Mubashir Ansari, 33
Senior Research Specialist, Dow Chemical Co.
Mubashir Ansari was born in India and is a first-generation college graduate in his family. He attended the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and minor in Arabic. He also received his master's degree and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech. His siblings are also engineers.
He started in the plastics industry at Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co.
"When I was in grad school, I was looking for a role where I could grow in applied rheology, polymer processing, composites and sustainability — my area of research in Ph.D. I made the right decision to join Dow," he said.
"I currently work in Dow's Core R&D organization, and I get to enjoy innovating using a wide range of materials (e.g., additives, various thermoplastic resins, composites) that utilize nearly all types of plastic processing technologies such as film extrusion, blow molding, film casting, injection molding, etc.," he said. "Safety assessment of materials, processability characterization, data integration, new capability development, and intellectual property documentation are key responsibilities from my day-to-day life at Dow."
Ansari has been involved with the commercialization of five products in the flexible and rigid packaging space.
His great achievement has been receiving a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, he said.
"When I think about being a first-generation college student, achieving the highest degree in my field makes me even happier," Ansari said. "My parents feel their sacrifices were meaningful.
"The changes education has brought into my life and eventually percolating into my siblings are quite transformative. This is the reason that I have started financially supporting and mentoring a few students in my hometown, some of whom I see growing as engineers. The wealth of working with industry experts, who graduated from renowned universities and made a name for themselves, would have seemed nearly impossible in my childhood. In my current role, working with colleagues who would like to see me grow also provides additional satisfaction," he added.
Ansari is involved with the Society of Plastics Engineers and has served as a moderator of an applied rheology session at Antec 2021. He is also part of the Society of Rheology and in 2021 served as a session chair at its annual meeting in Maine.
Ansari was nominated by Kurt A. Koppi, principal research scientist at Dow.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Ansari: I grew up learning from my parents that hard work never goes in vain. This may sound cliché but has proved my parents right all the time. My experience has taught me that "luck" is always unpredictable, but "hard work" is always predictable and leads to positive results. This has taught me perseverance, which I bring into my projects as well.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Ansari: Integration of automation with processing technologies is ever-growing and has led to repeatable data and higher throughput R&D data generation. Adoption of automated data acquisition and addition of evolving data analytics tools are constantly improving manufacturing as well as the way we innovate today. The use of machine learning has made historical datasets more useful. All these emerging technologies are steppingstones to achieving industry 4.0 at a much faster rate.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Ansari: Being in research and development, I feel my every day is challenging. Facing new problems in various projects has made me very agile. In Core R&D, I work with nearly all Dow businesses. One day I work on polymer blends and the next day I come across a very different and exciting problem in additives or composites, for example. This keeps me constantly challenging myself in delivering in each of these material families and gives me the opportunity to seek out a variety of experts across Dow. The push for sustainability in various products brings in even more challenging dimensions, which also brings a sense of satisfaction that I am doing my part in mitigating/minimizing environmental impact.