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Chairman’s Corner 2011 November Newsletter

by Susan Kozora

We have wrapped up another GPEC with many changes involved.  The conference timing was moved to October from the Feb-March and we changed location from Orlando to Atlanta. What remained the same was the excellent technical program, interesting student posters, informational exhibitors, gala of the awards banquet and plenty of networking opportunities. 

Having had the privilege of being one of the student poster judges, I found myself caught up in the new and exciting research work that the students had immersed themselves in for several months.  From algae based polymers to bio-based carbon fiber development to new methods of cleaning PET flake, the topics were diverse and insightful.  The students diligently answered all of the judge’s questions and were clearly excited about their work.  This area of new development and hope for the future is one that I believe should be fully supported by industries in the environmental and sustainable arena.  I would ask that you consider supporting your local college or university students or students from your alma mater who show their desire to have a future in these fields by sponsoring students to present posters at GPEC 2012.  These students are the future of our industry and we need to mentor and support them!

Speaking of student development in the area of environmental sciences, at the board meeting conducted during this past GPEC, we were presented with the workings of an organization called EKOTEK. This is a Detroit based program in the heart of ‘Tech Town” in downtown Detroit near the main campus of Wayne State University. EKOTEKis a project based opportunity to encourage young students (grades 3-12) in the environmental sciences with hands on lab experience to develop sustainable technologies.  The lab work centers on defined projects with timing and deliverables for technology development in addition to basic lab studies. Some of the current project scopes are: Alternative Energy (biofuel, wind energy, hydrogen-fuel cell), Environmental Conservation (water conservation, waste management), Food Security and Healthcare 

The CEO/Founder, Keith Young, noted that his objective was to make science real and enjoyable to students since we use science and materials just about every moment of every day in our lives. Founded in 2002, his students have gone on to win scholarships and one project has resulted in an application for a patent.  Keith holds a B.A. from Central Michigan University and he is a graduate of the Harvard Executive Leadership Program, Boston, MA.  The programs are organically funded and maintained.  Several schools, universities and businesses support EKOTEK.  Keith also provides travel for his students.  For example a group of his students traveled to the Gulf in order to obtain samples from the recent oil spill disaster as part of a fuel recovery project sponsored by GM.  The students worked to use the recovered oil in the gulf to produce diesel fuels for use at GM manufacturing facilities. I encourage you to see all that they do and get more information at their website: .

Again, I would like to extend my heart felt thanks to our board members and GPEC committee members.  I must say that it was a wonderful board meeting when we welcomed back Dennis Denton!  It has been a long, tough road to recovery, but Dennis is back and rarin’ to go! Welcome back and bless you Dennis!

For all of your hard work I would like to commend and thank the following for yet again producing an excellent GPEC and for all of the year round work that is done to keep the division going:

  • Mike Montpetit – 2011 GPEC Chair and sponsor chair
  • Adrian Merrington – 2011 GPEC Technical Chair
  • Larry Koester – Communications VP and GPEC committee member
  • Dr. Dick Bopp – GPEC 2011 Student Poster Chair
  • Pallatheri M Subramanian – “Subu”- GPEC 2011 Awards Chair
  • Mary Perigo – Membership Chair
  • Ewa Lebert – Newsletter editor 
  • Dr. Lou Reifschneider – 2011 ANTEC Tech Chair for the PED 
  • Eric Koester – 2011 GPEC Clean Business Technical Chair
  • Ken Nichols – Member Emeritus
  • Ron Walling – Member Emeritus
  • Dennis Denton – Executive board member
  • Gordon Burgone  – PED Secretary
  • Steve Sola – PED Treasurer 
  • Gwen Matthis – 2011 GPEC Conference coordinator

Special congrats to Adrian as the recipient of this year’s Dennis Denton Outstanding PED Member award.  A well deserved award, Adrian!