Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Employee Engagement is the New Focus of Innovation

By Anthony Ferrier
Chief Executive Officer

I have worked full time within the innovation space for a number of years. Long enough to know that as an established corporate competency, innovation has really only been around for the past eight years or so. Sure, there is always someone who will tell me that they were leading innovation efforts twenty-five years ago, but generally, as an actual driver of change within corporations, innovation is still a new and maturing endeavor.

And my, hasn’t innovation changed.  When innovation first came to be of interest to corporate leaders, the focus was on so called “front end” efforts, which generally translated to idea generation or ideation.  At the time, leaders thought that there were not enough good ideas within their business, which provided an explanation for why their organizations were not more innovative.

But anyone starting within the innovation space realizes pretty quickly that there is no shortage of great ideas out there. So the focus of thinking quickly shifted towards the “back end” of innovation, or how to implement those ideas. I can’t tell you how many presentations, working sessions and panel discussions I participated in that droned on and on about Stage Gate approaches, resource allocation processes and innovation SWOT teams to develop ideas. Well you know what? All that talk rarely achieved the ongoing driver of change that was promised.

So where are we at now? What is the current, latest thinking about developing new, value driven ideas, in an effective and consistent manner? In the past twelve months, the conversations at conferences and amongst senior innovation leaders have shifted dramatically. Previously, there were only minor conversations around broad employee engagement and cultural changes for large organizations. After all, the people working in the innovation space often had limited direct resources and were unable to even begin thinking about influencing far larger organizations. Their approaches often revolved around controlling efforts, limiting the chance of failure, managing stakeholders and addressing broader risk concerns.

But now, many innovators have had to revisit that approach. Leaders across a range of diverse but large and well-known organizations have realized that you need to consistently (that is an important clarifying point here) engage a broad range of employees to effectively develop and support new ideas. Using this approach is really the only way to generate scale and sustained impact for the development of ideas.

These leaders have realized that they don’t need to own the idea development process. Sure, they can set up and articulate an approach for developing ideas, but ownership is more fully spread across the organization. Employees are given the skills, ability and resources to develop ideas themselves. They are empowered to take action and drive results that will directly impact the organization.

I am not talking about empowering every single employee to foster innovation, by the way. If you are a Google, Amazon, or Facebook that makes perfect sense. Most organizations however, choose to focus on and encourage those employees that either see the development of innovative ideas as a way to improve their career, or those employees in influential or pivotal positions.

There are different models or approaches to employee engagement, including supporting intrapreneurs (I have written about this in the past here), or developing innovation employee networks (written about here). These can be titles such as [Insert company name] Innovation Catalysts / Champions / Ambassadors/ etc.. Whatever the name, the approach is to highly engage, empower and deploy a select group of employees to drive innovation within the organization.

Whether you use a network, or just a broader employee engagement approach, I am not talking about a “free for all.” Any efforts for employee engagement and empowerment should include points of control and tracking of idea development. These efforts should encourage employees with a sense of ownership for ideas and a sense of responsibility to their own career development to identify, select and build new ideas. When this occurs, innovation is not something owned by someone else within the business. It is not something they assume will be handled by a team in a distant corporate tower. That is the worst possible message that innovation leaders can drive into the organization, and guess what, they have been doing it for years. How many times have you seen innovation challenges that ask a question from a large audience, select a winner, thank everyone for their time and efforts, and then take that idea away to slowly wither away on the product or process development vine. This happens all the time.

Going down the path of engaging a broad range of employees is not a quick and easy solution. This in fact should be considered as a long-term, multi-year approach to building a more innovative organization. Accordingly, it is important to start relatively small, and build experience and success over time. Efforts need to be guided by both strategic and tactical plans that support program development and also help engage stakeholders over time.

This relatively new employee engagement approach to innovation development is the industry’s best bet to drive the long-term success for their organizations and the employees that work within them. Take a look at some more of my writings at to learn more about my thinking and approach.

About the Author
Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate empowering corporate employees to execute ideas and inspire innovative cultures. The organization offers innovation training (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash (Carnegie Mellon University); a SAAS-based portal of innovation materials, tools and templates; along with consulting focused on building employee engagement around innovation. Anthony is a widely read author, speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, The Department of Veterans Affairs, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity Investments. 

Innovate, Compete, Maintain the Lead

By Jan Baum

Executive Director
3D Innovation Institute

3D printing and additive manufacturing (3DP/AM) have been included in the top ten lists of disruptive and transformative technologies for at least the last five years. These technologies are allowing us to innovate faster, shrink product development cycles and costs, optimize products prior to commercialization, and most importantly, make it possible for the collective ‘us’ to find new solutions to tomorrow’s problems. But we have to be engaged. The industry has a compound annual growth rate of 26.4% and has averaged a 34% annual growth rate over the last several years. 3DP/AM technologies are both transformative and revolutionary and will lead to seismic changes. This evolving technology has applications across industries and sectors.

Here’s where we are today and here’s what you need to know:

It Is No Longer Trains and Stations But Do Find a Platform
Our world today is a networked, global, digital superhighway where virtually everyone has access and everyone can become a node:
  • Digital blueprints can be generated anywhere and printed or manufactured anywhere leading to more talent in the pool, distributed manufacturing, and crowdsourced solutions.
  • Proof of concept, visualization, and rapid prototyping will always be mainstay applications of 3DP/AM technologies and we will see a steady uptick in the adoption of these technologies through these gateway applications.
Increasingly, we see examples of 3DP/AM saving, evolving, and growing traditional manufacturing operations. A great case study is the Danko Arlington Foundry in Baltimore, Maryland. One of a handful of traditional foundries left in the U.S., in 2010 President John Danko was challenged to find qualified pattern makers. His solution: a Fortus 900mc 3D printer, the largest reliable printer on the market, which now generates foundry patterns and other parts as well as supporting the local manufacturing ecosystem in the mid-Atlantic region. Danko Arlington is beating the competition, winning bids, and creating jobs. A recipe for success.

Even more interesting are the increasing examples of scaled applications. Here are two: Ninety five percent of in-the-ear hearing aids are made with 3DP/AM. If you are in the hearing aid industry and are not using these technologies, you won’t be in business long. The poster child for impacting manufacturing is GE’s titanium fuel nozzle for the new LEAP engine. With 3DP/AM, the fuel nozzle is reduced from 18 parts to 1 part resulting in a part that is 5 times stronger and 25 times lighter. [Light weighting is a central benefit of 3DP/AM. In the aerospace industry parts have been light-weighted upwards of 80% on some parts.] Do the math: a significantly faster production time times the multiple benefits of a superior product divided by the cost to produce. Disrupt Yourself.

We are at the tip of the iceberg. The technology is accessible. The software is accessible. Funding is accessible. Human imagination is limitless. The technology is evolving all the time at every place on the spectrum. Bio-printing, for example, printing human cells and organs, is almost mind-boggling yet it is happening at flagship institutions like Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland as well as so-called hackerspaces that curious innovative types gin up, and entrepreneurs are creating desktop bio-printers out of entrepreneurship programs and in entrepreneurial work spaces. Distributed and disruptive innovation.

Every time a 3D printer is installed, high skill, middle skill, and low skill jobs are created. Show me a region that doesn’t need 21st century jobs. This is a worldwide trend and the U.S. is not  owning it.

Required: A Different Way of Thinking
Do you believe? Too many 3DP/AM technologies seem like science fiction. We have manufactured our world for so long using traditional subtractive methodologies. And we are really good at it. You would have to be living under a rock--my fear--to not realize that our world is increasingly digital and our physical world is being digitized, even, and especially, our tried-and-true, bedrock, grounded-in-the-physical-world industries. As leaders, we must continually challenge ourselves to continually rewire our brains for the digital era in order to remain competitive. One tool--a 3D printer--can reduce the number of constituent parts a product requires from 18 to 1, eliminate that supply chain and labor, create a superior product, and that one tool can do this for an unlimited number of products. In the automotive industry, product development cycles have been shrunk from years to months-resulting in faster innovation. 3DP/AM requires a different mindset. Can you afford to not evolve?

3DP/AM has applications across industries and across sectors and is not the provenance of one discipline or a select group. Making and manufacturing defines us as human beings, so it is no surprise that there is worldwide engagement with these technologies to solve today’s problems. The technology is accessible: from large scale service bureaus with hundreds of 3D printers cranking out parts for industry to online platforms that project managers turn to while waiting for the C-suite green light. Educational institutions that are keeping up with technology have siloed labs. Educational institutions that are setting the pace have accessible networked labs where 30-50 desktop printers meet the demands of the student body regardless of where they are located. And those not in an educational institution as described can increasingly turn to their local library or online platforms.

Smart and Getting Smarter
There are a lot of great software products, materials, and technologies available today. We can print with over two hundred materials. And more of everything is being developed every day. Access is a key component in developing the rapid technology industry. Collaborative evolution and industry collisions present the best path forward: software that maximizes and pushes current technologies, new materials that push software and technologies, discipline-specific methodology applied across disciplines, etc. 3DP/AM is lights out manufacturing and with increasing connectivity, we are alerted if a machine fails.. saving us even more time.

Blazing Pathways
This is happening everywhere. Localized nodes.  With human capital as one of our most precious resources. Now ask yourself this: Is your company, industry, or region breeding competitive innovative people?


Jan Baum is the Executive Director of the 3D Innovation Institute, Principal at J. Baum + Associates LLC, and a full professor. A leader in the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry, she is currently leading the charge in building a 21st century 3DP/AM industry in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Her focus is on facilitating a connected and collaborative rapid technology ecosystem across sectors. She has instituted industry best practices for Maryland, and has established multiple innovation + prototyping labs educating future workforce leaders and helping businesses compete using 3DP/AM technologies.

Commoditizing Robots

Questions and Answers with:

Adam Ellison
Founder & Chief Executive Officer

By Patricia Stamas-Jacoby

In addition to being named a 2016 Innovator and featured panelist at the Innovators’ Spotlight, New Product Innovation & Development 2016: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, Adam Ellison is also the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Modbot, a rapid robot development platform. Ellison recently reflected on some key questions about robotics, manufacturing, business and innovation.

It’s not every business that boasts the tagline'We believe everyone should be able to build their own robot.' What was your inspiration for founding Modbot?

Like many inventions, Modbot was initially born from the frustrations that Daniel Pizzata, my co-founder, and I experienced in our previous work. At the time, we were working on separate robotic projects: Daniel was developing autonomous vehicles for the Australian Defense force, and I was designing a giant beer carton dispensing robot for liquor stores. We were frustrated by the fact that the servo motors and components available on the market were complex and either prohibitively expensive, or cheap and poorly made.

Together, we brainstormed what the ideal robotic solution to this problem would look like, and settled on a modular concept. This idea would make building new robotic concepts as fast and simple as assembling a Lego figure or Ikea furniture. Instead of solving the same robotics problems over and over again, we want future robot builders to be focused on the application itself rather than trying to make ill-suited components work together.


What makes your robot business innovative?

The robotics industry was built on a set of incentives that do not favor the end user. Currently, installing a robot in an industrial setting requires the use of a 3rd party integration service, who will typically suggest equipment and ultimately design the robot cell. Unfortunately, these services are often compensated on a "cost-plus" basis, meaning there are subtle incentives to increase the complexity and cost of the system. Additionally, there is also an incentive to use specialized equipment that only these organizations know how to service etc., in order to increase their long term lock-in.

As a side effect of this process, robotics companies have no strong reason to improve the usability and maintainability of their products over time. This is part of the reason why many industrial interfaces look like they were designed in 1993 (and they probably were). The end result is that the customer often ends up with an expensive and complex robot system that is over-sized and under-utilized.

We have built a robot development platform that empowers people across many industries to create their own special-purpose robotic applications, rather than using expensive integrators or over-sized industrial solutions. Our aim is to align our incentives with our customers, so that their productivity is our success as well.

Your two passions are robotics/automotive machinery and business. So, you must see some business applications in the future for Modbot, correct?

Yes absolutely! Some of our most supportive customers are large manufacturing companies that would like to change the way they do business. They want to take a pro-active approach to automation and get in front of their competitors by using the latest technology and internalizing that expertise.

I personally see robotics as a "multiplying" technology. It will take whatever you are doing now and make it 5 times more efficient, or 5 times safer, or 5 times more reliable. This is the reason businesses are interested in our product.

How do you see robots -- or Modbots -- changing or affecting the business landscape?

Of course I have a biased position here, but I would love to see Modbot become the de-facto standard for new automation solutions. The same way Amazon Web Services has become the go-to for cloud solutions, drastically decreasing the cost of deploying new cloud infrastructure, I would like Modbot to become the default choice for creative new robotic solutions.

The long term effects of this new accessibility to unrestricted innovation in the automation space will be huge. Even small businesses will have the ability to set up and compete with the manufacturing giants by automating their physical processes. We hope that Modbot will also bring manufacturing back to wherever it makes the most sense logistically. Robots will cost the same all over the world, therefore outsourcing will no longer be the default decision for manufacturers. This new future will present many challenges, but overall, it will simply reward the most forward hinking businesses with huge efficiency benefits.

Do you have any products that currently serve the manufacturing industry?

Yes we do! Our first product is a 75 millimeter diameter modular robotic system that is perfect for 'human scale' assembly and automation tasks. As a startup, we have to be LASER focused when it comes to releasing products, which is why we are running a closed beta pilot right now with two blue-chip manufacturers. Once we are certain that the product meets our own most demanding customers' performance targets, we will expand our pilot to include smaller manufacturers as well as a mixture of startups and educational institutions.

One of your goals is to make robots affordable for the average person, correct? And you want to use that as a springboard for innovation as well…

Yes! In fact, this has been true from the beginning. Our long term aim is to massively increase the accessibility of high quality robot parts. This means supporting the typical industrial applications as well as individual developers, small teams and educational institutions who could well be leading the charge to develop the latest robotic applications. The biggest hurdles for robotic adoption are cost and complexity, and we're working feverishly on both!

Your goal to “have a long-term positive impact on humanity” is admirable. Any details you care to share?

To me, it's important to keep humanitarian considerations at the top of our priorities. Ultimately, companies exist to better distribute the resources we have on this planet, and I like to keep this in mind when prioritizing our direction.

In my mind, humans have come a long way since the days of the hunter-gatherer, mostly due to technology. Robots have the potential to let us escape the constraints of the physical world, helping us achieve higher pursuits. I have spent time as a worker in a production line, doing welding actually, so I know what it feels like to be treated like a robot. It's not great. 


Adam Ellison is an Australian entrepreneur, engineer and mechanism designer. Adam has worked at both large corporations as well as smaller consultancies in mechanical design and engineering. After acquiring a diverse range of business skills and an extensive amount of mechanical experience, he returned to his technical roots and  launched  Modbot, a robotics company, with Daniel Pizzata, in January 2014.

Telemedicine Now and In The Future

By Denise L. Fletcher

Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer
Healthcare, Pharma & Life Sciences


The healthcare industry is undergoing a seismic shift to a consumer - driven market. Consumers now want to interact with their healthcare providers and insurers the same way they do with anyone providing a service. This is requiring all players in the healthcare supply chain to rethink current models of service and provide a Zappos or Amazon-like experience.

In healthcare, this desire for excellent customer service translates to convenient, affordable anywhere care: a need for on-demand, online and immediate delivery of care without leaving the comfort of home. Telemedicine is one answer to this growing phenomenon, and many health insurance plans are responding by offering telemedicine solutions that bring quality healthcare to the consumer with the click of a mouse.

However, a lack of general awareness among consumers is one barrier to adoption.  While continued patient education by providers and payers can help to resolve the telemedicine awareness hurdle, the barriers to fully leveraging telemedicine solutions go a bit deeper. Lack of understanding of telemedicine coverage can leave many patients opting for tried-and-true in-office care delivery methods despite many carriers now offering a telemedicine solution.  Adoption of what’s covered is moving at a rapid pace as the regulatory climate continues to improve and states, payers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extend approval of telemedicine coverage. So it literally pays for payers and providers to help consumers stay abreast of news on this front.

There are a number of benefits to telemedicine beyond consumer satisfaction. Employers can leverage virtual physician office visits as a great option for keeping workers on the job while addressing health and wellness at a modest cost.  And as consumers pay a larger share of their healthcare costs, telemedicine is well positioned to provide patients with affordable options to treat simple maladies. In fact, it’s estimated that $2.2 billion per year in healthcare costs could be saved in the United States if patients used telemedicine and retail clinics instead of physicians’ offices, urgent care or emergency departments.

Advances in technology are not limited to one-time, short-term illnesses either. Some providers look at telemedicine as a potentially viable solution for maintaining successful patient outcomes post-acute care discharge and in home health settings – an important consideration as the nationwide healthcare system looks to outcomes-based payment methods as a contender for future healthcare models. Telemedicine also opens up an entirely new model of care for patients managing chronic diseases that require recurrent doctor visits or to connect virtually with those in rural locations whose geographic distance often prohibits consistent follow-up care. Offering an accessible, convenient option for connecting a patient to his or her physician is not only a win for the patient, but for the provider, who has opened-up time for more patient encounters – all while cutting overall healthcare spending through improved population health.

Patient-centric virtual care is here to stay and as consumer adoption in telemedicine rises we will see new and innovative uses of this solution to treat healthcare in a convenient and cost effective manner. Innovation in telemedicine presents countless possibilities for leveraging smart devices and the Internet of Things to truly deliver anywhere care at the click of a mouse. 

Denise Fletcher serves as Chief Innovation Officer for Xerox Healthcare, Pharma & Life Sciences. Fletcher is responsible for achieving annual group innovation revenue targets, fueling thought leadership strategies, engaging customers in innovation strategies, and driving innovation through a robust research and development pipeline. She has 6 patents pending in healthcare & pharma and was recognized by Front End Innovation in March 2014 as one of the top 40 women in Innovation.

Fletcher is a key strategist and influencer within the Xerox Healthcare Council, a member of Xerox’s University Affairs Council which seeds innovation grants to colleges and universities throughout the world, serves on the Healthcare Delivery Advisory board at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), MassTLC Healthcare Advisory Council and Crowd Company Council which focuses on the collaborative economy.

Proven Ways to Incubate New Business

An Interview with

Shawn Williams
Vice President, Research & Development
Rogers Corporation

By Patricia Stamas-Jacoby

Shawn Williams will be presenting a Case History, Proven Ways to Incubate New Business and Product Opportunities, at New Product Innovation & Development 2016: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, taking place from January 11 - 13, 2016 at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa in San Diego, CA.

As a preview, we discussed how one of the oldest companies in America is cultivating continued success via collaborative research and innovation—all the while maintaining their robust product pipeline. Here are some of the highlights of our discussion.

At New Product Innovation & Development, a Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, you will be speaking about incubating new business. Can you elaborate on how “the incubation model” transpired at Rogers Corporation?

The Rogers Corporation was established in 1832 and today is a global technology leader in specialty engineered materials. Like many companies, Rogers had a large, centralized research and development (R&D) corporate presence. But over time that model has shifted and currently we are more focused on driving excellence in product-line, business-unit driven R&D activities. We are also much more customer-focused.

We realized that we could be doing more “big picture,” next generation technology assessment. So we made a decision to expand our corporate focus and target early stage opportunities and new technologies in new or underdeveloped markets as well as to nurture new business development.

We also realized that we needed to cultivate new skill sets and competencies, and in some cases, acquire new resources help achieve these objectives. Consequently, we set out to explore ways to meet these goals. Like developing strategic partnerships, which, in our opinion was a key way to move this forward, so we actively explored partnering with universities for collaboration, product incubation and development.

Did you engineer the incubation approach out of necessity or design?

In Rogers’ case, it was a matter of external collaboration by design. We purposely sought to shift our focus outward and to seek an outside perspective via a partnership, preferably to put us at the intersection of technology  with all the interaction and activity that suggests.

Rogers Criteria for Partnerships:

To that end, we had four very specific factors we focused on when seeking an institutional, collaborative partner. They were:

  1. They had to be the kind of people, and organization, that we wanted to collaborate with. That is, we wanted them to have a forward-thinking and outward focus, and an approach that complemented our own. They also needed skillsets and interests that were commercially leverage-able by Rogers.
  2. The physical facility itself was very important. We sought facilities that would allow us to collaborate permanently and in “real time.” We wanted to be able to work in tandem and not isolated or off in a remote, inactive location.
  3. We sought a partner with an outstanding reputation for innovation and the technology (developing or otherwise) that they could bring to the table.
  4. We actively sought a partner with an enlightened view of Intellectual Property (IP). Typically the university would conduct much of the research, but we wanted to revisit that model, and we needed to have pre-negotiated rights to commercialize the output of our joint efforts. This was very important in our search.
We ultimately chose Northeastern University, which already had a reputation for marrying real-world business realities to educational and research pursuits. We are very proud of The Rogers Corporation Innovation Center, located in Northeastern University’s George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security. It represents our desire, discussed above, to link academic research, technology and industry know-how on an on-going basis with the ultimate goal of new product development.

Is it really possible for a long-established organization to operate as a start-up? Is it desirable?

The Rogers Corporation Innovation Center embodies our original concept as it reconstitutes corporate R&D; it makes our research more agile and outwardly focused. Another important aspect of this partnership is the fact that we pre-negotiated the right for Rogers Corporation to commercialize the technology which was developed in tandem. There is a baseline template that was developed for sponsored research products. To move forward with projects, we only need to iron out work plan details and budget allocation; we are not starting from scratch every time.

A Second Innovation Institute is Created

In addition to the innovation center located at Northeastern University, this September we opened the Rogers Innovation Center in Asia, based in Suzhou, China. This continues our approach of collaborating locally with academic researchers and commercial partners to harness the latest technologies and bring them to our customers. And we believe China has great promise and aspiration in this area.

The goal of the China Innovation Center is to be an early adopter of the U.S. collaboration model. And to date, our Chinese partners have been reasonable about IP and licensing.  As well, we see something of a trend with our Chinese counterparts becoming more open to innovation efforts.

Can you share any Rogers’ innovation best practices or observations about innovation?

First, it is very important to have dedicated resources to look at the front end and to be focused on a potential “big opportunity.” There is often an (understandable) inclination for a successful company to choose safer, more incremental product development opportunities, for example, those that support the current business product pipeline. Therefore, it is key to also have personnel and resources without responsibilities around supporting the current business model – they will be more inclined to pursue big ideas and tend to be more receptive to the exploration of new technical approaches to the market.

A second best practice revolves around the transition from corporate early stage product development to a more divisional product development focus and process. This is a key stage that frankly, few companies manage very well. Rogers makes every effort to have people from the business units involved in innovation efforts early on, so they are a part of the innovation and have the chance to ask the hard questions before they take ownership for a given project.  And often, if those hard questions are not satisfactorily answered, the project does not move forward. This transition is critical and effective communication is the key.

A third best practice pertains to the mindset behind innovation. The “innovation center” is not intended to be where all the excitement and interesting things happen. Rogers believes in facilitating innovation anywhere within the company, by providing tools, practices and processes that support this. We also have a budget and focused resources for innovation, and facilitating this is the primary role of the Rogers Innovation Center.

Any innovation success stories you care to discuss?

At Rogers, we also consider it a success when a product moves from the innovation center or process to the development stage. We have exceeded our own expectations when we can place a product sample into a customer’s hands at an early stage of a development program.

At this point, we have a few technologies in full product development but none have gone to market as yet. I am confident that when the products in the innovation pipeline come to market, we will achieve significant success.

Any product from Rogers borne of innovation is a product that will add to the company's bottom line. We do not practice innovation simply for innovation’s sake.

A final measure of our innovation success: the fact that less than two years after opening The Rogers Corporation Innovation Center, located in Northeastern University’s George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, we have opened another innovation center in China. Global innovation, here we come.

Shawn Williams has been the Vice President of Research and Development at Rogers since 2013.  In this role, he leads the Rogers Innovation Center, in partnership with Northeastern University, on their Burlington, MA campus.  The Innovation Center is focused on the evaluation and assessment Early Stage Development of Technologies with strong Commercial Potential for Rogers’ next generation of commercial development. He has over 20 years of experience in developing and managing materials technology.

Prior to joining Rogers, Shawn briefly worked as the Senior Manager for Advanced Technology at Greene, Tweed, a privately held company in the high performance seals and gaskets that serves the Oilfield, Semi-conductor, and Aerospace Markets.  From 2004-2012, Shawn was the VP, R&D at Plextronics, Inc.  From 1995-2004, Shawn served in various technical and operational roles at the global specialty chemical provider, W. R. Grace & Co.

Dr. Williams holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Geneva College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.