Co-Founder, Chemical Angel Network
Sid White was born in Woodville, MS, and raised in Baton Rouge. His family lived near the airport and he attended Baker Elementary, Junior High and High School. LSU was a natural choice for further education. He was a chemistry major, graduating with a BS in Industrial Chemistry in 1965. He made lasting connections with the cohort of students who were his classmates for four years. Of his experience at LSU, White says, “the Chemistry program at LSU was excellent with dedicated and outstanding professors.” He also joined the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity in 1963, and is an active member to this day. His advice to current chemistry majors is to figure out the area of chemistry and type of career that appeals “and take the necessary actions: employment, graduate school, networking, attending meetings etc.” Take responsibility and make it happen!
Following graduation from LSU in the summer of 1965, Sid worked at Allied Chemical Corporation in Baton Rouge. That Fall, he joined the graduate program at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. He received his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry in 1970. He served two years in the US Army Chemical Corp, as a First Lieutenant for the first year, and Captain for the second year, based at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, where he worked on chemical warfare agents. In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, White was called to active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel and posted to Kassel, Germany, where his expertise in testing for chemical agents was applied to the Iraq situation.
In 1971, Sid became a Research Chemist at Cincinnati Milacron in Ohio. As a Research Chemist, he pioneered the development of heat stabilizers for PVC, enabling the fabrication of rigid, white PVC. A small plant was constructed to manufacture his related invention, a One Pack Heat Stabilizer/Lubricant Product for PVC. During his seven years at Cincinnati Milacron, he also designed and executed a process whereby 40,000 pound tank cars of chemical waste were converted to a product used in asphalt for roads.
At Cincinnati Milacron, Sid had been a member of a team of chemists in a chemical company. When he joined Essilor of America, a global manufacturing company based in Paris, France, he was the Plant Chemist (singular) in St Petersburg, Florida. He worked in a plant where plastic eyeglass lenses were made. He spent 10 years in this role, affiliated with the Engineering Department. He then co-built the Research and Development Department, serving the role of Chief Scientist and, thus, the top technical employee in North America.
During his 30-plus year career with Essilor, White initiated R&D of coatings, becoming a world expert and propelling Essilor International to the position of world leader in coated eyewear. His breakthrough coatings included the proprietary product, Duralens™, for Lenscrafters. He was also instrumental in the introduction of UV-protection to eyewear. The Essilor plant grew from 300 to more than 2,000 employees during the timeline of White’s career. With headquarters in Paris, he was able to make over 70 round trips to Paris and several other international destinations.
Throughout his career, White has been active in the ACS and the Materials Research Society, giving 14 oral and 23 poster presentations. He has more than 15 US patents, some foreign patents and 7 publications. In 2012, Sid co-founded the Chemical Angel Network, and this passion keeps him busy in retirement. The Network is the only nationwide angel investing network for early stage chemical businesses and boasts 60 accredited investors and 19 portfolio companies. Sid networks at ACS, MRS and AIChE meetings, to matchmake startups with investors. We ask all our alumni if there is anything they would do differently if they had their time again. Sid’s answer was an emphatic, one-word answer … NO!
White (2nd from right) and members of his local Tampa Bay Local ACS Section Executive Committee accepting a ChemLuminary Award at the ACS National Meeting in 2016 in Philadelphia.
White (right) hosting the Chemical Angel Network Booth at the ACS National Meeting in 2014 in San Francisco