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Pak-Wing “Steve” Chum from The Dow Chemical Company Receives 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers


Midland, MI - May 01, 2006, Pak-Wing “Steve” Chum, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Dow Fellow in Performance Plastics & Chemicals of The Dow Chemical Company, is the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Thermoplastic Materials and Foam Division. He will be presented the award at the annual SPE ANTEC on May 8, 2006, in Charlotte, N.C. Chum is the fourth Dow employee to be recognized with the award in the 25-year history of the award program.

Chum is being recognized for his lifetime contributions in the development of polymer materials science and the use of materials science to guide and accelerate the development and innovation of new plastic products and applications. He is a world-recognized expert in semi-crystalline polymers materials science, including structure/property models, crystallization of semi-crystalline polyolefins, rheology models and fabrication technology for polyolefins.

“Over the course of his career, Steve has accumulated an impressive and extensive portfolio of product development achievements that delivered major commercial impact for Dow. These products set new benchmark levels in performance and end-use functionality across the market space served by the highly versatile polyolefin polymer family,” said Kurt Swogger, Dow R&D vice president, Performance Plastics & Chemicals.

Chum’s Accomplishments
Chum joined Dow in 1980 as a senior research chemist in functional Polymers R&D and has held various leadership roles in R&D for functional polymers, foams and polyolefin products. Early in his career at Dow, Chum made significant contributions to plastic foam technology.

Collaborating with Swogger and other Dow R&D colleagues, Chum was one of the key inventors of INSITE™ Technology, an innovative metallocene-based polymer technology. INSITE™ Technology is one of the Dow technologies that received the 2002 U.S. National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush.

Chum’s developments have enabled Dow to commercialize several new families of applications for polyolefin resins, including ELITE™ Enhanced Polyethylenes, AFFINITY™ Polyolefin Plastomers, INSPIRE™ Performance Polypropylenes, ENGAGE™ Polyolefin Elastomers, NORDEL-IP™ EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene monomer) and XLA™ Elastic Fiber. Since the discovery and development of these products in the early 1990s, sales have exceeded 1.5 billion pounds. These polyolefin products are now widely used for food and specialty packaging, durables and automotive applications with improved performance to benefit consumers.

Recently, he co-led another new product development effort and the successful launch of a new polypropylene-based product, VERSIFY™ Plastomers and Elastomers. VERSIFY™ Polymers are used in packaging and durable markets and provide excellent clarity and gloss, superb elasticity, flexibility, softness and compatibility.

As a world-class polymer materials scientist, Chum is among the first in the polyolefin industry to combine polymer materials science and structure/property models into a product design model. The resulting product design models incorporated in SixDay™ Product Design Software allowed Dow to design new, high-performance polyolefin products for its customers in a dramatically reduced time cycle. The results enabled customers to develop new products with increased speed to market. He worked closely with Professor Eric Baer and Professor Anne Hiltner of Case Western Reserve University to develop a materials science model on semi-crystalline polymers. Baer is also a member of the Plastics Hall of Fame.

Chum is a well-recognized educator in the plastic industry and academia. He has been invited to give lectures around the world, has co-authored over 60 journal articles and is the author of several plastic technology review articles that were published in various plastic technology textbooks and encyclopedias. He holds 55 U.S. patents as well as numerous patents in other countries.

Other Awards Bestowed
Chum is the recipient of many prestigious awards for his contributions to polymer science and to the plastic industry. The SPE recognition is the second for Chum in 2006. He will be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame during the National Plastics Exposition (NPE 2006) on June 19 in Chicago.

In 1993, he received the ACS Outstanding Achievement Award. In 1994, he received the U.S. National Inventor of the Year award. In the same year, he was named one of “50 U.S. R&D Stars” by Industry Week magazine. In 1996, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern Michigan University. Chum is the co-recipient of three R&D 100 awards: for ELITE™ Resin development in 1998, for XLA™ Elastic Fiber development in 2003, and for VERSIFY™ Plastomers and Elastomers development in 2005. In 2000, he received The H.H. Dow Medal, the highest honor bestowed to the most senior scientists from The Dow Chemical Company, and, in that same year, he was inducted as a society fellow by the Society of Plastics Engineers. In 2001, he received the ACS Industry/Academia Cooperative Research Award, jointly with Professor Anne Hiltner of Case Western Reserve University.

Chum grew up in Macau and received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hong Kong Baptist College. He completed graduate studies in Chemistry at Northern Michigan University, earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Oregon State University and completed post-doctoral Research at Kent State University.

Chum Joins Other Dow Recipients of the SPE Thermoplastic Materials and Foam Division Award
Other Dow employees recognized by SPE for the same award in past years include:

2002: Dr. Che-l Kao, Dow Chemical - Innovator and Pioneer in the areas of polyolefins, polycarbonates, engineering thermoplastic blends and emulsion polymers

1997: Dr. Ray MacIntire, The Dow Chemical Company - Styrofoam Invention

1994: Mr. L. C. Bud Rubens, The Dow Chemical Company - Foamed Materials
Dow Research & Development: Technology Leadership for Today and Tomorrow
Dow is committed to creating sustainable, innovative solutions that address world challenges and meet customer needs. The Company is investing in Research & Development (R&D) around the globe to meet the needs of a fast-growing and rapidly changing marketplace - from renewable seed-oil raw materials that can partially replace hydrocarbons, to catalyst technologies that enable next-generation polymers, to biotechnology breakthroughs that deliver new vaccines, natural insecticides, biofeedstocks, nutraceuticals and more. Dow is exploring an array of novel solutions focused on improving the lives and living standards of people across the globe. Using a business-driven approach to innovation, the Company is creating dynamic research models, increasing its intellectual property and developing a robust pipeline of products that bring value to society and Dow.

About The Dow Chemical Company
Dow is a diversified chemical company that harnesses the power of science and technology to improve living daily. The Company offers a broad range of innovative products and services to customers in more than 175 countries, helping them to provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products. Built on a commitment to its principles of sustainability, Dow has annual sales of $46 billion and employs 42,000 people worldwide. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.

About The Society of Plastics Engineers, Inc.
The Society of Plastics Engineers, Inc. (SPE) is the premier source of peer-reviewed technical information for plastics professionals. Founded in 1942, SPE takes action every day to help companies in the plastics industry succeed by spreading knowledge, strengthening skills and promoting plastics. Employing these vital strategies, SPE has helped the plastics industry thrive for over 60 years. SPE has become the recognized medium of communication among scientists, engineers and technical personnel engaged in the development, conversion and application of plastics. For more information, please visit

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