2012 McFarland Award: Theresa Kotanchek

Theresa Kotanchek, 2012 McFarland Awardee

Manufacturing Matters: What Are You Doing About It?

Thursday, April 12, 2012
26 Hosler Building
Theresa Kotanchek
Vice President, Sustainable Technologies and Innovation Sourcing
The Dow Chemical Company, Ltd.


Theresa Kotanchek is the Vice President for Sustainable Technologies and Innovation Sourcing at Dow Chemical. In this role, Theresa leads the strategic integration of sustainability into Dow’s business portfolio and R&D function, including establishment of corporate wide metrics and delivery of three breakthroughs to world challenges. In addition, she also leads innovation sourcing, serving as Dow's global leader for external technology, with the responsibility to coordinate Dow’s corporate wide interactions with external bodies, including universities, national laboratories, government agencies and
development partners, to accelerate commercial delivery of Dow’s innovation pipeline.

Prior to assuming her current role, Theresa was the Chief Technology Officer of Dow Chemical China Company Limited where she led Asia Pacific R&D, including the development and staffing of Dow’s new state-of-the-art R&D center in Shanghai, China. In addition to establishing world-class R&D capabilities in our emerging geographies, she was responsible for achieving the company’s Asia Pacific growth strategy through market-driven scientific and technological innovations, enhancing current products as well as creating new business and technology platforms. Kotanchek joined Dow in 1990 with extensive  experience  in engineering and materials science. She served as research leader in Corporate Research from 1990 to 1995, and Product Manager in Advanced Electronic Materials from 1996 to 1998. From 1998 to 2000, Kotanchek was the Materials Science Technology Leader in Corporate R&D, where she led a diverse group of materials scientists, chemists, engineers and biologists to invent and develop new materials solutions for Dow.

In 2000, Kotanchek was appointed senior R&D director for INSITE™ Technology and New Business Development for Dow Plastics. There she led the global  Polyolefins & Elastomers R&D organization responsible for new technology, including Catalysis, Functional Chemistry, Advanced Process Research and  Materials Science laboratories, and new application development, including Dow Fiber Solutions, Hygiene & Medical and New Business Growth. In 2003, she was named Senior Director of Technology for Dow’s Growth Center.

In 2004, Kotanchek became Global R&D Director for Dow Ventures. In addition to providing global technical leadership for Dowpharma and Advanced  Electronic Materials businesses, she was accountable for the identification, evaluation and implementation of strategic technologies, capabilities and  business options enabling rapid commercialization of new business platforms. Theresa also served as a member of the Biotechnology Portfolio Team and the Biotechnology R&D Leadership Team.

Kotanchek holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science, a Masters of Science in Ceramic Science, and a Bachelor of Science in Ceramic Science & Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. She is an active member of the American Chemical Society, Society of Women Engineers, Council of Industrial Research and has served on the Shanghai American Chamber of Congress—Science & Technology Subcommittee. She also serves on the External Advisory Board of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for Penn State and was awarded the 2006 Penn State Earth & Mineral Sciences Alumni Achievement Award for exemplifying the ideals of the College. She was recently honored as a 2009 Penn State Alumni Fellow.