Industry professionals share insights, expertise in speaker series

Speaking to a room of students, postdocs and faculty at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), David Hurst, founder and CEO of Orbital Transports, told the audience about exciting new prospects for materials science and commercial applications in space.

Hurst was the first speaker in the Industry Seminar Series, a new series at Pritzker Molecular Engineering that brings professionals to UChicago to discuss industry trends, as well as provide students and postdocs opportunities to make external contacts, ask about career options, and seek advice on job transitions. The events are free and open to the public.

The second speaker in the series, Ian Glomski, founder of Vitae Spirits, will discuss the process of distillation as well as his work with microbes and how they sculpt our macroscopic world on Friday, February 28 at 3 PM in Eckhardt Research Center 201B.

“The series is a great way for students and postdocs to make contacts with industry professionals,” said Felix Lu, director of corporate engagement, who developed the series. “It also offers professionals a chance to get to know the talented students we have here and increases awareness of who we are at PME and what we have to offer.”

“This speaker series is a great opportunity for students and postdocs to not only discover potential career paths, but also to consider ways they can apply scientific advances to develop future products, materials, and processes,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean of Pritzker Molecular Engineering.

At the first event, Hurst discussed prospects of commercial endeavors in space, including mining near-earth asteroids, the logistics and methods of launching small satellites, and the current projects his company is undertaking.

“The talk was a great fit for the PME, since the school's research is all about developing new technology to solve problems or achieve things we couldn't before.” said graduate student Paul Jerger, who attended the seminar and lunch. “The event gave me the opportunity to hear from an industry professional with a lot of experience, and it was informative to hear David speak about starting and operating companies.”

“I'd be happy to attend future industry seminars,” added Jerger.

More speakers from an array of industries will speak over the coming months, including Ken Savin from Novecept, Arthur Curran from Citrus and Allied Essences, and Aleksandr Shtukater from RaayonNova, with more to be added.

A related event, FORUM 2020, will gather industry professionals for a full day of presentations and events on Thursday, May 14.