Institute News: July 2020 | AIChE

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Institute News: July 2020


To enable members to make informed selections, the candidates have provided over­views of their experience, as well as their plans for future programs and directions for the Institute. These messages are in each candidate’s own words. Statements will also be posted at

2020 Election: Candidates for President-Elect


John G. Ekerdt

John G. Ekerdt is an accomplished academician and visionary academic leader. He combines a wealth of experience in leading the research aspects of a school of engineering, a department of chemical engineering, and interdisciplinary research programs, with a passion for teaching and education and a sense of duty to build excellence and to serve others. He is the Dick Rothwell Chair and Associate Dean for Research in Engineering at the Univ. of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). He received his BS from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and his PhD from the Univ. of California, Berkeley. He began teaching at UT-Austin in 1979, where he has mentored more than 50 PhD students and written textbooks on reaction engineering. Among John’s honors are the Charles M. A. Stine Award from AIChE’s Materials Engineering and Sciences Div. (MESD) and the American Society for Engineering Education’s Chemical Engineering Div. Award for leadership in chemical engineering education. He is a Fellow of AIChE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). John’s service to AIChE over 40 years includes several leadership positions. He was a founder of the Balcones Fault (TX) Local Section; Meeting Program Chair for the 1991 Spring Meeting and 2004 Annual Meeting; MESD Chair (2002); Chemical Engineering Technology Operating Council (CTOC) member (2005–2010) and Chair (2009); and a Board of Directors member (2012–2015).

Statement: Reflecting on what we value in this period of uncertainty and upheaval created by the COVID-19 pandemic, I keep coming back to the health and well-being of our loved ones, circle of friends, the communities that give us support, and society at large. I see AIChE as an important community that provides support to its members through all it offers us across our entire career arcs. As we emerge from this pandemic, the new normal will look very different, and organizations will need to adapt and transform programs and the delivery of their programs to meet their missions. AIChE has a dedicated and effective staff, robust governance, and committed and enthusiastic member volunteers. Through my leadership roles within AIChE, I have a strong sense of its culture, and no president can expect to be effective in adapting and transforming programs without working within that culture. AIChE’s path forward was defined with the bold vision embodied in its Strategic Plan 2018 and Beyond, and it will serve as our guide as we work to transform and adapt to the new normal.

If elected, I will work with members, stakeholders and AIChE staff toward a strong, vibrant and sustainable organization that will meet our current and future needs.


Christine Grant

Christine Grant is a professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State Univ., where for more than 30 years she has led faculty development initiatives and conducted research in surface and interfacial science. She previously worked at the General Electric R&D Center and at P&G as a GEM Fellow. A Life Member and Fellow of AIChE, and former Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC), she has served on AIChE’s Board of Directors (2003–2006), Chemical Engineering Technology Operating Council (CTOC), Environmental Div., the Awards and Nominating committees, and the Henry and Melinda Brown Endowment Committee. In STEM policy, she’s been an AAAS Visiting Scholar, an NSF Expert, and she received an NAE Boeing Senior Fellowship. A leader in STEM diversity and inclusion, she has received the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring; the AAAS Mentoring Award; AIChE’s William Grimes and Pioneer of Diversity awards; and the Council for Chemical Research and American Chemical Society diversity awards. She earned chemical engineering degrees from Brown (BS) and Georgia Tech (MS/PhD).

Statement: The role of chemical engineers in the global economy has changed significantly. AIChE is a community of leaders, learners, and legacy builders; the Institute has laid a strong foundation in educational offerings, with a programmatic emphasis on process safety, biological systems, energy, and the environment. The community has responded, and AIChE has experienced an increase in conference attendance and a surge of technical content downloads. The COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on the global supply chain and the lives of AIChE’s worldwide membership also presents a widespread need for immediate manufacturing innovations and future pharmaceutical processing. Long-term pandemic impacts on global economies is a major unknown; we must harness what we have to meet the needs of the future. As President, my top priorities will be:

  • leveraging the RAPID Manufacturing initiative and CCPS, where possible, to transform our profession
  • fostering adaptation to new systems of learning that use transformational technologies to link industry and academics in collaborative online training and certification of the next generation of engineers
  • complementing university education and research, facilitating placement and recruitment of co-ops, interns, and permanent jobs in the global workforce to ensure that all constituents’ needs are met through initiatives that increase AIChE’s relevance.

Vote for me so that we can partner to meet our challenges and foster AIChE’s prosperity. Email:

2020 Election: Candidates for Treasurer


Gregory Frank

Gregory Frank is Principal Engineer at Amgen, with leadership experience in biotherapeutic process development and technology innovation. He has received nine Amgen corporate awards. His 30 years of experience includes roles as director of engineering and environment, health, and safety at Promega and process R&D and commercialization at Merck. Greg is a 35-year Member and Fellow of AIChE. His service includes: Board of Directors (2016–2018); Society for Biological Engineering board member (current); 2008 Spring Meeting Program Co-Chair; Strategic Planning Committee member; and AIChE Board liaison to the Career and Education Operating Council (CEOC). His 24 years of programming leadership encompasses the chairing of numerous sessions, topical, and stand-alone conferences. Greg co-founded the Pharmaceutical Discovery, Development, and Manufacturing (PD2M) Forum and is co-author of the bioprocessing section in Perry’s Handbook, 9th Edition. Amgen recognized his non-profit leadership with its Volunteer of the Year Award for developing STEM programs for at-risk youth. He earned his chemical engineering degrees at Stevens Institute of Technology (BE and PhD) and the Univ. of Delaware (MChE). He received the Link Foundation Fellowship for innovative energy research.

Statement: We’ve been affected by COVID-19 in ways unprecedented in our lifetimes, suffering devastating illness and financial impacts. AIChE members are essential in safeguarding the health and well-being of our communities. Many like me are saddened and outraged by George Floyd’s senseless death. With commitment to diversity and equity, and acting in meaningful ways, real change is possible. AIChE’s fundamentals are strong, founded on broadening member services and diversifying business portfolios. AIChE isn’t immune to COVID-19’s effects, but together we will emerge stronger through strategic actions and fiscal management.

I’ve founded three non-profits. When Romania’s government collapsed, I co-founded a non-profit to provide medical supplies for orphans, aided by government and non-governmental agencies. In 2003, I co-founded Goals for Life. Partnering with students, professional sports teams, and businesses, orphanages in diverse North American communities received aid. During the Great Recession, I was Board Chair of American Tall Ship Institute — a non-profit dedicated to STEM educational and at-risk youth programs, serving thousands. My experience with non-profits, leading $20MM projects, and on the AIChE Board gives me the foundation needed in a treasurer at a time when financial strategies are central to supporting AIChE’s mission and membership.

I’m confident that AIChE will come through these challenging times with the commitment of you, our members. Please contact me with questions or comments at I wish each of you good health.


Wendy Young

Wendy Young is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Chemstations, which provides process simulation software solutions through the CHEMCAD product suite. Her experience includes working with technology developers and users in a broad range of industry areas, including chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, refining, and water treatment. Wendy obtained her BS degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M Univ. (1997) and her MBA from Rice Univ. (May 2020). She has demonstrated commitment to AIChE by supporting local sections (including founding the Young Professionals Group of the South Texas Section); growing membership as chair of the Membership Committee; and...

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