Covestro analyst honored as one of '30 under 30'

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Paige Kassalen Paige Kassalen spent five months on the ground crew for the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered plane.

Covestro LLC market analyst Paige Kassalen — one of Plastics News’ Rising Stars of 2016 — has been named a member of Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2017.

Kassalen was one of 600 selected for the honor from a pool of more than 15,000 nominees. She was named to the group’s Energy list in recognition of her role on the ground crew of Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane that used Covestro materials and completed a round-the-world flight in July.

“My experience traveling the world with Solar Impulse gave me a chance to apply my technical background in a new and exciting way,” Kassalen said in a news release. “I’m grateful to Covestro for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent the company and, in turn, enable me to show the next generation that if you pursue a career in STEM, the sky’s the limit — literally!”

“To continue to be a leader in materials technology that will solve the challenges of tomorrow, we need to ensure that we are inspiring the next generation of scientists,” Covestro North American president Jerry MacCleary added in the release. “Through her role on the Solar Impulse team, and now as a mentor to other young women interested in STEM careers, Paige is doing just that.”

Covestro provided advanced materials and technical expertise for several applications in Solar Impulse, including its silver coating, door, cockpit window and insulation. The firm also strongly supports STEM education and selected Kassalen to represent the company during the plane’s historic journey as a member of the ground crew. She was the first U.S. female engineer — and the youngest — to serve on this predominately male team.

Leverkusen, Germany-based Covestro is a major global producer of polycarbonate, polyurethane and other specialty materials. The firm — with North American headquarters in Pittsburgh — employs 15,800 worldwide and posted sales of $12.8 billion in 2015.