As a technical service manager for materials giant DuPont Co., Mary Kamande leads a team of polymer technical experts to support new product development and application development. She has a doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from Louisiana State University.
She started her career with DuPont as an analytical chemist at the Chambers Works plant, using analytical techniques to identify process impurities and ensure chemicals manufactured met specifications. She received Six Sigma black belt certification, then transitioned to her first supervisory role in a plastics technical service laboratory, leading a team of laboratory and processing personnel that performed mechanical testing as well as injection molding of plastic parts, within the Materials and Mobility business at DuPont.
Kamande became a technical service manager in 2020.
"I was very interested in this industry as I understood the impact plastic materials has in improving our daily lives. Plastic materials made in DuPont have broad uses, including novel medical applications, health and fitness devices, safety firefighting and body armor garments, construction, just to mention a few," she said.
Her greatest professional achievement was establishing and leading a "high-performing team that resulted in changing the work culture in my organization and ultimately resulting in strong business impact."
"As a laboratory team, we established a clear vision and became a high-performing team that engaged, collaborated and embraced change delivering accurate and reliable data in a timely fashion to exceed the needs of our customers," she said.
Kamande said she is interested in vehicle electrification and autonomous driving because of their potential to lower emissions in the future.
"I am passionate about the use of plastics in these emerging technologies and the ability to contribute positively to the sustainability global goals and impact climate change," she said.
Q: What's an accomplishment of yours that most people don't know about, either for work or in your personal life?
Kamande: Most people might not know that I am the first person in my nuclear and extended family to receive a Ph.D. degree. I am very proud of this accomplishment as it is a constant reminder to me that one can achieve the highest goal set if they believe and put in the effort required.
Q: What has been the most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Kamande: When stretched to the limits, each one of us has innate resilience to thrive. The pandemic forced many of us to quickly pivot and draw from skills that we had developed over time. Our ability to remain optimistic while handling challenges, keep focused while finding purpose in our work, was outstanding in a time several lost their lives.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kamande: The best advice I have ever received is derived from a quote by Robert Brault that states, "We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal." This quote inspires me to not only have the courage in setting high goals but also envision myself achieving those goals.