington d.c.. She holds a Professional Certification in Association Management from the American Society of Association Executives and is an active member of the National Press Club and Washington Women in Public Relations.

About the SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, universities and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to create inspired, educated and successful manufacturers and businesses. With nearly 90 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and through the SME Education Foundation, SME is committed to advancing manufacturing technology, develop a skilled workforce and attract future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


Cathy W. Howerton