Speaker Biographies

Chris Quinn square

Texas ChE, PhD ’95

Chris Quinn is Vice President, R&D for AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry LLC and he manages 100 researchers working across 2 continents and ~12 markets. Quinn hails from UT Austin where he earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering focusing on development and application of biomaterials. Quinn has more than 20 years of experience in specialty chemicals in a variety of roles and functions. Prior, Quinn was on the faculty at MIT where he served as Station Director for the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice. Quinn lives in Connecticut with his wife Kay and their three daughters, Erica, Emily and Caroline.

Texas ChE, BS ’86

Richard L. Stover, PhD is Executive Vice President of Desalitech, the next generation reverse osmosis company, with responsibility for marketing, technical support and company growth. He previously served as Chief Technical Officer for ERI, the leading supplier of energy recovery devices for seawater desalination. Dr. Stover has been granted numerous patents, was co-recipient of the European Desalination Society’s Sidney Loeb award for outstanding innovation and serves on the board of the International Desalination Association. He has a PhD from the University of California Berkeley and a BS from the University of Texas Austin, both in Chemical Engineering.

Texas ChE, MS ’81

Jose Bravo has had nearly 40 years of professional experience in many areas of chemical engineering from research and development to plant troubleshooting, as well as from process evaluation to project management. Recently retired from Shell, Bravo is now active in consulting in areas including research, development, process engineering, technology development, executive leadership, and new business development. He continues to teach continuing education courses as well and has a busy speaking agenda. Bravo has worked internationally and has published numerous papers, holds several patents, and has co-authored a book on separations.

Texas ChE,
BS ’75, PhD ’79

Charles T. Campbell, Rabinovitch Endowed Chair in Chemistry and adjunct professor of chemical engineering and physics at the University of Washington, is the author of over 300 publications and two patents on surface chemistry, catalysis, physical chemistry and biosensing. He holds 18,000 total citations and an h-index of 70 (ISI Web of Science). Campbell is an elected Fellow of both the ACS and the AAAS, and a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. He received his BS (‘75) from Texas ChE and Ph.D. (‘79) and UT Austin’s Department of Chemistry, then did postdoctoral research in Germany under Nobel Prize winner Gerhard Ertl.

Texas ChE, BS ’73

Gregg Goodnight is a consulting engineer at Chemical Market Resources, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian-based company TZMI. His current focus is on analysis of the global petrochemical industry. Prior to joining TZMI, Gregg worked as a chemicals equity analyst for UBS. His areas of focus included the analysis of commodity chemicals, plastics, inorganic chemicals (including TiO2) and others. Prior to UBS, Gregg worked in the chemical industry for 27 years in various assignments at DuPont, Monsanto, and Solutia. Gregg holds degrees in chemical engineering from UT Austin and the University of Pennsylvania and is a registered engineer in the State of Texas.

Texas ChE, BS ’75

Sam Smolik is the Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for the Americas and Refining Operations for LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies. Prior to this role, he served as Global Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Operational Excellence for the company, responsible for oversight of the LyondellBasell’s Operational Excellence function, personal safety, process safety, environment, security, health and medical, and product stewardship. Smolik has held a number of leadership positions with organizations including UT Austin’s Engineering Advisory Board. He is a member of the Coastal Conservation Association and the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society.

Texas ChE, BS ’89

Tom Yura, Austin native and Texas ChE alumnus, is the Senior Vice President and General Manager for BASF Corporation. Yura has responsibility for BASF’s Geismar, Louisiana site, the largest of the corporation’s North American manufacturing locations. In this role, he oversees the daily operation of 24 plants that manufacture 25 different products, including urethanes used in foam insulation, shoes, and furniture; chemical intermediates used in adhesives, plastics, water and gas treatment; and surfactants used in detergents. In addition, Yura serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Louisiana Chemical Association and the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance.

Texas ChE, BS ’79

Mike Zeglin, president of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company Qatar LLC, serves as the country manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. He is responsible for leadership, vision, and strategic direction of all operating Qatar Chemical Company entities, including the two manufacturing sites and three operating companies. In order to ensure the standards of Operational Excellence are met, Zeglin is focused on effectively applying Chevron Phillips Chemical’s Tenets of Operation and safety coaching approach in Qatar’s multi-cultural manufacturing environment. An avid Longhorn, Zeglin is a current member of the UT Engineering Advisory Board and Guest Lecturer for the Chemical Engineering Ethics Class.

Texas ChE, BS ’93

Michele Wang Mahoney is Normal Alpha Olefins (NAO) General Manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, responsible for providing leadership, strategic decision and execution of the global business unit. Fostering an engaged workforce with a safety focus in an inclusive environment is key to success for the Normal Alpha Olefins team. Prior to this position, Mahoney was the Business Manager for Olefins. Since the company’s formation, she has also held positions of increasing responsibility in commercial, financial, operations and technical roles, from managerial roles to supporting polyethylene product development. Mahoney also served on the Executive Diversity Council from 2009 to 2013.


Grant Willson joined UT Austin faculty in 1993, where he is the Rashid Engineering Regent’s Chair and professor of chemical engineering and chemistry. His research is focused on the design and synthesis of functional organic materials with emphasis on organic materials for microelectronics. Willson is the co-founder of Molecular Imprints, Inc., the co-inventor of more than 40 issued U.S. patents and co-author of more than 400 publications. Among a wide variety of recognition, Willson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the ACS, PMSE and others, and was presented with the National Medal for Technology and Innovation by the President of the United States in 2007.

Texas ChE, PhD ’91

Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D., P.E., has produced innovations in the semiconductor industry in the areas of control, process and package development, R&D management, and new product development. She currently is the Technology Innovation Architect in Texas Instruments’ High Voltage Power Solutions business unit. She is a Fellow of AVS and a Senior Member of IEEE and AIChE.  Butler was selected by the Dallas Business Journal as a 2015 Woman in Technology. She serves on the TxGCP Champion Board. Butler received her Ph.D. from Texas ChE and her bachelors in chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University.

Texas ChE, PhD ’91

François Baneyx is the Charles W.H. Matthaei Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. He previously served as Director of the University of Washington Center for Nanotechnology and Site Director of the Pacific Northwest node of the NSF National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, among many other prestigious positions. Baneyx earned a Ph.D. from Texas ChE and joined the University of Washington in 1992 after postdoctoral work in molecular biology at DuPont. His research interests are highly interdisciplinary and lie at the confluence of biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials science and molecular engineering. He is a Fellow of many organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Texas ChE, PhD ’92

Michael Pishko, an accomplished chemical engineer and experienced administrator at Texas A&M University, stepped into his role as dean of the University of Wyoming’s College of Engineering and Applied Science in March 2015. Prior to this role, Pishko was a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at TAMU and led workforce development and education programs for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. He has extensive experience with private industry, including holding numerous patents in the field of biomedical engineering. Pishko received his Ph.D. from Texas ChE in 1992, and his masters (1987) and bachelors (1986) degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, all in chemical engineering.


Adam Heller, Texas ChE professor emeritus, received his Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1961 where he studied under Ernst David Bergmann. Heller previously worked for GTE Laboratories, then at Bell Laboratories, heading its Electronic Materials Research Department. While at UT Austin (1988 to date), he co-founded TheraSense, now Abbott Diabetes Care and was the first Chief Technical Officer of the company. The FreeStyleTM system of TheraSense, a micro-coulometer released in 2000, made the monitoring of blood glucose painless and is now the highest impact nanotechnology or micro-fluidic device to date.

Texas ChE, PhD ’88

Tae Han Kim is President and CEO of Samsung BioLogics. He was previously in charge of strategic business development, as EVP of Samsung Electronics until 2011. During this role, he established a Joint Venture with Quintiles, and another JV with Biogen-Idec for biologics business. Kim began his career with Samsung in 1979, leading the business and financial restructuring of Samsung General Chemicals from 1998 to 2003, and played a key role in establishing a JV with Total, a French Petrochemical company and executed multiple plant expansion projects from 2004 to 2007. Kim earned his Ph.D. from Texas ChE in 1988 under the sponsorship of Samsung.

Texas ChE, BS ’92

Hongming Chen is the Chief Scientific Officer at Kala Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company she helped start in 2010. At Kala, Chen successfully translated a novel nanoparticle technology from bench discovery into late stage human clinical trials, and has helped to attract more than $150 million in investments to the company. In 2014, Mass High Tech named Dr. Chen as one of its Women to Watch, an award
recognizing women who are shaping the future of the life sciences industry. Chen earned her B.S. degree from Texas ChE in 1992, later earning her M.S. and Sc.D. degrees in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Texas ChE, MS ’68

Yves Boisdron, Chairman of Firmenich’s Board of Directors, received his MBA and masters in chemical engineering from UT Austin. Prior to his role as chairman, he joined the Firmenich Board in 2006 and has served as the vice chairman of the company and as the chairman of the Governance & Compensation Committee. During his prestigious career, Boisdron spent 25 years at leading specialty chemicals group, Rhodia (formerly Rhone-Poulenc), a world leader in the development and production of chemicals. Boisdron brings a comprehensive experience from his many years in the chemical industry, as well as a broad knowledge of emerging markets.

Texas ChE, BS ’97

David Long is currently the Program Chair and Associate Professor for the BS Motion Picture Science program at the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institute of Technology. His research interests include engineering multispectral video capture and display systems and studying variability in human color vision for artistic applications. Prior to RIT, Long worked as a Development Engineer and Imaging Scientist with Eastman Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging Division. He has earned numerous patents and a 2008 Scientific & Technical Academy Award for contributions made to the design of Vision2 films. Along with his B.S. from Texas ChE, Long has an M.S. in materials science from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in color science from RIT.

Texas ChE, PhD ’85

Troy Campione founded Cineteller® Productions, a cinematic short film production company based in San Jose, California, to pursue his lifelong passion for visual storytelling and music. His work at Cineteller® Productions has already garnered national and international recognition and awards. Prior to reinventing himself as a filmmaker, Campione served in a variety of roles within several biotechnology and materials companies. His diverse background in the fields of cleantech, biotech, chemicals, material science and renewable energy spans more than 25 years (during which his interest and involvement with video and music production never waned). Campione holds a Ph.D. from Texas ChE and has been internationally recognized as a leader in technology innovation.

Texas ChE, BS ’75

Dana Sellers has more than 30 years of entrepreneurial and executive leadership experience in the healthcare IT industry. As CEO of Encore, Sellers helps provide to clients nationwide and improve patient care by effectively implementing complex clinical systems, and applying analytics to realize value from clinical data. Sellers was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare for the Gulf Coast Region and named a Distinguished Alumnus of the Cockrell School of Engineering. Sellers has served on a variety of professional and charitable boards, including Chair of the board for Healthcare for the Homeless in Houston.

Texas ChE, BS ’79

Janet Lowe worked as process engineer and process manager for Shell Oil for 7 years before getting an MBA, concentrating in entrepreneurship. Lowe has founded, ran, and sold several businesses, the largest of which (CPLEX/ILOG) was sold to IBM in 2008 where she stayed for several years as an M&A and acquisition integration executive. Lowe has experience in startups as founder, executive, seller, acquirer, integrator, advisor and investor. Today, Lowe makes selective startup investments through her firm, LTI, and also volunteers as a coach and mentor for students and young entrepreneurs and as a judge for statewide and regional business plan competitions.
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