Hixon Center Black Gold and Green Talk: “Pursuing Sustainability Through Life Cycle Thinking”

January 31, 2017 Add to Calendar

All day event.


Shanahan Center, SkyCube
320 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711


Louis Spanias


The concept of sustainability is critical for businesses and individuals to understand and apply. A company like Dow can pursue sustainability by having a clear corporate strategy, global accountability to goals and a variety of tools to track and improve business performance. The ability to articulate aspirational goals for some areas and quantitative measurements for others is critical. Engineering alumnus Robert Helling ’80, director of sustainable chemistry for The Dow Chemical Company, discusses the development and use of tools and approaches for "life cycle thinking" at Dow.

A light lunch will be provided.

RSVP required by Monday, Jan. 24. http://tiny.cc/hixonhellingtalk

Rich Helling ’80 is director of sustainable chemistry for The Dow Chemical Company, located in Midland, Michigan. He leads the Sustainable Chemistry expert community at Dow, which supports Dow businesses on the use of life cycle assessment (LCA), the sustainable chemistry index (SCI) and related tools to identify opportunities for innovation, differentiating products in the marketplace, and creating sustainable value for Dow. He is a member of the State of Michigan's Green Chemistry Roundtable and is active in working groups of The Sustainability Consortium.

Helling joined Dow in 1987 and has held a variety of roles in process research, development and manufacturing. He developed and improved technologies at Dow’s Pittsburg, California, manufacturing site for waste reduction, reaction selectivity and purification of chlorinated pyridines that are used in a broad range of Dow AgroSciences products, becoming the leader for Process & Environmental Technology in Pittsburg. He led the process development for SiLK™ dielectric materials in Midland, Michigan, and was the Dow AgroSciences European contract synthesis leader and fungicides technology leader when based in Drusenheim, France. Helling returned to Midland in 2003, when he began his use of LCA to complement economic evaluations of new technologies, especially the use of renewable feedstocks for chemical production, becoming an Associate R&D Director.

Helling holds a bachelors' degree from Harvey Mudd College with majors in engineering and history, a masters' degree in chemical engineering practice from MIT and a doctorate in chemical engineering, also from MIT. He was an assistant professor with the MIT Chemical Engineering Practice School prior to joining Dow. He is an author of 23 papers, holds two patents, is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan and is a, LCA Certified Professional.

Helling and his wife, Denise, have two adult sons. Helling is a dedicated musician, playing trumpet, singing tenor, ringing handbells, and is a cantor at his church. He is the board secretary of the Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network. During the non-freezing half of the year in Michigan, he enjoys commuting on his bicycle.