Emeka Nwankwo | AIChE

Emeka Nwankwo

President & CEO, Vertical Optimization, LLC.

Dr. Emeka Nwankwo is the Chairman of Aquada Development Corporation, and the President of Vertical Optimization,  LLC., a business development & technology deployment firm based in the Washington, D.C. area. He is a trained engineer and business development specialist. Emeka has a Doctorate Degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University in New York as well as a Master’s Degree in enterprise development from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, England (Churchill College).

Previously, he worked in the Central Research & Development Division of the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware. In that position, he led a number of projects focused on business process improvement, and new venture development. These included development of new fibers for ‘smart apparel’ applications; instruments for rheological characterization of polymeric flows; and thin film sensors for commercial application, amongst others.

Emeka is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt with business process improvement expertise in sectors ranging from manufacturing process development & management, to energy conservation and health care & wellness delivery. He has expertise in process modeling, simulation and optimization, having worked at the cutting edge of process simulation software development. He was a pioneer in the development of enterprise modeling systems, aimed at providing integrated optimization capability for large scale manufacturing & distributed logistics operations. Those applications are in wide use today.

His professional experience spans more than a dozen countries on three continents, focusing on the development of new businesses and improvement of industrial operations across a number of verticals.

He leads a team of specialists who develop industrial processes, and support companies to expand existing operations, develop new market opportunities, or improve productivity.

He has led the development of ventures in a variety of sectors including design, development and operation of various agro-processing facilities, plastics manufacturing; bio-based fuels and materials; water treatment and bottling; power generation from municipal waste streams; alternative materials for affordable housing construction; actives for next-generation insect-repellents; diagnostic devices for infectious disease screening; facilities for production of bio-based fuels, amongst others. He has assisted startups and going concerns in over a dozen countries on four continents. His clients range from micro-enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations.

In addition to practical business development, he has been involved in teaching and research. He has been a Senior Visiting Lecturer at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, teaching product design and business development. He was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Delaware where he received several grant awards (including an NSF grant) in support of his work in the characterization and asymptotic analysis of polymeric behavior in viscometric flow fields.

Emeka has several dozen publications and major presentations to his credit, in areas ranging from wave propagation in complex fluids to management of community-based infrastructure and trade development.  He serves on several boards and is a frequent speaker at many international conferences and forums.

An avid tennis player, Emeka lives in Silver Spring, MD, with his wife and three children.