Minnesota Section. Cargill, Wayzata, Minnesota.
Academic record: Technical University of Munich, Diplom Chemiker, 1991; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD, 1997.
Honors: GE Whitney Technical Achievement Award, 2004.
Professional positions (for the past 10 years): Cargill, chief technology officer, vice president of research, development, and innovation, 2018–, business leader for strategic growth business accelerator, 2021–; Dow, vice president, performance materials and coatings R&D, 2015–18, vice president, core R&D, 2013–15, director, global R&D, 2010–13.
Service in ACS national offices: ACS National Award Committee, 2005–06.
Service in ACS offices: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division: Executive Committee, 2004–06.
Member: Member of ACS since 1995. Innovate 50 (Division of World 50). ACS Divisions: Polymer Chemistry; Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering; Inorganic Chemistry.
Related activities: ACS Chief Technology Officer Forum, 2020–; Vernay Laboratories, Board of Directors, 2020–; Cargill, Ventures Board, 2019–; University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, Dean’s Advisory Board, 2019–; Texas A&M AgriLife and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, External Advisory Board, 2019–21; Future Food Tech, Advisory Board, 2021–; Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute, Executive Committee, 2014–16; University of Wisconsin–Madison, department of chemistry, Board of Advisors, 2013–; Oak Ridge National Laboratory Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorates, Scientific Advisory Board, 2013–15; European Organosilicon Day Advisory Board, 2006–08; numerous plenary and invited technical lectures (including the 14th Pacific Polymer Conference); certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (2003); 17 publications, 1 book chapter; 7 patents; select thought leader speaking engagements: Wall Street Journal Global Food Forum, 2022; Nobel Prize Summit, 2021; International Economic Forum of the Americas, 2019.
Feeding a global population that will reach 10 billion on a planet with fixed resources, enabling transportation with renewable resources, and humans living longer, healthier lives all have one thing in common: they depend on chemistry to make it happen! The central role of the chemical sciences in addressing the world’s most daunting challenges has always fascinated me. I have been a continuous member of the American Chemical Society from the time I was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through all stages of my career in six companies across multiple industries. I am now deeply honored and excited to be a candidate for president-elect of ACS. In today’s fast-paced, volatile world, the ACS mission “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people” and its vision “to improve people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry” feel more relevant than ever.
I firmly believe that challenges equal opportunities. ACS, with its meaningful mission and vision, large membership, portfolio of leading scientific journals, global reach, and strong foundation in science can be an indispensable catalyst in solving the world’s biggest challenges. If elected, there are three specific areas where I am especially passionate about engaging the talents and resources of ACS:
1. Building a diverse, flexible, and inclusive workforce is critical for the future of the chemical enterprise. I have experienced the value of diversity firsthand, as my wife of 25 wonderful years became the first Black woman to receive a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ACS has a strong track record in education, training, scientific publication, networking, and more. We need to build on these capabilities to adapt to evolving work requirements and a more multifaceted innovation ecosystem that increasingly includes start-up companies and collaboration hubs. I will be a visible champion for driving closer ties with historically Black colleges and universities and organizations like the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. I’ll also engage new ideas to attract nontraditional talent, including focused ACS partnerships with apprenticeship and upskilling platforms that reach talent outside of the classic educational pathways. This will help drive innovation and build skills for existing members, as well as grow the total membership and continued relevance of ACS.
2. Stronger and more collaborative ecosystem across academia, industry, and government entities. With its diverse membership, ACS is well-positioned to act as a catalyst to foster collaboration with traditional and nontraditional partners. In particular, the industrial sector continues to evolve rapidly, including the fast-growing, vibrant segment of start-up companies. For ACS to remain relevant to the evolving industrial landscape, and reverse the trend of declining membership, it must develop more tailored content, enhance collaboration opportunities, and bring different disciplines and constituents together. My unique background in companies ranging from small start-ups to large multinationals, active membership on the Cargill Ventures Board, and host of current connections, will help energize the broader chemical industrial community, drive engagement, and increase new member acquisition.
3. Sustainability through closer partnerships between the chemical and life science communities. Sustainability has emerged as the defining issue of our time! Chemistry innovation will be key to a more sustainable future. One area with the potential to provide new solutions is biotechnology, which fundamentally depends on the power of chemistry. From biochemical pathways to downstream processing technologies, chemistry and chemical engineering are essential pillars to enabling and accelerating the biotechnology economy. ACS has an opportunity to lead in this area by providing content, capabilities, and platforms of engagement as a catalyst to encourage collaboration with scientists in the life sciences. I look forward to working with the ACS strategic initiatives Campaign for a Sustainable Future and Accelerating Life Science Growth.
I humbly ask you for your vote. If given the opportunity to serve as president- elect of ACS, I commit to bringing my unique background in industrial innovation, strategy, venture engagement, and most importantly enthusiasm, passion, and leadership to work with ACS to make meaningful progress in the areas outlined above. In an environment where chemistry does not always get the credit it deserves, my experiences across multiple industries will help ACS reach a broader audience to spread its messages further. Over the past 146 years, ACS has evolved and reinvented itself to stay relevant and thrive, and it must continue to do so now. I am excited about what we can do together! Thank you.