Tradeoffs on the Road to More Sustainable | AIChE

Tradeoffs on the Road to More Sustainable

Tuesday, January 31, 2023,
1:00pm to 2:00pm
Virtual / Online

Dr. Mark Jones, retired Executive External Strategy and Communications Fellow for Dow, will be our January speaker for the 2022/2023 Mid-Michigan AIChE Seminar Series.

Tradeoffs on the Road to More Sustainable 

January 31st  from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM


We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all meeting attendees. In light of the impact of the Coronavirus, we will be holding our meetings virtually. Please reach out to for virtual meeting links (Microsoft Teams). 


The lecture qualifies for one continuing education hour. CEH certificates are needed for licensed Professional Engineers to maintain their license and certificates will be provided to interested attendees.



Trying to make one thing better frequently makes another worse.  Tradeoffs dot the sustainability landscape.  Some chemical industry history will serve as a launching point for a discussion of toxic releases caused by chemistry designed to be more sustainable, though sustainable wasn't the descriptor used at the time. The thought experiment of whether a toxic material, like lead, could be used today to meet environmental goals will be considered.



A love of science and a passion for chemistry propelled a farm kid from Virginia to a satisfying industrial career. Mark Jones retired in March 2021 as Executive External Strategy and Communications Fellow for Dow Chemical, having spent a decade on the CTO’s staff. He retired with responsibility, among other things, for next generation sustainability goals associated with innovation at Dow.

Mark is a frequent contributor to the American Chemical Society, as previous chair of the Midland Local Section, writing for Industry Matters, hosting webinars, currently serving on the Communications and Public Relations and National Historic Chemical Landmarks committees, and former Corporation Associates member. In 2017, he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, recognized for his commitment to communicating chemistry. Mark current serves on and is past co-chair of the National Academy’s Chemical Sciences Roundtable. He is a co-author on the recently released National Research Council reports on ARPA-E and “Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States”. Mark also volunteered his services in creating videos for the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment in 2020. Mark was a member of the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, serving on Communications, Regulatory and other committees, and was an active member of the American Chemistry Council’s Biobased Chemistry Network. The White House’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership was a focus from 2013-15, looking both at technology options and improving scale-up of new technologies. He participated in a number of World Economic Forum events, leading discussions around energy and bioproducts. He chaired DOE review panels for the Office of the Biomass Program from 2007-2011 and continues to serve as a reviewer for DOE and other organizations. He supports awards that recognized scientific advancement.  He currently serves on the Edison Awards Steering Committee, served on the R&D 100 Steering Committee, and served or serves as a judge for BIO's Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture, ACS's Heroes of Chemistry, the SCI's Moore medal, the BIG Innovation Award, the R&D 100 Awards and a collection of Dow internal awards. 

Mark is a frequent keynote speaker.  His talks include multiple times at Chemicals America conferences, American Chemical Society national, regional and local meetings, the 2017 SATA conference,  AIChE national and local meetings, multiple R&D 100 conferences, American Association for the Advancement of Science National Meetings, the Edison Universe Meet the Innovators Forum, R&D 100 Conference, REFOCUS, American Center for Life-cycle Assessment, Sustainable Manufacturer, Plastics Recycling, National Academy events, and many universities.

Mark joined Dow in 1990 following a graduate career that had very little to do with his ultimate career path. He followed a degree from Randolph-Macon College with a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder where he studied gas-phase ion molecule chemistry - not an area of great industrial interest. A post-doc at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science preceded coming to Dow. His early Dow career was spent in Catalysis, in what is now Core R&D. Mark discovered a family of catalysts useful for conversion of ethane directly to vinyl chloride, and other catalysts for both chlorocarbon chemistry and alkane activation. Moves to Performance Plastics, Hydrocarbons, Chemicals, Energy and Licensing R&D, Ventures and New Business Development and the Energy Storage Devices followed. Mark co-directed the Renewable Chemistries Expertise Center (RCEC) for over a decade. Mark touched many areas of technology, including experience in chemical processing, the processing of inorganic materials, fuel cell development for both stationary and portable power applications, battery materials, cellulosic conversion, polymer recycling, and broad technology exploration.