Meet the Panelists

The six panelists are

  • Thomas M. Connelly, Jr. Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, DuPont
  • Ryan Dirkx Vice President, Research and Development, Arkema Inc.
  • Mark Doriski Global Intermediates Technology Manager, ExxonMobil Chemical Company
  • Gregory Nelson Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Eastman Chemical Company
  • Christopher D. Pappas, President and CEO, Styron
  • A. N. Sreeram, Vice President, Research and Development, Advanced Materials Division, The Dow Chemical Company


Ivan Amato
Author of Stuff: The Materials the World Is Made Of

Ivan Amato has worked to communicate the great and ongoing story of science and technology for 30 years. He has worked predominantly in print, but also dabbled in radio and TV media. He has worked on the staffs of Science News, Science, and Chemical & Engineering News in writing, editing, and managing roles. For much of his career he has worked as a freelancer, placing stories in venues including the Washington Post, Fortune, Time, Scientific American, Technology Review, and Discover. His books include Stuff: The Materials the World Is Made Of, a 1997 New York Times Notable Book; Pushing the Horizon, an institutional history of the Naval Research Laboratory; and Super Vision: A New View of Nature, a celebration of science imagery. He is now working on two books, one that could be titled “America’s Secret NASA,” the other a work of fiction featuring the 17th-century microscope inventor Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. He also runs the D.C. Science Café, a science-based salon at the local venue Busboys and Poets.

Thomas M. Connelly, Jr.

Thomas M. Connelly, Jr., is executive vice president and chief innovation officer of DuPont, and a member of the company’s Office of the Chief Executive. He is responsible for the industrial biosciences, performance coatings, and performance-materials businesses. He is also in charge of the science and technology area, the geographic regions outside the United States, and integrated operations. He joined DuPont in 1977 as a research engineer. Connelly has held various technical leadership roles in several major DuPont businesses, including Delrin, Kevlar, and Teflon, while based in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Connelly graduated with highest honors from Princeton University with degrees in chemical engineering and economics. As a Winston Churchill Scholar he received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge. He serves in advisory roles to the U.S. government and the Republic of Singapore.

Ryan Dirkx
Arkema Inc.

Ryan Dirkx is the vice president of research and development for Arkema. In this capacity he is responsible for all R&D activity in North America; the management of the firm’s R&D center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; and coordination of Arkema’s global R&D activities. A 20-year veteran of Arkema and its predecessor companies, Dirkx has directed global R&D organizations for several Arkema businesses, most recently those within the technical polymers and Altuglas International divisions. He is currently the vice chair of the Industrial Research Institute and recently completed his work as cochair of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, which is part of the National Academies. Dirkx earned a Ph.D. in solid-state science from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in ceramics engineering from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

Mark Doriski
ExxonMobil Chemical Company

Mark Doriski is the global intermediates technology manager of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. Doriski joined Exxon Chemical shortly after college. In 1994 he moved to the firm’s chemicals headquarters, and in 1997 to the basic chemicals division in 1997. In 2001 Doriski became the basic chemicals planning and financial manager, responsible for all planning activities for the olefins and aromatics businesses in the Americas. On completion of the Exxon-Mobil merger Doriski served as the global aromatics planning manager until 2006, when he became venture manager for one of ExxonMobil’s projects in the Baytown complex in Texas. In 2008 Mark took on his current role. Doriski graduated from Tulane University in 1986 with a B.S. in chemical engineering.

Gregory W. Nelson
Eastman Chemical Company

Gregory W. Nelson is senior vice president and chief technology officer of Eastman Chemical Company. He is a member of the Eastman Chemical Executive Team. Nelson joined Eastman Chemical Company in 1988 and conducted research in laboratory automation, polymer chemistry, and spectroscopic analysis of polymer systems and processes. In 2006 he was appointed vice president of the polymers technology division and to his current position in 2008. Nelson is a member of the American Chemical Society and has served on the board of industrial advisors to the University of Alabama’s chemistry department. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Nelson received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in 1984 and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Emory University in 1988. He completed the advanced-management program at Harvard Business School in 2007.

Christopher D. Pappas

Christopher D. Pappas, an accomplished leader of complex global businesses, is currently president and CEO of Styron, a leading global materials company. Pappas began his career at The Dow Chemical Company, and then in 1996 he joined DuPont Dow Elastomers, where he held several leadership positions, initially as vice president of ethylene elastomers and from 1999 onward as commercial vice president. He joined NOVA Chemicals Corporation in 2000 and became president and CEO in 2009. He was named to lead Styron in 2010 and assumed the role upon the sale of Styron by Dow to Bain Capital Partners. Pappas serves on the executive leadership team and the board of directors of the new company. Pappas holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

A. N. Sreeram
The Dow Chemical Company

A. N. Sreeram is vice president of research and development for the advanced materials division of The Dow Chemical Company. In this role he is responsible for driving innovation across the entire portfolio of the advanced materials division.Sreeram joined Dow in June 2006 as the vice president of core research and development, where he initiated innovation in the application of advanced materials to a variety of product areas. Before joining Dow he served as global technology director and chief technology officer for DuPont Electronic Technologies, vice president of worldwide technology for Cookson Electronics, and leader of the electronic and flat-display program for the Sarnoff Corporation. Sreeram holds an undergraduate degree in ceramics engineering from the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India; a master’s degree in glass science from Alfred University; and a doctorate in ceramics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.