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Leadership Seminar Series 2012

Seminars are scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the UW Physics Astronomy Auditorium, A110 unless otherwise indicated*


Speaker and Lecture Title

Sept. 26 "You May Think You Know Where You Are Going When You Start"
Mike Roberts BS '69, MS '71
Program Manager of Energy and Sustainability Management, SFK
Mike Roberts is a UW graduate, earning his BS in 1969 and MS in 1971. His career includes being working for Rayonier as a process engineer, operating supt., technical director, operations manager; Boise Cascade as Director of Environmental Affairs, Director Staff Engineering, Director Paper Research; Industra Engineers & Consultants as a Process Manager, VP Business Development, Principal, Partner; Roberts Group LLC as a Principal; SKF as Program Manager of Energy & Sustainability; Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation as the Board of Directors Executive Board, Past President.
Oct. 3 "Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory"
Sarah Widder BS '09
Research Engineer, PNNL
Sarah Widder works as a Research Engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she focuses on the application of technology, standards, and regulations to meet sustainable design, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management goals. Some of her current projects involve researching innovative and cost-effective solutions for improving energy-efficiency in residential buildings with DOE’s Building America Program; helping DOE meet energy efficiency goals through more stringent standards for appliance energy consumption with DOE’s Appliance Standards program, and performing analysis to understand the overall sustainability impacts of energy-related choices using life cycle assessment and other sustainability assessment tools. She earned a BS in chemical engineering from the Univ. of Washington and is currently pursuing a PhD in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Washington State University, where her dissertation focuses on the relationship of indoor air quality, ventilation, and energy efficient construction.
Oct. 10 "From Vascular Grafts to Solar Cells — An Adventure in Chemical Engineering"
Chris Lyons BS '79
Senior Research Specialist, 3M Co.
Chris Lyons is a UW graduate, earning his BS in 1979. He earned his MS from the University of Minnesota (thesis: Surface Modification of Porous Biomaterials). He began his work at the 3M Company in 1982, and is currently a senior research specialist in the corporate research process lab. His work has involved gas/vapor phase processing of materials using plasma, corona, flame, and thin film deposition technology. Focus on polymer surface science, adhesion, wetting, interfacial phenomena, and multilayer thin films. He is the co-author of 24 journal publications and co-inventor of 36 US patents.
Oct. 17
"My Career in Engineering and Technology"
Karl Nelson MS '87, PhD '90
Technology Fellow, The Boeing Company
Karl was born in Pueblo Colorado in 1960 where he graduated from high school in 1979.  Four years later, he received his BS in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, after which he worked three years at Morton Thiokol (now ATK Launch Systems).   His first job as a Chemical Engineer was in Technical Services, developing and refining processes for mixing and casting solid rocket propellants.  Thiokol’s filament winding of rocket cases sparked an interest in composite materials.  Karl returned to school, entering the University of Washington’s Chemical Engineering department as a graduate student in 1986.  He studied high-performance thermoplastic composites with Prof. Jim Seferis and Prof. Jan-Anders Manson, graduating with a PhD in 1990.  Ever since this date, Karl has been working for the Boeing Company in technology associated with composite materials and processes.  He is currently a Technical Fellow working for Boeing Research and Technology.
Oct. 31 "I'm about to get this ChemE degree what am I going to do now?"
Karl Schmidt BS '96
CEO, Mirador Biomedical
Karl is currently a Founder and CEO of Mirador Biomedical, a Seattle based medical device company that designed, developed and is commercializing an electromechanical pressure measurement device that is incorporated into common procedures to make them safer for patients and easier for physicians. Karl received his Chem E degree in 1995 and in 1996 finally left the UW with an additional degree in German Literature and Linguistics. In Fall of 96 Karl got his first “real job” as an Chemical Engineer Technician and could be seen climbing the ladders of distillation columns in the frigid -30 winters of Calgary and the 100+ summers of California. After a year of unrelenting travel to seemingly every remote refinery and chemical plant in the western US, Karl made the transition into a more urban, cleaner environment after accepting a positions as a manufacturing engineer for a medical device company (Boston Scientific) based in Redmond. Karl worked his way up through the ranks to Senior R&D Engineer while concurrently working toward an MBA paid for courtesy of Boston Scientific.
Nov. 7 "Best practices in secure venture funding for your technology startup"
Denny Roja MS '69
Managing Director and Founder, ValueQuest International
Denny Roja serves as CEO and co-founder of CloudPhase Systems, a cloud software startup based in Silicon Valley. He has been CEO and managing director of ValuQuest International, a boutique investment banking and strategic advisory firm, Blue Lake Partners (FINRA broker-dealer), and managing partner of Venture Law Partners, PC. From 2000 to 2009, he was Managing Partner and General Counsel of Acuity Ventures, an early stage Silicon Valley venture capital fund, where he invested in infrastructure and application software companies. He graduated with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering (summa cum laude) from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. As a National Science Foundation scholar, he studied industrial engineering at Georgia Tech and received an MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington. He went on to receive an MBA in Finance from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a JD from Fordham University School of Law.
Nov. 14 "Leadership Issues and Experiences from a Career in Both Academia and the Private Sector"
Kevin Hodgson BS '78, PhD '86
Professor, Bioresource Science and Engineering, Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW School of Forestry
Kevin Hodgson was born and raised in the Seattle area, and has been fortunate to have lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest for the majority of his life. In addition to high school, he attended the University of Washington in Seattle as an undergraduate, receiving a BS degree in chemical engineering in Aug. 1978. He then obtained an MS degree in Chemical Engineering and Colloids, Polymers, and Surfaces from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA in June 1980. He began his career working for the Weyerhaeuser Company in research and development from 1980-1982. He then returned to the University of Washington as a graduate student in autumn 1982 and ultimately obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering in 1986 under the guidance of Prof. John Berg. From 1986-1991 he again worked in R&D for Weyerhaeuser, but returned to academia in autumn of 1991, when he has been Professor of Pulp and Paper Science, Bioresource Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering to the present. Professor Hodgson has also worked for the North Pacific Paper Corporation (NORPAC) in Longview during the summers of 1996 and 2008-1012.
Nov. 28 "Lifelong Learning after You Graduate"
Teresa Jurgens-Kowal PhD '96
President, Global NP Solutions
Dr. Jurgens-Kowal is President of Global NP Solutions, providing strategic innovation training for new product development and project management professionals. Prior to founding GNPS in 2009, she worked in various R&D and managerial roles at ExxonMobil Chemical Company, earning several catalyst patents and providing visionary direction for the portfolio management and licensing programs at EMCC. Teresa lives in Houston, Texas, and volunteers with the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), the local section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) serving in elected Position 4, and her community church. She enjoys cycling and scrapbooking in her free time.
Dec. 5
Jim McClain BS '61
Partner Emeritus, Brown Martin, Haller & McClain
Jim McClain has a BS ChemE degree from UW as well as MS NucE and Law degrees. After graduating from UW he worked as a refinery operations researcher for a major oil company and as a nuclear materials researcher for the US Atomic Energy Commission. Deciding then to move out of the lab, he discovered that chemical-related industries were seeking lawyers who could handle industry legal problems in which key issues required a knowledge of chemistry and chemical engineering. After getting his law degree, he worked as a staff attorney for oil, mining and metals companies. He then switched to outside law practice and until his recent retirement was a partner in law firms providing legal advice to chemical, biotech, medical and advanced materials research companies, especially as to research, inventions, confidential information and technical employment.

Recommended Preparation

The course is intended for undergraduate and graduate students of chemical engineering.

Class Assignments and Grading

The class will be graded credit/no credit. Attendance is required at all class meetings; only excused absences will be permitted. An excused absence must be approved by the instructor prior to the missed class.

Engineering Elective Credit

This class counts as an engineering elective credit.
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