AU Press Releases

CACT names six new board members

The Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT)  at Alfred University (AU)  has named six new members to its industry advisory board.

Dr. Matthew Hall, executive director of the CACT and an associate professor of biomaterials and glass science in the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University, said integral to the CACT’s mission is helping industries, particularly those in New York State, “use applied and technical research to solve real-world problems” or to use the research to develop “practical, scaleable and marketable products and solutions.” The goal is to help companies create and/or retain jobs, as well as to improve products and processes to make them more profitable.

Interacting with industries – knowing what they want, what their interests are – helps shape the CACT’s programs, said Hall, and that’s why an active industry advisory board is so necessary to the organization.

The new members are:

Keith Blakely, founder and chief executive officer of InVentures Group of Buffalo, brings more than 30 years’ of entrepreneurial experience to the group. Since founding his first company, Advanced Refractory Technologies, at the age of 24, Blakely has started or led as CEO nine additional companies, including NanoDynamics and First Wave Technologies. His newest company, InVentures, focuses on providing assistance, including management advice, capital, board-level guidance and connections, to start-up companies.

Blakely previously chaired the CACT’s advisory board for a number of years.

Max Christie, research and development director for the ceramic membranes group at Praxair, Inc., a position he has held since 2012. He  has led teams that have developed and commercialized as point-of-use, high-purity, oxygen generator based on dense zirconia membranes, trademarked as StarGenTM. The team has also prototyped inert gas purification systems using zirconia membranes as well as commercialized rotatable ceramic sputtering targets used in the fabrication of photovoltaic cells.

Praxair and the U.S. Department of Energy have invested millions of dollars into developing ceramic membrane technology that will allow a reduction in the cost of converting natural gas to syngas. Christie is responsible for the materials development and ceramic module manufacturing associated with the scale-up and commercialization of the technology.

Dr. Denis Cormier, the Earl W. Brinkman Professor of industrial and systems engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the director of the Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) Center at RIT.

Cormier has worked in the area of additive manufacturing for 20 years with a specific focus on aerospace materials and applications of metal additive manufacturing. Most recently, his research has focused on multi-material functional printing processes and materials.

Prior to joining RIT in 2009, he was a professor at North Carolina State University for 15 years where he founded NC State's Rapid Prototyping Lab in 1996. He is a founding member of ASTM’s F-42 additive manufacturing standards group, and he is a long-time organizing committee member for SME’s RAPID conference and exhibition. He serves on the editorial advisory boards for several journals including the Rapid Prototyping Journal, the International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing, and Additive Manufacturing.

Dr. Christine Heckle, research director, Inorganic Materials Research, at Corning, Incorporated, a  position she has held since September 2015. In this role, Heckle is responsible for setting the materials research strategy and vision to deliver new materials to support next-generation products in glass and ceramics. Previously, she was research director, Crystalline Materials Research, where she lead the development of new ceramic products to support the Environmental Technologies and Specialty Materials segments, as well as new business and exploratory arenas.

Heckle joined Corning in 1997 in Corning Specialty Materials development. She then moved to Environmental Technologies to lead a variety of programs that introduced new products into the marketplace. Under her leadership, DuraTrap® AT was expanded into the heavy duty market, and two new product offerings were launched for the light duty market.

In August 2012 she won the inaugural R, D & E Leadership Award from the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers  for her proven track record of producing results with an excellent use of emotional intelligence and people skills, as well as for being a key advocate and champion of diversity initiatives. Heckle is a member of SPECTRA, Corning’s LGBT employee resource group, and ADAPT, Corning’s employee resource group for people with disabilities and those who care for people with disabilities. She mentors and coaches members of EDGE (Ethnically Diverse Group of Employees) and SBP (Society of Black Professionals). A member of Alfred University’s Class of 1992, Heckle also earned a Ph.D. degree in Glass Science from the University.

Andy Norris, technical manager and quality assurance manager at ASK Chemicals Hi-Tech, LLC, in Alfred Station.

A graduate of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University with bachelor’s (1988) and master’s (1990) degrees in ceramic engineering, Norris with hired at what was then Hi-Tech Ceramics immediately after graduation as a development engineer. The company, founded in 1981 by three Alfred University alumni, was acquired by ASK Chemicals in 2008, making it part of a world-wide company with 1,800 employees, 20 plants and about $800 million in annual sales.

Norris has been part of the local manufacturing economy since graduating from AU, working to develop, improve and provide consistent ceramic filters used in the casting of critical foundry castings for the aerospace, medical, automotive, mining and other industries. Primary projects and efforts are with partially stabilized zirconia reticulated ceramics.

During his 25-year career at ASK Chemicals Hi-Tech, Norris has continued to be involved with AU through analytical services and ceramic resources provided by the School of Engineering.

Dr. Alan Rae, executive director of IncubatorWorks, leading the development of the business and manufacturing incubator at the Elmira-Corning Airport Corporate Park, along with directing operations at the Innovation Centers in Alfred NY and Painted Post NY  Rae has worked in the electronics, ceramics, nanotechnology and “clean tech” industries for over 30 years in the USA and UK, managing global businesses and technology development at startup, operating company and corporate levels. He currently is executive director of IncubatorWorks, leading the development of the business and manufacturing incubator at the Elmira-Corning Airport Corporate Park, along with directing operations at the Innovation Centers in Alfred NY and Painted Post NY.

Rae is active in industry associations and standards work and  is a founder member of the Graphene Stakeholders’ Association. He has held director and vice president positions with five new companies, started his own business, consults on behalf of IncubatorWorks with startup companies and investors in the nanotechnology, solar and electronics industries throughout the USA. He is an entrepreneur-in-residence with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and is on the advisory committees for NYSIVC, the Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing, and the NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics.

Dr. Holly Shulman, founder and president of Ceralink Inc., in Troy, NY. She received her BS in ceramic engineering from Alfred University (1987), MS from University of Pittsburgh (1990), and PhD from the ceramics department of the Swiss Federal Institute of technology Lausanne Switzerland (EPFL 1995). 

Dr. Shulman has over 25 years of experience working internationally in advanced materials technologies. She has developed fast innovation strategies and specializes in leading crosscutting technical and business teams to successful outcomes.

The Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology at Alfred University is one of 15 Centers for Advanced Technology funded through the NYSTAR (Science and Technology) division of Empire State Development. The centers support university-industry collaborative research and technology transfer in commercial relevant technologies. The CAT program was created in 1983 to facilitate the transfer of technology from New York's top research universities into commercially viable products produced in the private sector.