TechConnect News speaks with Tom Wendland, Polymer Innovation Manager at Sherwin Williams
Please tell us about yourself and your role within Sherwin Williams.
I am the Polymer Innovation Manager at Sherwin Williams. Sherwin Williams is a paint and coatings company that produces coatings for many market segments, from architectural house paints to aerospace coatings and everything in-between. I manage a team of scientists that work to develop novel polymers that can bring competitive advantage to Sherwin Williams. I have a background in small molecule synthesis as well as polymer synthesis. As a chemist I developed several polymers that ended up in SW commercial coatings. My team has a broad depth of expertise in all areas of chemistry as well as chemical engineering. We work closely with coatings formulators to create new materials that will ultimately offer unique products to the consumer.
Tell me more about Sherwin Williams and the role of strategic/venture investments?
At Sherwin Williams our suppliers and strategic partners are key to our ability to innovate and conduct development activities. Sherwin Williams absolutely values research and innovative thought. We are always very excited to have the opportunity to invest in partnerships which can allow us to do something new in the coatings arena.
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?
We maintain a balance in our partnerships between purely exploratory and more mature technologies. I will note that we need to be able to envision a route to production-scale with any technology that we consider. Ultimately we pursue partnerships that we feel are valuable, and so we need to be sure that we can commercialize the technology.
Tell us why innovation is important to your company and how this model supports your efforts to find new innovations. Could you describe 1-2 policies or programs your company has in place to support external innovation?
Sherwin Williams always attempts to be on the cutting edge of new technologies in our industry. Innovation is an imperative within our company. It is encouraged that everyone participates in innovation to the point that we have clear metrics around it. We believe that we can continue offering our customers exceptional products by being industry leaders in technology. At SW we have Innovation Resource Centers, an External Innovation group, and multiple other groups that our purely dedicated to innovation, mine included.
What makes Sherwin Williams is a good strategic partner for a start-up?
Sherwin Williams is an excellent partner for R&D because we are willing to dedicate the resources to ensuring a project’s success. We work closely with our partners and foster open communication and maintain realistic timelines. We are open with our feedback and are patient when we see high value opportunities.
Tell us why you participate at TechConnect World? Has the TechConnect innovation matchmaking helped you find new technologies?
I enjoy TechConnect World because it’s a fantastic opportunity to interact with other innovators, see what is happening in technology, and begin partnerships. We have had success in the matchmaking events.
About TechConnect World Innovation Conference: For over 20 years the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo has connected top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs, and startups with industry end-users and prospectors. The 2019 TechConnect World Innovation event includes the annual SBIR/STTR Spring Innovation Conference, Spring AI TechConnect, the TechConnect Technical Program - more than 35 world-class technical symposium, and the Nanotech Conference Series – the world's largest and longest running nanotechnology event.
Click here for more information on the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, June 17-19, 2019.
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