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Grail Engine Technologies

Gary L. Stecklein


  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Kansas State University, 1974

  • M.S. in Business Administration, University of Texas/San Antonio, 1985


Gary Stecklein began his professional career as a design engineer with Deere & Company in 1974.  During his six years there he became responsible for the development of structural and hydraulic components for industrial crawler loaders and dozers. While at Deere & Company he received six patents; three patents associated with lubrication sealing techniques that reduced maintenance requirements, one for a backhoe boom system that extended its operational range, one for a manufacturing processes for flame-cutting a continuous bevel, and one for rigidly securing levers to shafts.


In 1980, Mr. Stecklein joined Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) as a senior research engineer.  In that position, he served as project manager on several research programs for military sponsors including the development of the first microcomputer-controlled, hybrid hydraulic and hybrid electric tracked military vehicles.  His responsibilities included the detailed powertrain designs and designs of the control systems for three vehicles.


In 1984, he was promoted to section manager and became responsible for the vehicle related research and development activities and the filtration and fine particle technology research performed at SwRI.  While he was manager, he developed the capability to provide powertrain test systems, including a system to test military generator sets to MIL STD 503B. 


In 1987, he was promoted to the position of director.  In that position he gained responsibility for medium-speed diesel engine development, radioactive real-time engine wear evaluations, and increased the test system development activity. Engine development activities undertaken included the development of a staged fuel injection system, a variable hydraulic intake and exhaust valve actuation system, and a variable compression ratio system applicable to diesel engines. Additionally, he managed the growth of an expanding test system development activity which produced, among several systems, an agricultural tractor test facility.


In 1990, he directed the development of the drivetrain engineering activity which included performance, efficiency, and reliability assessments of automatic, manual, and CVT transmissions.  In 1993, his department began to develop powertrain modeling and simulation capabilities for conventional and hybrid vehicles.  He has been involved in the development of over twenty hybrid powertrains for both military and commercial use.  These have included both series and parallel hybrid power trains.  As director, he was also responsible for the development of a fuel system and contamination research activity.

During his time as director, he remained technically active and contributed to the invention of a regenerative active suspension system, spherical pneumatic pump/motor, and hardware-in-the-loop test system applicable to both engine and transmission evaluations.  He continued to manage large programs including task order development contracts for government agencies.


In 2007 Mr. Stecklein left Southwest Research Institute to form his own consulting firm, Gary Stecklein Consulting.  He now specializes in assisting firms in the development of advanced technology products for the energy and transportation industries.  He recently was awarded a patent for a hydro-mechanical transmission and is currently developing a very high specific power gear reducer and direct kinetic energy conversion system.   


Mr. Stecklein holds eleven U.S. patents, with several more in process, and two R&D 100 awards.


PROFESSIONAL CHRONOLOGY:  Deere & Company, 1974-80 (design engineer, 1974-77; project engineer,
1977-80); Southwest Research Institute, 1980-2007 (senior research engineer, 1980-84; manager, 1984-87; director, 1987-2007); Gary Stecklein Consulting, 2007-present.