Advisory Board

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Dongchan (Shaun) Ahn

R&D Fellow, The Dow Chemical Company
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Dr. Ahn is a research scientist and technical leader at The Dow Chemical Company. Since joining Dow (formerly Dow Corning) in 1997, he has led the discovery and application of numerous materials and process platform technologies. He is also active in mentoring, recruiting, teaching, and R&D strategy.  He has also held visiting scholar and adjunct graduate faculty appointments at the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University, respectively.  Shaun was Dow Corning’s first invitee to the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering program in 2007. 

Shaun holds a PhD (1997) and MS from Northwestern University and a BS from Purdue University, all in chemical engineering.

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John W. Blieszner

Group Manager, Jacobs Consultancy
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John Blieszner is a Group Manager at Jacobs Consultancy. He is responsible for developing, leading, and performing engagements in management and technical consulting and developing economic and industry forecasts. His areas of expertise are in energy, renewables and greenhouse gases, oil and gas production, oil sands production/upgrading, refining and petrochemicals, as well as in technology development, technical and financial risk management, strategy development, and quantitative decision analysis. Before joining Jacobs, John worked for Amoco and BP in R&D, manufacturing, business development and commercial management.

John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He is a Registered Professional Engineer (Illinois).

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Susan B. Butts

Former Sr. Director of External Science & Technology - The Dow Chemical Company
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Dr. Susan Butts is an active member of the science and technology policy community following her 31 year career in research and development with The Dow Chemical Company. She is past president of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership and past president of the Council for Chemical Research. She is also a member of the Council of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable in the National Academies and a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Chemical Society and Sigma Xi.

Dr. Butts holds a BS in chemistry from the University of Michigan and the PhD in chemistry from Northwestern University.  

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Christopher K. Haas

Research Specialist, 3M Company
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Chris Haas received his bachelor’s and doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.  Since graduating in 1997, he has worked at 3M in Maplewood, MN.  Chris spent 5 years in 3M’s Corporate Research Process Laboratory, where he worked on inventing novel ways to extrude biodegradable/renewable resource polymers, foams, and oriented films.  Upon moving into 3M’s Safety and Security Division in 2002, he began working on currency, passport, and identification card products, including novel currency substrates, passport security features, and card technologies. Chris has also been an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN, since 2010, where he has taught polymer design, fluid mechanics, and senior design courses. 

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Carol K. Hall

Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor, North Carolina State University
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Professor Carol K. Hall is the Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. Hall’s research focuses on applying statistical thermodynamics and molecular-level computer simulation to topics of chemical, biological, or engineering interest involving macromolecules or complex fluids. She is the author of more than 200 publications, is a Fellow of AIChE and APS, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005.

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Vincent Kwasniewski

President of Confluence Consulting LLC
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Dr. Kwasniewski is currently consulting part-time for biomanufacturing and biofuels companies and research institutions. With more than 25 years of experience in both business and technical functions in both renewables and petroleum/petrochemicals, Kwasniewski focuses on helping companies and institutions with strategy and collaboration at the interface between technology and business. Clients include independent dry-grind corn bio-refiners, trade associations, and national laboratories.

Kwasniewski has a PhD from the University of Minnesota and a BS from Northwestern University, both in chemical engineering.

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Kimberly Lounds Foster

Corporate Vice President, Global Supply at Celgene
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Kimberly Lounds Foster is Corporate Vice President, Global Supply at Celgene, where she oversees the Celgene’s Clinical and Commercial Supply Chain along with Commercial Manufacturing Operations.  Celgene develops and manufactures products on multiple technology platforms, including small molecules, biologics and cell therapies. 

Prior to Celgene, Ms. Foster was Head of Global Supply Chain at Novartis’ Cell & Gene Therapy unit, where she was responsible for building out the commercial and clinical autologous supply chain for KYMRIAHTM (tisagenlecleucel), the first FDA approved CAR T cell therapy.  Ms. Foster held various positions at Sandoz a Novartis company where she built the External Supply Operations functions for the Americas and managed Sandoz US supply chain for in-line products, new products launches and managed the warehouse and distributions network. 

Prior to Sandoz, Ms. Foster held various roles of increasing responsibilities at Catalent Pharma Solutions, Baxter Healthcare, Accenture and Merck.  Ms. Foster’s diverse experience includes business development, mergers & acquisitions, management consulting, strategic planning, process engineering and operational excellence. 

Ms. Foster holds an M.B.A from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Jim Pfaendtner

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Jim Pfaendtner is the Steven and Connie Professor and Professor & Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Georgia Tech, 2001) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering (Northwestern University, 2007). He also serves as Associate Vice Provost for Research Computing at the UW and he is a staff scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Jim’s research focus is computational molecular science and his recent teaching interests are in the area of teaching data science skills to grad students in chemical and materials science and engineering. Jim is currently the director of an NSF graduate training program (NRT) at the intersection of data science and molecular science.

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Diana Lorenzini Pulte

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Diana Pulte has extensive experience as a management consultant, partnering with Fortune 500 executives to develop strategic initiatives and to translate them into earned value.  Ms. Pulte’s background is in biotechnology, technology, retail, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries.  Ms. Pulte is currently a Director of the Blight Authority, where she has overseen and directed significant large-scale clean up efforts in many of the hardest hit areas of Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan.  Ms. Pulte has helped the Blight Authority solve some of the most complex problems facing urban areas.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of North Star Reach, an organization that provides summer camp experiences for children with severe health challenges.  Ms. Pulte has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from Northwestern University.

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G.V. Rex Reklaitis

Burton and Kathryn Gedge Distinguished Professor, Purdue University
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G.V. Rex Reklaitis is Burton and Kathryn Gedge Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. He has served as the Deputy Director of the NSF ERC on Structured Organic Particulate Systems and Head of the School of Chemical Engineering. His expertise lies in process systems engineering, especially process operations. Current application interests lie in energy systems and pharmaceutical engineering. These applications include use of process systems methodology to study shale gas supply chains and multi-sourced electric power systems as well as to improve pharmaceutical product design, development, manufacture and administration.

He was educated at the Illinois Institute of Technology (BS ChE), received MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University, has held an NSF Postdoctoral fellowship (Zurich, Switzerland) and a Senior Fulbright Lectureship (Vilnius, Lithuania). He is a member of the US NAE, fellow of AIChE, past Editor-in-Chief of Computers & Chemical Engineering and currently is member of three editorial advisory boards. Among his recognitions, he has received the Computing in Chemical Engineering Award (AICHE), the ChE Lectureship Award  (ASEE), the Van Antwerpen Awards (AIChE) , the Long Term Achievements in Computer Aided Process Engineering Award of the EFChE and the Pruitt Award of CCR. He has served on the Board of Directors of AICHE, the CCR and the CACHE Corporation. He has published over 260 papers and book chapters and edited/authored nine books.

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Stan Rendon

R&D Head and Commercialization Leader, 3M's Corporate Research Laboratory
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Stan Rendon is currently the R&D Head and Commercialization Leader for 3M’s Safety and Graphics Business Group responsible for leading disruptive new technology and new product platform initiatives concurrent with new product commercialization. Stan’s team focuses on developing innovative solutions in the Personal Protective Equipment, Transportation Safety, Roofing and Commercial Solutions markets that live at the intersection of Materials, Process, Software, Electronics and Artificial Intelligence.

Stan began his career at 3M in 2006 when he joined 3M’s Corporate Research Process Lab where he worked on broadening the reach of precision molding technologies to key markets in Drug Delivery, Occupational Health and Safety, and LED Illumination. Stan has had multiple assignments of increasing responsibility across Business Groups and Divisions. Prior to Safety and Graphics, Stan led 3M’s Personal Care global technical service and application engineering organization as part of the Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division.

Stan holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and is a former GEM Fellow with MS and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Anne S. Robinson

Professor and Chair, Carnegie Mellon University
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Anne Skaja Robinson is the chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Tulane University and the Catherine and Henry Boh professor of engineering. Prior to Tulane, Dr. Robinson was a full professor and associate chair at the University of Delaware. She earned her BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has several patents, more than 75 publications in the field of biochemical engineering, and has graduated 17 PhD and 4 MS students.​

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Nancy Sever

CMC Scientific Director
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Nancy Ekdawi Sever joined Abbott/AbbVie in 2002 as Research Pharmacist in Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development.  She has held several positions at Abbott/AbbVie, including Associate Director in Formulation Sciences. Nancy assumed her current role as CMC Scientific Director in Global Program Management, GPRD, Lake County in 2014. 

Nancy received a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Madison and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Patricia T. Sparrell

Automation, Optimization & Global Support Manager - ExxonMobil
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Patricia Sparrell recently retired from ExxonMobil after 33 years of service as the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Global Manager of Process Engineering and Optimization Technologies. During her career she held a variety of technical, operational and managerial positions in Research & Engi­neering, Marketing & Refining, Supply & Logistics, as well as serving as the President of ExxonMobil Biomedi­cal Sciences, Inc. 

She is currently Vice Chair of the Russell Sage Col­leges Board of Trustees, and President-Elect of the Washington Metro Chapter of the ARCS Founda­tion (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists). In addition, she is a member of the Chemical Engineering Advisory Boards at Northwestern University and the Vice President of the ExxonMobil Potomac Annuitants Club.  She has been an invited speaker at multiple conferences including the ARC Advisory Group Symposium and she presented the Hugh Hulburt Memorial Lecturer.  She has received multiple honors and awards including: Tribute to Women and Industry Award and National Association of Professional Women VIP Woman of the Year Circle.  Patricia holds multiple patents and has authored multiple papers.

Patricia holds a B.A. Dual Degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Russell Sage College and an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. Patty is married to Duncan Sparrell and the proud mother of three daughters.

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Joan Stafslien

Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary NUVasive
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Joan Stafslien has served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for NUVasive since October 2016. Ms. Stafslien is responsible for leading NuVasive’s legal function. Most recently, Ms. Stafslien served as as CareFusion’s general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer where she led the legal team through the spin-off from Cardinal Health in 2009 until its acquisition by Becton Dickinson in 2015. Prior to that, Ms. Stafslien was the segment general counsel of Cardinal Health’s Clinical Technologies and Services from 2004 to 2009, joining Cardinal Health through the acquisition of Alaris Medical Systems in 2004, where she served as deputy general counsel and assistant secretary. Prior to joining Alaris, she was in private practice with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

Ms. Stafslien serves on the advisory board of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department of Northwestern University.

Ms. Stafslien received a JD from University of Wisconsin Law School and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Sara Yacob

Senior Researcher in Corporate Strategic Research, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
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Sara Yacob holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Michigan and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. Upon graduation in 2015 Sara began working for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company where she is currently a Senior Researcher in Corporate Strategic Research. Her research interests include the preparation of uniform materials for heterogeneous catalysts and mechanistic studies to assess the catalytic properties of supported catalysts. She is also active in recruiting, mentoring, and STEM community outreach.