Plenary & Keynote Speakers


Plenary Speakers


MONDAY, March 18 — Morning

Sponsored by

Dr. Sindee L. Simon, Department Chair of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University

SPE International Award Recipient 2019

Title: Polymer Physics: Academic Research and Impacts

Abstract: Academic research in polymer physics significant impacts students, the plastics industry, and society. Students are exposed to new ideas and challenged to think, not only logically but creatively, in the course of performing undergraduate or graduate-level research. They learn to pay attention to detail and to experience the excitement that comes with new discoveries. They also mature as professionals, develop commitment, and begin to understand why there is the "re" before "search" in "research." Research also provides students with new opportunities, opening doors that they could not even imagine before they began to work closely with and be mentored by a faculty member. In terms of impact on industry and society, research in plastics has resulted in innumerable benefits ranging from improved food storage with better packaging to reduced fuel consumption through lighter automotive and aerospace structural components. My own work deals with methodologies to predict and reduce residual stresses in large composite parts, as well as fundamental work aimed at understanding the nature of the glass transition and nanoconfined polymerizations. Potential applications and implications will be described.

About the Speaker: Dr. Sindee L. Simon is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor and Whitacre Department Chair of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include the physics of the glass transition, cure and properties of thermosetting materials, and materials behavior at the nanoscale, including polymerization reaction kinetics and thermodynamics. She has received numerous honors, including the SPE Research/Engineering Technology Award, the Mettler Toledo Outstanding Achievement Award from the North American Thermal Analysis Society (the highest award of the society), and Fellowship in SPE, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Physical Society,and the North American Thermal Analysis Society. Dr. Simon obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Yale University in 1983 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Princeton University in 1992. She took over her current duties as Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech in 2012.

TUESDAY, March 19 — Morning

Sponsored by

Steve Russell, Vice President of the Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council

Title: Can We End Plastics Waste?

Abstract: Plastics enable health, safety, sustainability and convenience benefits that have revolutionized society. However, plastic waste in the environment, particularly the ocean, is a serious challenge. While progress has been made to increase plastic recycling and recovery, the scale of the problem is immense and will only increase on our current path. CEOs from along the plastic value chain have created a new, business-driven, results-oriented entity to eliminate plastic waste in the environment. The initiative will address: Waste Management Infrastructure and Systems, Innovation, Education and Engagement, and Clean Up. Members will invest in technical solutions such as improved optical sorting and packaging formats, as well as optimized products and designs. Looking ahead, deployment of innovative technologies to create value from used plastics through new business models will play an increasingly important role in designing waste management infrastructure to prevent major leakage areas, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

About the Speaker: Steve Russell joined the American Chemistry Council in 1995 and is currently the Vice President of the Plastics Division, where he leads public-private partnerships and solutions-oriented programs to address the sustainability of plastics. Mr. Russell has helped to ensure the availability and use of life cycle information on plastics, and has launched a number of innovative programs to improve plastic collection and recycling of post use plastics in the Asia-Pacific region. More recently he played a key role in creating the World Plastics Council, a group of CEOs from among the world’s largest chemical and plastics companies to prioritize and fund systems to keep plastic out of our oceans.

In previous roles Mr. Russell has participated in the development of chemicals management and product stewardship programs and policies in the US and Europe, with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and with various multilateral organizations. He has served on a Federal advisory committee on chemicals policy, and created a voluntary industry initiative to generate and make publicly available critical health and safety information on industrial chemicals.

Mr. Russell earned a BA from the University of Kansas and a JD from California Western School of Law.


Sponsored by

Dr. Deborah Mielewski, Senior Technical Leader of Sustainable Materials and Advanced Materials, Ford Motor Company

Title: Advances in Automotive Plastics & Composites

Abstract: The growth of the auto industry, current policy frameworks and R&D efforts encourage the use of cost effective, lightweight, sustainable and advanced materials for automotive applications. Ford scientists continue to pioneer the development of advanced and sustainable materials, which meet stringent automotive requirements, including nanocomposites, aerogel, natural fiber reinforced composites, polymeric and soft materials made from renewable feed stocks, 3-D printed plastic parts, bio-inspired and patterned functional materials as well as plastic parts made from recycled carbon dioxide.

About the Speaker: Dr. Deborah Mielewski is the Senior Technical Leader of Sustainable Materials and Advanced Materials at Ford Motor Company. She received her B.S.E. ('86), M.S.E. ('93) and PhD ('98) degrees in Chemical Engineering, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and has been with Ford Motor Company for 31 years. Dr. Mielewski has worked at Ford Research in automotive paint durability, polymer processing and materials development. She initiated the biomaterials program at Ford Research in 2001, and her team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating. Ford launched soy-based foam on the 2008 Mustang, and soy seat cushions, backs and headrests have found their way into every Ford North American built vehicle. Bio-based foams currently reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 million pounds and reduce petroleum dependence by over 5 million pounds annually.

The group continues to pioneer the development of sustainable plastic materials that meet stringent automotive requirements, including natural fiber reinforced plastics and polymer resins made from renewable feed stocks. Another success has been the development and implementation of wheat straw filled poly(propylene), that was launched on the 2010 Ford Flex storage bins. This material utilizes a waste stream, is lighter in weight than either talc or glass filled materials, and reduces CO2 emissions. In 2013, the first automotive application of cellulose reinforced poly(propylene) was introduced in the armrests of the Lincoln MKX. The cellulose reinforced composite, developed with Weyerhaeuser, replaces a glass-filled component, and is lighter in weight. Ford currently has 8 plant-based materials in production vehicles, establishing a reputation as a leader in this space.

Dr. Mielewski is passionate about the work she does to reduce Ford’s environmental footprint and believes that these new materials are going to dominate the market in the future. She has appeared in a Ford national commercial, the NOVA “Making Things” series, and has been interviewed by countless media outlets, including Wall Street Journal, Time Inc. and CNN. She has over 60 referred journal publications and 10 U. S. patents. Her work has been acknowledged with awards such as the Henry Ford Technology Award, the R&D100 award, the Free Press Automotive Leadership Award, the Environmental Management Association Award and the American Chemical Society’s Industrial Innovation Award. She has spoken at prestigious outlets such as TED and the Smithsonian.


Keynote Speakers


MONDAY, March 18 — Afternoon

Dr. Mark Spalding, Fellow in Packaging and Specialty Plastics R&D, The Dow Chemical Company

SPE Research/Engineering Technology Award Recipient 2019

Title: Process Design and Troubleshooting Using a Fundamental Approach

Abstract: TBA

About the Speaker: Mark A. Spalding is currently a Fellow in the Materials & Parts Processing Group (MPP) in Midland. He joined Dow in 1985 after completing a BS degree from The University of Toledo (1979) and a MS and Ph.D. (1985) from Purdue University, all in Chemical Engineering.

Mark has held a number of technical positions in Corporate R&D, Polystyrene R&D, Plastics R&D, and INCLOSIA* Solutions. He is the author of over 130 technical publications. His expertise is in single-screw extrusion and related polymer processing technologies. He co-authored a book from Hanser Publications with Prof. Gregory A. Campbell with the title "Analysis and Troubleshooting of Single-Screw Extruders."

He has solved some of the most complicated extrusion problems at Dow customer’s plants by developing and applying sophisticated troubleshooting methods. These solutions have created considerable value to both Dow and to our customers. He has designed extrusion systems for most of Dow’s major customers for virtually every resin that Dow produces.

He is a Fellow and an Honored Service Member (HSM) of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

TUESDAY, March 19 — Afternoon

Dr. Anil K. Bhowmick, Chair Professor, Indian National academy of Engineering and Professor of Eminence, Rubber Technology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology

SPE Fred Schwab Education Award Recipient 2019

Title: Thermoplastic Elastomers - An Overview

Abstract: TBA

About the Speaker: Prof. Anil K. Bhowmick is a Professor of Eminence and former Head of Rubber Technology Centre and Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Dean (Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy), IIT Kharagpur. He was previously associated with the University of Akron, Ohio, USA, London School of Polymer Technology, London and Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. His main research interests are: Thermoplastic Elastomers and Polymer blends , Nanocomposites, Polymer modification, Polymer Technology, Failure and Degradation of Polymers, Adhesion and Adhesives. He has more than 550 publications in these fields, 35 book chapters and seven co-edited books. He was also co-editor of the special issue of Polymer and Composite Characterization of the Journal of Macromolecular Science (USA). He was the 2002 winner of the "Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers" award and 1997 winner of the "George Stafford Whitby" award of the Rubber Division , American Chemical Society for distinguished teaching & innovative research and 2001 K.M. Philip award of the All India Rubber Industries Association for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of rubber industries in India. He was also awarded NOCIL award 1991, JSPS award 1990, Commonwealth award 1990, MRF award 1989 and Stanton-Redcroft ITAS award 1989. He is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Adhesion Science & Technology (USA), Journal of Applied Polymer Science (USA), Journal of Materials Science (USA), Polymers and Polymer Composites (UK), Polymers for Advanced Technology ( Germany ) , Rubber Chemistry and Technology (USA), Nano-Micro Letters ( China ) and Natural Rubber Research (India). Prof. Bhowmick was the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna. He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and Indian National Science Academy. He is currently also the Chair Professor of Indian National Academy of Engineering.


WEDNESDAY, March 20 — 1:00–1:40 pm

Dr. Amory Lovins, Co-founder, Chief Scientist & Chairman Emeritus, Rocky Mountain Institute

Title: Disruptive Energy Futures: Implications for Plastics

Abstract: Almost everything we thought we knew about energy is ripe for transformation — and rich in both risk and opportunity. Oil and gas suppliers have more unsellable than unburnable hydrocarbons; they are more at risk from market competition than from climate regulation. Electricity suppliers too face a swarm of disruptors that will transform their businesses beyond recognition as the electricity and auto industries merge to eat the oil industry, as insurgents challenge incumbents in all three of these immense sectors, and as integrative design yields increasing returns to investments in radical energy efficiency-including in making plastics. New forces and competitors — backlash, frugal use, closed loops, biofeedstocks, biomimicry, solutions-economy business models — will challenge plastics, But certain plastics' gamechanging advantages could propel a takeover of major new markets, notably vehicle structures.

About the Speaker: Dr. Amory Lovins is cofounder, Chief Scientist, and Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Mountain Institute; advisor to major firms and governments worldwide on advanced energy efficiency; author of 31 books and over 630 papers; and recipient of the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National Design, and World Technology Awards. An honorary architect, Swedish engineering academician, and former Oxford don, he has taught at ten universities. He served in 2011–18 on the National Petroleum Council. In 2009, Time named him one of the world's 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. In 2016, the President of Germany awarded him the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit.


WEDNESDAY, March 20 — 4:15–5:00 pm

Keynote sponsored by

Dr. Paul Krajewski, Director, Vehicle Systems Research Lab, Global Research & Development Center, General Motors

Title: Challenges & Opportunities for Plastics in The Future Mobility Ecosystem

About the Speaker: Dr. Paul E. Krajewski is the Director of the Vehicle Systems Research Lab at the General Motors Global Research and Development Center. His laboratory is responsible for R&D in a variety of vehicle areas including aerodynamics, thermal systems, displays, interior systems, smart materials, vehicle health management (VHM), human machine interface (HMI), and user experience. Dr. Krajewski is a global expert in vehicle lightweighting and lightweight materials. He received his Bachelors and Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has led production implementations with aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber composites including body panels on the 2014 Corvette Stingray. Dr. Krajewski has over 75 publications and has been awarded 45 US Patents. He has been recognized by Fortune Magazine (40 under 40) and MIT's Technology Review (TR100) as a leading innovator, and is a Fellow of ASM International. He has appeared as a subject matter expert on the History Channel's Modern Marvels Aluminum Program, won numerous automotive industry innovation awards, and recently published a children's book entitled "Whats In Your Car".


THURSDAY, March 21 — 8:00 am

Dr. Lorraine Justice, Professor of Industrial Design & Dean Emeritus — College of Art & Design, Rochester Institute of Technology

Title: Global Product Innovation in a Complex World

About the Speaker: Dr. Lorraine Justice is an internationally known speaker and consultant for global product design and new product development. She is the principal of Justice Consulting and her new book, The Future of Design, Global Product Innovation for a Complex World (Hachette) will be available June 4th on Amazon. Her previous book, China's Design Revolution (MIT) was released in 2012. Lorraine is a TED speaker, a Fellow of the Industrial Designer's Association and  attends the World Economic Forum each year. She was the former Dean of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for seven years and worked throughout Asia.


THURSDAY, March 21 — 8:30 am

Albin Kälin, Founder & CEO, EPEA Switzerland

Title: Leveraging Cradle to Cradle® Design for a More Circular Economy

About the Speaker: Albin Kälin was awarded in 2001 with UBS Key Trophy as the "Rhine Valley Entrepreneur of the Year". From 1981 to 2004 he was Managing Director of Rohner Textil AG in Switzerland. Under his leadership, the company won since the 90's 19 international design awards. In 1993 he stimulated the development of the product line Climatex® ( and thus the first Cradle to Cradle® products worldwide.

From 2005 to 2009, CEO of EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH in Hamburg. 2007 additional CEO of EPEA Netherland.

2009 — today Albin Kälin founder and CEO of EPEA Switzerland GmbH.