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06. June 2019

CPI: Keynote speaker for 2019 Polyurethanes Technical Conference announced

The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council announced Dr. Deborah Mielewski, an award-winning pioneer for sustainability in the automotive industry, will deliver the keynote at the 62nd Polyurethanes Technical Conference on 7 October 2019. The conference will take place from 7 – 9 October 2019 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, FL, USA.

Dr. Mielewski is the Senior Technical Leader of Sustainable Materials and Advanced Materials at Ford Motor Company. Her keynote presentation will focus on Ford Motor Company’s sustainability programme and circular economy contributions made by polyurethanes in the automotive industry. Dr. Mielewski’s passion for bringing recycled and plant-based materials to vehicles will provide perspective on achieving a more circular economy and will give audience members some ideas on embracing sustainable practices within their own companies.

“As the world’s population continues to grow and pressure on resources increases, Dr. Mielewski is leading the charge to shape the future of the automotive industry, and overcome some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges,” said Lee Salamone, Senior Director, CPI. “Her experience and renowned expertise has helped changed the way the world moves, which is why we’re excited for her to share her extraordinary insights into the future’s opportunities and trends.”

Dr. Mielewski has been with Ford Motor Company for over 32 years. She initiated the biomaterials programme at Ford Research in 2001, and her team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating. It’s estimated that bio-based foams reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 million pounds and reduce petroleum dependence by over 5 million pounds annually.

Another success has been Dr. Mielewski’s development and implementation of wheat straw filled poly(propylene), that was launched on the 2010 Ford Flex storage bins. This material utilises a waste stream, is lighter in weight than either talc or glass filled materials, and reduces CO2 emissions.

“My philosophy is to ‘do the right thing’ in incremental, but ever advancing steps,” said Dr. Mielewski. “I look forward to sharing my insights, lessons learned, and outlook on the automotive industry with an industry group that understands that in order to achieve a more circular economy we must be willing to embrace change.”

Dr. Mielewski’s work has been acknowledged with awards such as the Henry Ford Technology Award, the R&D100 Award, the Free Press Automotive Leadership Award, the Environmental Management Association Award, 5 SPE Environmental Innovation Awards, and the American Chemical Society’s Industrial Innovation Award.

The annual conference, the longest-running polyurethanes conference in North America, will feature more than 75 technical presentations by industry experts and government officials, as well as the Polyurethane Innovation Award, CPI’s Polyurethane Professional Development Program and a Table Top Exhibition.


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