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Leadership Seminar Series 2013

Seminars are scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the UW Physics Astronomy Auditorium, A102 unless otherwise indicated*


Speaker and Lecture Title

Oct. 2

Nils Miller, Ph. D.

GSB Environmental Strategy Senior Scientist,  Hewlett-Packard Company

“20 years at HP: An Unexpected Journey That Started with a ChE Degree"

Choosing Chemical Engineering for my undergraduate and graduate degrees prepared me for an interesting career as a scientist and spokesperson at Hewlett-Packard – but not in ways I could fully anticipate.  This presentation reflects on what I’ve learned along the way.

Dr. Miller is a technical interface between HP’s inkjet Supplies (Ink, Media, Printhead) R&D and Marketing organizations, and a technology spokesperson for HP supplies products.  Responsibilities include developing and communicating HP’s environmental innovation strategy across various platforms in HP’s Graphics Solutions Business (GSB), as well as building and managing relationships with industry partners, tradegroups, standards organizations, independent research labs, and ecolabel/regulatory agencies.

His academic background includes a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University, Corvallis, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a focus on Colloid & Surface Science from University of Washington, Seattle.  He began his career with HP in 1993.

Oct. 9

Norman C. Foster, PhD, PE

"44 Years of Chemical Engineering"

Milestones and typical projects of a forty plus year engineering and project management career are reviewed.  Specific engineering challenges at various career stages are discussed.  The impact of technology advances is considered and addressed.

Since 1969 Norman Foster has held positions ranging between a Plant Process Engineer in an Actinide recovery facility to Vice President Sales and Marketing for a manufacturer of process equipment.  Dr. Foster is currently a Construction Manager at McKinstry, Seattle, where he is responsible for projects to reduce facility energy consumption is schools, hospitals and university buildings.  Dr. Foster has authored one US Patent, four book chapters and has presented numerous papers.


Tony Huang

Director of Finance, Clorox

"A Seat at the Table"
In this seminar, Mr. Huang will discuss how to get your voice heard during the decision-making process. Mr. Huang will cover how to contribute to the conversation and key traits for success.

Tony Huang has 23 years of service with the Clorox Company and is currently the Director of Finance - Corporate Planning & Analysis. In this role he is responsible for the development of the Company’s long range financial plans and financial valuation of major investments.

Prior to his current role, he held positions of increasing responsibilities including, Director of Finance – SAP implementation, Director of Finance - Home Care SBU, Manager of Finance – Corporate Financial Planning, and Assistant Manager – International Accounting. Prior to Clorox, Tony managed operations for Procter & Gamble at the Sacramento plant. He was also involved in the implementation of a capacity expansion project in the laundry detergent department.

Mr. Huang holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Oct. 21 Career Day -- No Class
Oct. 30

John Geil

Proctor and Gamble

"University to Industry Transition – Perspective from a Young Professional"
My talk will focus on how I transitioned from graduating June 2012 to starting a career at Procter & Gamble in July 2012, and how I applied my UW ChemE education to my burgeoning young professional career.  With a very fresh perspective, I will take you through several personal realizations that have shaped my decisions working for a large global company, a company touching over 4 billion consumers.  The work I personally do is extremely fast paced and industry specific, providing a realistic avenue to explore issues you may face moving into industry.


Mr. Geil was raised in Sammamish, Washington and attended the University of Washington from 2008-2012.  Shortly after graduation he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and started working for Procter & Gamble in Beauty Care (Olay)  with a role in Materials, Process, and Delivery.  He enjoys the outdoors, including hiking and recreational shooting.   

Nov. 6

Tae Han

Seattle Genetics

"From continuous stirred tank reactors to the well-stirred model of hepatic clearance - A chemical engineer's footsteps to clinical pharmacology in drug development"

Clinical pharmacology is not a typical career path taken by a chemical engineer.  In fact, the more typical role of a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry is in manufacturing rather than in preclinical or clinical drug development.  In this seminar/discussion, I aim to relay my role as a clinical pharmacologist in drug development, my training as a chemical engineer, and how that training prepared me to succeed in this non-traditional role.

Dr. Han is currently associate director and head of clinical pharmacology at Seattle Genetics.  He received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in 1998 and his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003.  Following a two year NIH-funded post-doctoral fellowship in pharmacology and cardiology, he joined Merck & Co, Inc in the department of drug metabolism where he supported clinical drug development.

Nov. 13

Spencer Reeder

Cascadia Consulting Group

"A winding path from colloids to climate change"

None of us can know in advance where our careers will take us.  What path will a degree in Chemical Engineering allow you to follow? In my case, it took me from Seattle to Antarctica and back (with a few side trips).  I’ve had the good fortune to work in the fields of material science, geophysics, telecommunications, and climate science.  I’ve journeyed into the crucible of government policymaking and the particularly rough and tumble world of climate change policy. I’ll discuss how the foundation I obtained in and around Benson Hall led me down a path that has been rarely boring and often full of wondrous challenges and opportunities.

Spencer Reeder serves as Senior Manager for domestic and international climate programs at Cascadia Consulting Group in Seattle, WA. His career spans over two decades in the science, technology, and policy arenas including work in academia, the private-sector, non-profit management, and government.  He was twice selected as a finalist for the U.S. Astronaut program.

From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Reeder served as the lead climate change policy strategist at the Washington State Department of Ecology. In addition to his responsibilities at Cascadia Consulting Group, he is currently participating as a lead author on the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment set to be released in the spring of 2014.

Nov. 20

Stephen T. Lee

CEO, Draco Aerosystems LLC

Managing Director, Bush Point Partners LLC

"Career Paths: Plan vs. Reality"

  • The career path, plan vs. reality.  How did I get to current job today?
  • How to build specific knowledge after leaving school with a broad ChemE education. 
  • Team work, team building, mentorship, proactive on tasks, positive attitude, other things that impact success.
  • Open questions from students.

Mr. Lee has more than 28 years commercial aviation and aerospace industry experiences including 21 years at The Boeing Company and more than 18 years in sales, business development and strategy development in Asia, especially China.  His expertise includes sales management and development, business and venture development, business and program management.

Since 2009, Mr. Lee’s emphasis has been technical and certification program management for commercial aircraft OEM and other modification companies, and sales and business development.  Mr. Lee also represents companies on sales, business development, corporate acquisitions and mergers, partnership strategy formulation and execution.  He previously led teams to set up ventures in China including a Sino-US Aviation Modification and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Venture (JV) in Shanghai, China. 

Mr. Lee received his Bachelor's degrees in Chemical Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology, and Chemistry from University of Washington; and a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Utah with Tau Beta Pi honor.

Mr. Lee is also active in local communities.  Besides various community volunteer efforts, he served as Vice Chairman/ Executive Vice President of the American Asian Performing Arts Theatre, Vice President of North America China Council, member of the Board of Trustees for the Bellevue Schools Foundation and a career mentor at the University of Washington.

Mr. Lee was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States during his early years.  He is married and has two children.  Personal interests include golf, billiards, traveling, ballroom dancing and fishing. 

Nov. 27 No Class -- Happy Holiday!
Dec. 4

Matt McMullen

Area Manager, NALCO

“Targeted Versatility – Achieving career success with a Chem. E. degree"
Through a presentation of the lessons learned on my academic and career path I will discuss how to augment, highlight, and utilize the skill sets learned during a student’s time at the University of Washington in the pursuit of a successful post graduate career.

Matt McMullen was born and raised in Everett, Washington.  He attended Cascade High School and graduated in 1993.  He started at the University of Washington in Paper Science Engineering, but continued studies for an extra year to get a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1998. 

Mr. McMullen started as an intern in the water treatment industry with Nalco Company in 1997 and has worked for them since.  He returned to the University of Washington, enrolling in the Masters of Business Administration Evening Program, and graduated in 2005 with a dual emphasis of Finance and Entrepreneurship.  He has worked in several job roles at Nalco, including sales, management, sustainability marketing, and is currently the District Manager of the Northwest Metro Division.

Dec. 11

Burton Brooks, Former CEO, Chemithon Corporation

with Brian W. MacArthur, Vice President, Chemithon Corporation

"The CHEMITHON CORPORATION – Chemical Engineering in Practice" 
The seminar will begin with the entertaining story of the founding of The Chemithon Corporation as retold by Burt Brooks, the founder.  This was based on development of a continuous process for sulfonating alkylbenzene to produce alkylbenzene sodium sulfonate.  Linear alkylbenzene sodium sulfonate continues to be an important detergent active ingredient for fabric care and many other cleaning products.   Development of new chemical process technology has always been the cornerstone of Chemithon’s business, and some of the technologies we have developed and commercialized will be presented as examples.  The presenters will discuss careers in chemical engineering with a special emphasis on practical chemical process development, process definition and commercialization.   The drivers that lead to inventions will also be discussed.

Burton Brooks,  BS ChE University of Washington, 1952; MS ChE UW 1954.  founded The Chemithon Corporation 1954, serving 59 years.  Presently Chairman of Chemithon Enterprises Inc.; President of The Chemithon Corporation and Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Continues to be active in research and development, and recognized as one of the pioneers in the Sulfonation industry.
Brian W. MacArthur, BS ChE University of Colorado, 1972; PhD ChE University of Washington, 1977.  Joined Chemithon in 1978, serving 35 years starting as a Research Engineer, a Project Engineer, Engineering Manager, V.P.- Operations and Director.  Presently managing the company operations, intellectual property, regulatory compliance and on-going Research and Development projects.




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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