Kailasam receives Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award
Growing up surrounded by chemical engineers, Ganesh Kailasam decided that he, too, would like to pursue a career in the field. He recalls, “My dad worked at a large petrochemical complex, and I was intrigued by all the interesting things that chemical engineers do.”
After earning his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the A.C. College of Technology in Chennai, India, Ganesh came to Penn State for his graduate studies.
He began his career at GE in Schenectady, NY, as a researcher at the company’s Global Research Center and later became Global Technology Manager for high-performance polymers within GE Plastics.
During his 17 years at the company, Ganesh was involved with the world-scale commercialization of a revolutionary melt technology process to manufacture polycarbonate, and he led the team that created and commercialized a new patent-protected process for manufacturing polyetherimides.
In 2007, GE Plastics was sold to SABIC and soon afterwards Ganesh was offered an opportunity to join The Dow Chemical Company. He notes, “I call this the inflection point of my career, because if GE Plastics had never been sold, I might still be there.”
Ganesh subsequently became Vice President of R&D for performance materials at Dow Chemical. In this role, he oversaw R&D in polyurethanes and systems, automotive, industrial solutions, consumer solutions, epoxy, and chlorinated organics.
Currently, Ganesh serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Dow Corning. He is responsible for leading the firm’s efforts in research, process engineering, and product and application development. Ganesh explains, “The whole idea is to create wonderful materials and applications for our customers and to drive growth of the company through innovation.”
Throughout his career, Ganesh has been recognized with multiple awards and honors, including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ 2011 Industry Leader Award and election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013. He also holds 27 patents.
“Penn State taught me to understand the thoroughness with which to do R&D,” says Ganesh. “I learned how to be curious about things and think intuitively about solving problems by approaching them from different angles.”
Ganesh resides in Midland, MI, with his wife, Priya. They have one daughter, Harshita.