August 2016

Greetings for the start of the 2016 year!

Hello and welcome to the start of the 2016 year for the Delaware Valley Section of AIChE! I am honored to lead this section as your Chair for the upcoming year. But of course, the chair is only as good as the section membership and section leaders. I wanted to start by thanking everyone for your continued support and involvement in the section. Without the efforts and enthusiasm of our volunteers and the feedback and support of our members, we would never be able to provide as many professional development and networking opportunities for our section. With that said, I always welcome any suggestions or feedback, as that is how we can continue to mold our events to fit the needs of our members. Please feel free to provide any feedback or ideas directly to me at

We have a lot of exciting events in the works for this coming year! Our Board has been working very hard in preparing some incredible events for this year and we are kicking off the 2016 year shortly with a “Secrets of the Schuylkill River” Boat Tour, September 8 th , starting at 5pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch up with friends after the summer and socialize on this one-hour evening boat cruise with dinner included.

We are returning to Yards Brewing Company on October 6 th for our Annual Oktoberfest evening. This always popular event will include dinner and drink tickets for all beers on tap at the brewery. We also have scheduled brewery tours throughout the night with Yards personnel, where you can learn the intricacies of brewing your favorite draft.

Last year we added Newark, Delaware to our Continuing Education locations so that we can branch out and continue supporting our Delaware members. Our Conshohocken Jacobs Engineering location will continue to host PDH (Professional Development Hours) presentations twice a month on average. Coming up on September 12 th in our Conshohocken location, Tony Galvin will give a talk on Dust Explosions. Look to our schedule on the section website for the most updated list of topics and dates for PDH sessions.

One area in which the Delaware Valley Section excelled in last year was outreach to students from K-12 in the region. I am so proud of our group of volunteers and how hard they have worked to grow this service. Last year, we hosted six events at different local schools and groups in an effort to develop some tools including instructions and supplies lists for easy and cost-efficient activities. We plan to share these materials with other local sections within AIChE to be able to make starting up a K-12 outreach event simple and easy. Our student chapters played a strong role in the development of these materials and we hope to continue to encourage our student chapters to plan outreach events throughout the coming years, as it is a great way to give back to the community and grow the next generation of passionate and curious engineers. DVS is always looking for more hands to assist with these events. If you have interest in joining a team of outreach enthusiasts, feel free to reach out to me personally, and I will connect you with the proper team member.

In March, we will look forward to our Annual CEO Lecture and in April the University of Delaware will host the Academic Awards Banquet at which we will recognize student and faculty achievement in our region for various categories. When the dates for these events are finalized, we will update our section schedule so that our members and students can reserve the dates on their calendars.

One incredibly rewarding way for members to get involved and network with students in the region is attending the Corporate Dinners that the student chapters plan and host independent of the local section. What a great way to interact with students of all levels at the universities. Look for opportunities to attend these formal dinners throughout the year as we will look to coordinate diverse attendees at each university’s event.

Mark your calendar for the fast approaching September 15th when we will have a tour of the Veolia Schuylkill Station Plant. Come learn about water and waste management in our local and global communities!

More industry tours and collaborative events with other professional organizations are also on the horizon for our section and I will highlight those events here in this quarterly Chair’s Blog as details are finalized. Our section is strong and the Delaware Valley Section Board will continue to provide opportunities for members in the region to learn and interact with other Chemical Engineers, students and professionals from related industries. Ideas and suggestions can be sent directly to me and I will work to implement them. I hope to see you at an event this year!


Giselle Schlegel, Chair, 2016-2017

Another exciting year at AIChE DVS

Although a little belated, I want to welcome you to another exciting year at AIChE DVS and to thank you for your support and participation in our section. I hope that this year we can capitalize the momentum we have generated among our members and student chapters into more active involvement in order to advance our profession further in the region. Many colleagues ask me why I spend so much time involved with AIChE. For me, the Delaware Valley has a historic chemical heritage that today is reflected by the number of companies that employ chemical engineers and institutions that derived from it. If we want to maintain the tradition, then the only way is to help us becoming better engineers and grow new engineers so that employers and potential employers do not have any doubts about starting or continuing their businesses in the area. Do not leave anything to chance; we can engineer a better place to live and work here in the Delaware Valley. As chair, I am working on coordinating our members that have this same vision and work diligently to achieve this goal. I exhort you to participate as your valuable time allows.

This year will be a historic year. We will be merging with the Wilmington Section. We are certain that this merger will make the section stronger. Our program will now include more events, which will take place in Delaware or close to the state lines. The merger is a process that requires approvals at organizational and operational levels. I do not foresee any impact for our DVS membership but for the WS membership some small changes will be gradually occurring until the transition is finalized.   

We have lined up several events for our diverse and ever changing membership. We have had already our first industrial tour at NextFab, a 3-D manufacturer and our 8th Annual Social Event at Yards Brewery, which was co-sponsored by ISPE-DVC.

Our next big event will be the Executive Lecture Series (aka CEO Lecture) at the Union League on March, 17, 2015. We are very excited to have as our keynote speaker Dr. Pierre Brondeau, CEO and Chairman of the Board of FMC, which is moving a lot of its business units headquarters to Philadelphia. 

A Professional Development Session on vacuum pump design considerations for condensables gases was given by Dr. Sang Hyun Park from Busch Pumps. We have 8 more technical talks planned for this fiscal year and more plant tours are also on the line up.

Our chemical engineering students are not forgotten. We are really focusing into involving them earlier so we can help them but at the same time guide them so they can become the next generation of leaders of our section and workplaces. Last year, we invited all upcoming leaderships of the student chapters to our Student Award Banquet. They connected very well to the point that they are forming a coalition organizing joint events. We have planned the next student awards dinner at Villanova University in April 2015, where we give the Zeisberg Award, one of the oldest student awards for technical writing. On that night we are now recognizing as well outstanding alumni and faculty. We are also trying to develop a design contest that multi-university student teams can work on the cloud.  We are also looking to reach out more K-12 students but also their teachers.

We are also taking a more active role with National and the Local Section Committee by looking for support and at the same time helping developing metrics to measure the health of a local section. 

Since chemical engineers work with other engineers, we are participating more actively with the Engineer’s Club of Philadelphia, International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers, Chemical Consultants Network, International Society of Automation and other professional societies. 

The section is thriving and we want to keep the momentum. I encourage you to get involved! There is a lot you can do without even attending one of our meetings. For instance, you could invite someone to join us or you can mentor a young engineer or a student or if you have a good idea on how to improve the section contact me and I will make sure we can make it happen.


Daniel Sujo, Chair 2014-2015


Tour at NextFab -3D Manufacturing

NextFab is a 3D printing site located in South Philadelphia that offers a gym for innovation. The company was founded by Dr. Evan Malone, an alumnus of UPenn and Cornell. We had the pleasure to tour the facility last September. 

We were able to see lots and lots of equipment for manufacturing objects of many sizes. Laser engravers and 3-D printers/scanners of diverse technologies are the showcase piece. However, innovation cannot be only done with 3-D printers so there are also wood and metal shops, electronics, computer and wet chemistry laboratories, photography studio and spaces for collaboration.

Chemical engineers can benefit of 3-D printing in two major ways, from my personal point of view. The obvious one is to work on the development and improvement of 3D materials and methods. The other one may sound more futuristic. It is the miniaturization of chemical processes. Smaller control volumes behave closer to ideality if coupled with computational fluid dynamics and control systems. This may yield to process intensification but on the other hand, these designs typically involve intricate geometries which may be cumbersome to manufacture. Advanced manufacturing techniques such as 3-D printing could be a true game changer for the chemical industry. The large capital investment typical of our industry are taken down so many chemical start-ups could thrive. Other benefits could be the reduction of risk by reducing the amounts of dangerous raw materials, more sustainable processes by process intensification but manufacturing can happen closer to the customer, and instead of scaling up we could be numbering up the process. 

NextFab was a great host. We are very thankful for their hospitality. We had a light dinner was served by Breezy’s Cafe a recommendation by NextFab, which tasted very well indeed.

We are hopeful to have an expert in process intensification in our Professional Development Session soon so we can explore more about the future of chemical engineering. 


Chair’s Blog – November 2013

Welcome to the AIChE Delaware Valley Local Section website! I would like to encourage all Chemical Engineers, whether you are a student in chemical engineering, a young professional starting your career, or a seasoned engineer, that we have something for all of you in our local section! Our Board is compromised of a great mix of engineers in all of these phases in our careers, as well as in a myriad of different industries, such as pharmaceutical, specialty chemical, project engineering, and education, to name a few. Our goal is to provide you with enriching activities and opportunities to network through our various functions each year that we plan. This year, 2013-14, as Chair, I encourage you to peruse of “Events” page. We had a successful tour, beer-tasting and buffet dinner held at Yards Brewery in Philadelphia in October with over 60 in attendance. This month (November), we are planning a tour of the Southwest Philadelphia Pollution Control Plant on November 20th, followed by a Buffet dinner. In January, we are hosting the Annual CEO Lecture at the Union League of Philadelphia and have the privilege of having Bruce D. Rubin, Director of Braskem America, Inc., as our guest speaker. In addition, throughout the year, we host a number of technical webinars that you can receive PDH’s toward PE and other certification accreditations. Check out the website regularly as we update our events throughout the year. Avail yourselves of these opportunities and get involved! I look forward to meeting you atr our next event.


Sidney Haig Biddle Chair, 2013-14

Chair’s Blog – September 2012

We had our first board meeting on Wed Sept 5th.  These occur the first Wed of each month, except for over the summer break.  Our first function of the year was a resume workshop at Villanova that Ken Ford and Karen Huller hosted.  Karen Huller did a great job (as always) leading the students through the fundamentals of resume writing and working with them to refine their resumes.

We have a very busy October agenda starting with our first webinar of the year.  This is worth 1 PDH.      


Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Lunch Webinar (1 PDH – Bob Moser) / DVS Board Meeting

Monday, October 08, 2012
Active Interviewing (Ken Ford) Villanova

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Student Workshop (Ken Ford) UPenn

Friday, October 19, 2012
Oktoberfest (Karl Saydlowski/Dan Sujo)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Evening Session – David Hardgrove (Spray Drying)