Young Professionals

Young Professionals in Polyurethane

Did you know polyurethane supports more than 270,000 jobs in the United States? That number is only expected to grow in the coming years as PU products continue to touch every aspect of our daily lives-- from the cards we drive to the mattresses we sleep on.

Polyurethane contributes to more than $86 billion in output to the U.S. economy every year. From research and development to sales and marketing, there's a job that's right for everyone in polyurethane. The Young Professionals series highlights a few of the young workers making a living in polyurethane today. Get to know their stories as you learn how and why they've chosen to make polyurethane a part of their careers.

Modern Day “Explorer” Improving Quality of Life for All with Polyurethane

Name: Norman Su

Age: 33

Title: New Business Development Manager

Company: Huntsman

Educational Background:

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Business Minor, Cornell University

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley


Norman Su considers himself an explorer. “My job is to identify where polyurethanes can be used next to improve our quality of life,” he says.


As a New Business Development Manager for Huntsman, Norman has helped identify areas for innovation, opened new markets to the benefits of polyurethane, and found solutions for industries ranging from agriculture to automotive.


Embarking to the Unknown

The job, Norman says, “requires a...

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Category: Young Professionals

A Young Senior Scientist Shares How Mentorship Influenced His Chemistry Career Path

Name: Brandon Parks Age: 34 Title: Senior Scientist Company: Covestro Educational Background:

  • BS Chemistry – Lebanon Valley College
  • BS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – Lebanon Valley College
  • MS Organic Chemistry – University of Pittsburgh

From an early age, Brandon Parks knew science was in his future. Although he was unaware of where his love of science would take him, he had several fantastic teachers and mentors who supported his ambition and put him on the path to success.

Brandon found an interest in polyurethanes the moment he began his career at a...

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Category: Innovation Bonds, Young Professionals

A Young Technical Manager Helps Tackle Food Shortages Through His Work in Polyurethane

Name: Stephen MartinAge: 33Title: Technical ManagerCompany: BASF CorporationEducational Background: B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan

Like many young professionals working in polyurethane, Stephen Martin has a teacher to thank for instilling in him a life-long passion for chemistry.

“One of the most influential educators in my life was my high school chemistry teacher,” Stephen says. “She made learning chemistry fun and connected what we did in the classroom to the real world through demonstrations and lab experiments.”

Stephen says seeing the real-world application of chemistry early on in his education made him realize he could positively impact the...

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Category: Young Professionals

A Young Research Scientist Ponders the Bigger Questions While Working to Make an Impact

As a young man growing up in Mexico, Jorge Vazquez says he was always curious about the world around him and inquisitive, often asking about big picture concepts — like the purpose of existence and the interconnectedness of humanity.

Category: Young Professionals

A Young Research Scientist Follows His Curiosity and Develops a Passion for Helping Others

As a shy kid, Zhihao Chen says science — and chemistry in particular — played a massive role in helping him find his self-confidence by stoking his curiosity. Today, Zhihao, 31, works as a research scientist at ICL-IP Americas — where he leads efforts to create new and innovative forms of flame-retardant materials.

Category: Young Professionals

A Young Technical Specialist Works and Studies for a Bright Future

At age 30, Joshua Compeau is busy, working full time, while also pursuing a master’s degree to help him excel on his current path as a technical specialist at BASF. He’s been with the company since his days as an undergraduate intern, working in rigid urethanes — polyurethanes that take on a rigid form and are often used for insulation for buildings and appliances.

Category: Young Professionals

A Young Marketing Manager Goes Online to Find and Support Customers

Name: Erica LeeAge: 32Title: Sales Channel and Digitalization ManagerCompany: Evonik CorporationEducational Background: B.A. Political Science, National Chengchi UniversityM.B.A. Management, Purdue University

Informing consumers about the value of polyurethane is a complex task. From the cars we drive to our mattresses to the carpet underlay under our feet, polyurethane touches our everyday lives in many ways. But, how do you get the word out in an increasingly digital world — made even more remote now amid a global pandemic? That’s the problematic task polyurethane marketing experts face today.

Young Marketers Go Online

For marketers like Erica Lee, a sales channel and digitalization...

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Category: Young Professionals

A Young Chemist’s Work Helps to Conserve Energy Resources, Empowering Consumers to Do More with Less

Senior chemist Raul Dacomba was lucky. Professional inspiration struck him at a young age, but to hear him tell it, it came about in an unusual way.

Category: Young Professionals

A Young Polyurethane Professional Works to Create Wood Composites of the Future

While completing his degree in chemistry at a master’s program, Gustavo Leon first learned about polyurethane production and polyurethane’s presence in everyday products. Raised and educated in Venezuela, Gustavo’s love of chemistry eventually led him to seek a career in the United States.

Category: Young Professionals

A Chemist Weighs in on Doing Meaningful Work, Staying Passionate

At 34 years-old, Rima Ghoreishi isn’t your typical chemist. For starters, she is younger than most of her colleagues and also happens to part of the growing number of women working in the field of polyurethane.

Category: Young Professionals