Sutliff named 2016 Early Career Alumni Recognition Award recipient
Robert “Brad” Sutliff has been named the 2016 Early Career Alumni Recognition Award recipient for the Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering.
The award is designed to honor an outstanding Penn State chemical engineering graduate who received his or her degree within the past ten years, and who has proven themselves as an exemplary role model for current chemical engineering students, as well as a successful contributor to industry.
Sutliff, who has over ten years of experience in the chemical industry, has created a record of success throughout his career in various roles including process production engineer, reliability engineer, research engineer and maintenance project engineer.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Penn State in 2005, and began his professional career that year as a process production engineer with Rhodia (now Solvay) in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
At Rhodia’s Spartanburg facility, Sutliff implemented a quality engineering program that increased quality metrics from 70% to 99%, and led process optimization efforts that resulted in the addition of over 4,000 hours of annual batch production capacity. For his contributions, Sutliff was awarded the Rhodia Premier Achievement Award for new product development and a large volume business expansion.
In 2008, Sutliff relocated to Rhodia’s Houston, Texas facility and began work as a reliability engineer, focusing on sulfuric acid regeneration and manufacturing units. He supported three different production units with responsibility for maintenance and reliability of all rotating equipment including pumps, compressors and turbines. In this role, Sutliff made significant contributions by leading root cause failure analysis investigations for the equipment, implementing equipment reliability improvement projects, and managing predictive maintenance vibration and oil analysis programs.
In 2009, Sutliff returned to Pennsylvania and accepted a position at Lonza, Inc. in Williamsport as a research engineer. In the role, he contributed to the support of new product development, new process development and process optimization operations for Lonza sites within the US and globally. Sutliff also maintained responsibility for Williamsport pilot plant operations which involved coordinating production, maintenance and capital projects for the pilot plant.
Most recently, Sutliff accepted a new position at Lonza, Inc. as a maintenance project engineer. He now assumes responsibility for managing capital projects and maintenance reliability programs for the Williamsport site.
When asked about the impact of Sutliff’s professional contributions, one nominator wrote, “In my 22 years of industrial experience managing multiple groups at multiple sites, I consider Brad as one of the top performers with whom I have ever had the pleasure to work."
Leadership and Professional Activities
Apart from his outstanding career achievements, Sutliff remains very involved in the broader community. At Lonza, he is a contributor to numerous community outreach activities that include providing site tours to outside groups ranging from university classes to elementary schools. He is also very active in delivering STEM presentations at local schools to promote interest in science, chemistry and engineering. He is best known for his creatively titled “Phun with Physics” lecture and “Chemistry Chelamity” experimental demonstration with local school districts.
Sutliff has also remained very involved with Penn State since earning his degree. He has delivered presentations in the CHE 300 Professional Development seminar for the past 10 years, which cover topics such as "Transitioning to Your First Job" and "Thinking Outside the Engineering Box." Sutliff’s presentations are consistently ranked by chemical engineering students as some of the best presentations during the semester-long seminar.
Sutliff has also served as an outside consultant for the Department of Chemical Engineering’s ABET activities, providing insight as both a previous student and professional. In particular, he has developed an interesting series of analogies which link the ABET process to ISO standards--reviews, which have proved very helpful in structuring and analyzing the department’s assessment activities.
He has served as a speaker on the Penn State AIChE student chapter career panel and is also an active member of the Central Pennsylvania AIChE Chapter, in which he currently serves as chair of the local section after having had several previous positions within the organization.Sutliff currently resides in Jersey Shore, PA with his wife Koren and daughter Ellie. His future plans include transitioning from the chemical industry into teaching chemistry or chemical engineering.