Rodica Baranescu is a mechanical engineer who started her professional and academic career in her native country-Romania, before immigrating to the United States in 1980. Prior to retiring in 2011, Baranescu was Chief Engineer in Engine Performance Analysis at the Technical Center of Engine and Foundry Division of Navistar International Transportation Corp. Her responsibilities included leadership and coordination of research and development activities in diesel engines for truck applications,
simulation and modeling of combustion, emissions, processes and systems in diesel engines, evaluation and development of alternative fuels for heavy-duty engines.
Baranescu has authored several technical papers in the field of diesel engines: performance and emission optimization of diesel engines, assessment of alternative fuels potential for automotive applications, simulation analysis of engine processes, statistical optimization of engine
design, etc. These papers have been published by the SAE and ASME technical societies.
An active member of SAE throughout her career, Baranescu was the first woman to become SAE International president in 2000. She is an SAE Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
A member of the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees, Baranescu is a long-term supporter of SAE’s educational programs A World In Motion and the Collegiate Design Series. She established an award for women in the commercial vehicle sector who demonstrate leadership and technical
innovation. Baranescu is one of five women who founded the SAE Foundation Women’s Giving Circle steering committee of which she is a member. She sits on the Individual Development Committee of
the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees, and has served on the SAE Foundation Banquet Committee since 2006.