ED DESMET: FORD TECH SPECIALIST BRINGS UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE TO SEAT BELT SAFETY
Ed DeSmet, global safety belt technical specialist
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- Ed DeSmet, global safety belt technical specialist in Ford Motor Company’s Restraints Core Engineering department, is celebrating 20-plus years as a restraints engineer with the introduction of Ford’s inflatable rear seat belt
- DeSmet has helped develop multiple seat belt technologies that are in Ford vehicles today
- DeSmet has ridden motorcycles since his college days and says the experience has made him a more alert driver in general and more aware of people who still don’t use their seat belts
Ed DeSmet, global safety belt technical specialist in Ford Motor Company’s Restraints Core Engineering department, is a self-described “car guy” who also has been an avid motorcyclist since his college days. He said he’ll never forget when his former father-in-law, who worked for Genesee County Police as the crash investigation reconstruction expert, showed him a graphic, four-inch-thick binder full of motorcycle fatality reports as warning.
“After I finished looking through the binder, he asked me if I still wanted to ride,” said DeSmet. “I said yes and thanked him for making me ride more defensively. I’m always on the lookout for potential hazards and safety concerns whether I’m riding a motorcycle or driving a car.”
One safety concern that has caught DeSmet’s attention over the years is car occupants who still don’t wear their seat belts despite state laws that require it.
“Knowing that I work on a commodity that saves people’s lives is very rewarding,” DeSmet said. “I want to make sure that everyone wears their safety belt. So, making them comfortable, easy to use, and, of course, as safe as possible are my top priorities at Ford, and providing protection for my wife and daughter is my top priority as a husband and father.”
DeSmet’s work on development of Ford’s inflatable safety belt has been especially important to him because it advances the safety for rear seat passengers, particularly children
DeSmet has worked on restraint systems at Ford for more than nine years, starting as a safety belt design and release engineer. Prior to joining Ford, DeSmet worked on safety belt testing, design, manufacturing, benchmarking, research and development, and assembly at suppliers TRW and Autoliv for nearly 11 years.
Among his many career highlights, DeSmet was one of Ford Body Engineering’s technical maturity model award winners this year for new safety belt pretensioner testing methodology, pretensioner benchmarking and specification development.
DeSmet developed the lower seat belt guide for the 2005 Mustang Convertible, and Ford’s first seat-integrated three-point belt system. He also helped develop multiple safety belt technologies that are in Ford vehicles today such as the Excell height adjuster, higher powered pretensioners, and adaptive and digressive load limiting retractors.
In 2006, DeSmet led a global summit with Ford of Europe, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover to commonize global safety belt design specifications and content strategies. He also mentors new safety belt engineers and developed Seatbelt 101 training material for new engineers or non-safety belt engineers.
While safety is his primary concern, DeSmet also keeps an eye on safety belt quality, having developed a global craftsmanship standard for D-ring and height adjuster execution through Ford’s Interior Group. In addition, he developed the global safety belt J.D. Power APEAL linear regression model for the Vehicle Integration team.
“Safety belts have changed as much or more than cars have since I started working on them almost 20 years ago,” DeSmet said. “Safety belts are continuously improving and doing more to help protect people in crashes. Developing requirements and technology needed to deliver world-class safety belts is my driving interest.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Ed has been married to Amy ReVoir for 10 years. They have one child, Lucy, age 9.
- Ed has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University).
- On the weekends, Ed enjoys bicycling, motorcycle riding, watching sports, golfing and relaxing.
- Ed rides a 1992 Honda Nighthawk 750, and has ridden it to Chicago, Toronto and Dayton, Ohio.
- Ed’s favorite pet is his daughter’s tropical betta fish named Finsley.
- Ed says the best Ford vehicle ever made is the Mustang, and plans to get a 2010 GT convertible next year.
- Ed loves visiting far-away tropical places such as Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and his dream vacation is Tahiti. When traveling, he finds it interesting to see how and what locals drive, and how many people still don’t use their safety belts.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Nov. 5, 2009