George Kodokian, DuPont Fellow

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George Kodokian applies his entrepreneurial problem-solving mindset and business acumen to generate novel material solutions for customers. During his 27-year career with DuPont, he has used science to unlock a myriad of large addressable markets for the Company. He is a member of the 2016 class of DuPont Fellows.

Since George was young, he was inspired by science and engineering. “As a young child, I watched Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon on our black and white grainy TV. This human endeavour to set such a high goal and achieve it was like a lightning bolt of inspiration for me,” George explains. “Since then, I have always worked hard to set bold goals for myself – focusing on developing science-based solutions for products that work in the market place from which the customers can benefit.”

George did indeed set bold goals for himself – attending the American University of Beirut where he earned a Bachelor of Science with Distinction in mechanical engineering, and then achieving both a Master of Science with Distinction and Doctor of Philosophy in materials science from Imperial College. After working for several years, George sought and obtained a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Delaware. “I was working on projects where a molecule I developed was being commercialized,” he explained. “My education was very helpful to me as I playing a key role in every aspect of the end-to-end innovation – from discovery to market research and commercialization.”

Like many engineers, George worked on a broad range of projects. But what really set him apart was his excellent collaboration, foresight and business acumen across disciplinary areas to build new capabilities to unlock value for DuPont and its customers. For example, early in his career, he developed a state-of-the art induction welding and plasma pretreatment process for the production of underwater autonomous vehicles. By challenging conventional wisdom to unlock new, foundational insights in such diverse areas as drug delivery, reactor liners, fibers technology, automotive coatings, biomedical and energy storage materials, he worked with leading surgeons and academics in the biomedical space to develop a sophisticated understanding about materials for in vivo applications including gel polymer implantables and interfacial chemistries to prevent bio-adhesion and stop internal bleeding after surgery. This work is the core innovation in the Actamax joint venture. He is also the founder and original architect of the approach to high voltage electrolytes for the ENERGAIN™ energy storage venture.

“I really enjoy integrating ideas from science, engineering and business to solve real world problems,” George said. “When I tackle a new problem, I start with a clean slate – I read and understand the work that’s already been done, and then reach out to peers and experts, internal and external, to ask what’s missing. By collaborating to connect ideas, we can create solutions more quickly.”

And that’s what George is looking forward to doing more of as a DuPont Fellow – connecting more than ever before to boldly explore new spaces for innovation.