High School Students Explore Polymers with NovationSi, FocusCFO®, and RDAbbott

The Greater Akron Polymer Industry Cluster, a cross-sector collaboration between polymer-related companies and institutions in Northeastern Ohio, recently provided an “Exploring Polymers Workshop” to high school students in Barberton, Ohio. Representatives from RDAbbott, a leading materials science and distribution company; NovationSi, RDAbbott’s manufacturing subsidiary; and FocusCFO®, a provider of fractional CFO services, presented the two-part series to Honors Chemistry students at Barberton High School.

Barberton is the home of NovationSi and the site of RDAbbott’s materials science and logistics hub for the Northeastern United States. NovationSi President Bob Bradley and Brian Swanton, NovationSi’s Director of Process Engineering, joined Peter Geise, Akron Area President for FocusCFO® and fellow Polymer Cluster member, as workshop presenters. Part 1 consisted of a high-level overview of polymers and career opportunities in the rubber industry. Part 2 covered the features, benefits, and applications of polymers.

“Greater Akron has been a center for the world’s polymer industry for over a century,” said Bradley. “Through collaborative activities like this training, NovationSi looks forward to a bright future with this next generation of rubber professionals.”

Wendi Damm, a Chemistry Teacher at Barberton High School, hosted the training presentations in her classroom on the afternoons of November 8th and 15th. Olivia Pilon, Senior District Executive and Grant Writer for Boy Scouts of America, coordinated the collaborative effort between the Polymer Cluster and Barberton High School. ConxusNEO, an Akron-based non-profit organization that connects local employers to education and workforce development programs, provided the grant money which helped to make this collaborative event possible. Mike Andric, Assistant Director of Curriculum for Barberton Schools, and Arianna Marich, Commercial Events Planner for RDAbbott, also played key roles.

During the workshop, students learned about the differences between thermoplastics and thermosets, how these materials are critical for modern life, and how many polymers can be recycled or reused. The Honors Chemistry students also enjoyed hands-on activities like making polymer chains and Latex superballs.