2018 Speakers

Meet the expert speakers who will be presenting in 2018!

  • Jamie Carmona

    TPU Sr. Technical Sales Representative Covestro

    Jamie Carmona is a Senior Technical Sales Representative for Thermoplastic Polyurethanes at Covestro, LLC. Jamie joined Covestro in 2013 and has held positions in Industrial Marketing for raw materials in polyurethanes, identifying new markets and product solutions in the infrastructure and flexible foam markets. In her current role, she provides commercial and technical support for TPU processors while also investigating new markets and applications for TPU.

  • Dr. Kevin Cavicchi

    Associate Professor, Department of Polymer Engineering The University of Akron

    Kevin Cavicchi was born in Reading, MA. He received a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University in 1998, and his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2003. After a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, he joined the University of Akron Department of Polymer Engineering in 2006 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 and was appointed as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering in 2016. His research group is focused on the material science and engineering of nanostructured soft matter including ionomers, small molecular organogelators, shape-morphing polymers, and ionomers.

  • Chris Claussen

    Silicone elastomer Global Marketing Manager for Healthcare Momentive Performance Materials

    Chris Claussen has over 19 years of elastomer expertise.  Chris currently is the silicone elastomer Global Marketing Manager for Healthcare at Momentive Performance Materials.  Chris has held other leadership roles within Momentive over the last 13 years, including Regional Marketing Manager for Consumer Goods(North America), Field Market Developer(Healthcare & Consumer) and Account Manager. Chris holds an MBA from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.

  • Robert Eller

    President Robert Eller Associates LLC

    Bob Eller is President of Robert Eller Associates LLC (REA).

    REA provides technical, market and economic analysis to support management decision-making, and strategy formulation in the plastics, TPE and rubber industries often at the advanced R-D/early commercialization interface. TPEs are one of REA’s consulting specialties.

    His company has operations in Akron, Ohio (USA), Asia Pacific and Europe. Bob and his associates have carried out numerous technology, strategy, pricing forecasts, product positioning analyses (usually at the advanced R/D-early commercialization interface) and acquisition support.

    His company is currently working on:

    -Assisting clients with identifying opportunities for product innovation and the innovation process

    -Positioning new TPEs and their fabrication technologies

    -Acquisition candidates in the global plastics and rubber markets

    -The evolving role of thermoplastic composites and fabrication technologies

    -Innovation opportunities in the packaging industries

    -Positioning of new polyolefin, TPE and compound technologies in automotive

    - Assessment of compounders in the Asia/Pacific region

    Bob is a graduate of M.I.T.in Chemical Engineering and has an M.S. in Polymer Science and Chemical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic. 

    His employment experience includes ExxonMobil, A. D. Little, Phillip Townsend Associates, Charles River Associates (Vice President), Multibase (a French/U.S. TPE compounding company- General Manager) and Robert Eller Associates LLC which he established in 1991.

    Bob holds 4 patents in the plastics materials and process areas.

  • Gabriel Geyne

    Application Engineer SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding

    Gabriel Geyne is an Application Engineer at SIGMASOFT Virtual Molding. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, and a Masters’ degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He was a trainer at the UMASS Lowell Fundamentals of Plastics Testing seminar. His Master’s thesis involved signal conditioning noise of injection molding machines for an in-cavity multivariate sensor capable of measuring temperature, pressure and velocity of the melt. Gabriel has 4 years of experience in simulations of thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, LSRs, and MIM using Sigmasoft Virtual Molding. . 

  • Jiren Gu, Ph.D.

    Lead Scientist, GLS Elastomers PolyOne

    Jiren Gu is a principal scientist at PolyOne.  Jiren joined GLS/PolyOne in 2001 focusing on technology platform and product development.  He holds doctoral degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University.

  • Jim Harper

    TPE Product Manager Hexpol TPE North America

    Jim Harper holds a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Kent State University and an Associates of Applied Sciences in Polymer Science from the University of Akron.  He has 21 years of experience in formulating and product development across a diverse range of materials including TPE, Thermoplastics and rubber.  Jim is the current TPE Product Manager for Hexpol TPE North America and is responsible for directing product and technology development in North America.

  • Alper Kiziltas

    Research Scientist - Sustainable Biomaterials and Plastics Ford Motor Company

    Dr. Kiziltas’s research is focused on sustainability and emerging materials such as nanomaterials, polymeric and soft materials, biomaterials, glassy and amorphous materials, self-healing materials and bio-inspired and patterned functional materials. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maine. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Karadeniz Technical University (KTU). He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and papers in leading journals and conferences in his field, and regularly serves in organizational leadership roles for the SPE (ACCE TPO, Automotive Division), Thermoplastic Elastomer Summit and Advancements in Fiber-Polymer Composites Symposium. He is the recipient of the SPE-ACCE best professional paper award and holds 5 patent disclosures.

  • Marco Meneghetti

    R&D Leader and Bioplastics Product Manager for TPE Solutions Trinseo

    Marco Meneghetti is the R&D Leader and Bioplastics Product Manager for TPE Solutions at Trinseo*, a leading global materials solutions provider in plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber.

    Meneghetti joined API S.p.A. in 2002. API, which was acquired by Trinseo in July 2017, is a producer of Thermoplastic Elastomers, Thermoplastic Polyurethanes, Bioplastics and EVA-based compounds, based in Mussolente, Italy.

    Since 2006, Meneghetti has been leading the development of biodegradable and bio-based materials, making API one of the leaders in TPE biopolymers worldwide.

    During the last five years, Meneghetti has been a member of the Assobioplastiche STC, the Scientific Technical Committee of the Italian Bioplastics Association, providing consultancy to the Italian bioplastics market and Environmental Ministry. Prior to joining API, he worked as Quality, R&D and Operations Manager for other plastic companies.

    Meneghetti holds a Master's Degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Padova, Italy.

  • Dr. Mihaela Mihai

    Research Officer National Research Council of Canada

    Dr. Mihai is a Research Officer at Automotive and Surface Transportation Research Center / National Research Council of Canada. She has a Master and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry from École Polytechnique of MontrĂ©al. Her background is on (bio)composite formulations, processing, characterization and technology transfer to large-scale production. She currently works in collaboration with North-American OEM’s, Tier 1, Tier 2 in numerous R&D projects concerning innovative and high performing materials.

  • Xuesong Peng

    Senior Consultant Nexant Energy & Chemicals Advisory

    Xuesong Peng is a Senior Consultant in Nexant Energy & Chemicals Advisory, focusing on chemicals, elastomers and plastics for Europe, Middle East and Asia Region.  He has 12 years consulting experience in the chemicals and polymers sector, leading a wide range of engagements from strategic review, market analysis, feasibility studies, technology and cost benchmarking, to technical and commercial due diligence supporting project finance and M&A transactions.  Most recently, he led a detailed global market analysis on TPU, and a synthetic rubber cost benchmarking study for Europe and beyond.

    Xuesong holds MSc with Distinction in Technology Management from Queen Mary, University of London and BSc in Materials Science and Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

  • Alison B. Schweda

    Principal Scientist Smithers Rapra

    Alison has over a decade of experience in chemistry and research management in the pharmaceutical industry. She most recently worked as bioanalytical research scientist at Charles River Laboratory in Ashland, Ohio.  She has also worked within the skincare industry, with a focus on quality control and packaging, at Neostrata Inc. and within pharmaceutical analysis, pertaining to late stage analytical development, stability, and batch release at Covance Laboratory.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Hillsdale College.

    As Principal Scientist at Smithers, Alison is primarily responsible for process implementation, execution and conduct of projects and studies, sample preparation, extraction, analysis, and result reporting. She is based in the analytical services lab located in Akron, Ohio, which supports extractables and leachables studies for the medical device, pharmaceutical, and food industries.

  • Dr. David Ward

    Vice President, Research and Development Lion Elastomers

    Dr. Ward is responsible for new product and process development for Lion Elastomers’ SBR and EPDM product lines in Port Neches, TX and Geismar, LA.  He graduated from the University of Waterloo in Canada with an Honours B.Sc. and Ph.D. in chemistry.  During his Ph.D. he studied EPDM technology at Polysar, and subsequently, Nova Chemical and Bayer developing metallocene catalyzed processes.  After more than two decades at W. R. Grace & Co. in various roles from polyolefin catalysis to strategic business development, Dave returned to the EPDM business at Lion Elastomers.  He leads teams in support of Lion Technology providing Quality Management, Research and Development, Technical Service, Process Technologies, and Pilot operations.

  • Dr. Hans Peter Wolf

    Manager Research & Development, Silicone Rubber Dow Silicones Deutschland GmbH

    Dr. Hans Peter Wolf studied Chemistry at the University Frankfurt and completed his Ph-D. in inorganic Chemistry 1988 with the dissertation work about „Gasphase reactions on Raney Nickel and with shock cooled zinc“.

    He started his career at Dow Corning in November 1988 and worked as research and TS&D chemist for direct process and automotive market until 1991. From 1992 -1996 he worked in the supply chain organization as Upgrade Engineer and later as Elastomer Production Leader in Wiesbaden. Between 1997- 2007 he was Manager of the application technology and technical service team for silicone rubber in Europe.

    Since 2008 he is Global Research and Development Manager for Silicone Rubber.

    • Germany
  • Dr. Sharon Wu

    Research Scientist, Dow Elastomers Product Research Group The Dow Chemical Company

    Dr. Xiaosong (Sharon) Wu is currently a research scientist of Dow Elastomers Product Research group, The Dow Chemical Company. She received her B.E. in Polymer Materials and Engineering from Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology and her Ph.D. also in Polymer Materials and Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. Dr. Wu has developed an expertise both in her academic and industrial career in polymer structure properties, polymer blends and composite, and polymer reactive extrusion.

    Her current research interests are focused on:

    • Structure-property relationships of polyolefin elastomer products
    • New processes and methods to produce unique elastomer products with differentiated properties
    • Polyolefin elastomer based formulated compound solutions for infrastructure and automotive applications
    • Fundamental understanding of polymer blend morphology development and other physical-chemical phenomena along the extruder

    Dr. Wu is a board member of the Society of Plastic Engineer. She is author and co-author of 13 refereed journal publications, 20 patent applications, and 22 conference proceedings.

  • Dr. Long Zhang

    Senior Chemist Teknor Apex

    Dr. Long Zhang is a Senior Chemist with Teknor Apex Company's Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) Division. His work involves TPE product formulation, characterization, testing and scale up for a broad range of end use markets and applications.  He holds a PhD in Polymer Science from the University of Akron.