Alumni Hall of Fame 2018 | SRI International

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Alumni Hall of Fame 2018

John R. Strickland and Mimi G. Erskine

Ivor Brodie

The Chemical Economics Handbook (CEH) was launched at SRI in 1950 as a compilation of diverse statistics on the chemical industry gathered from various sources and presented in a standardized format. John R. Strickland and Mimi G. Erskine were instrumental in converting the CEH from strictly a data compilation activity to a detailed marketing research compendium dubbed by users as “the Bible” of the chemical industry.

Although popular with those who wished to follow the industry, the original program never fully covered its operating costs. After a number of years, SRI management decided to no longer subsidize the CEH and recommended the program’s closure. John Strickland countered by requesting time to promote an idea he had for developing complete supply/demand marketing research reports instead of simple statistical compilations. He was given three months to determine whether a more complete product offering could convert the CEH to a financially viable program.

Mimi Erskine provided the key element in promoting a “new CEH”—four prototype reports. These reports were instantly well received, not only by existing client companies but also by new client prospects. Overall acceptance of the new CEH was far greater than anticipated, and the program prospered. Erskine’s research approach and thoroughness gained her high respect in the basic petrochemical field, and her work became a template for other CEH researchers to emulate.

The high level of industry respect generated by the CEH assisted greatly in developing acceptance of subsequent SRI services to the chemical industry, such as the Process Economics Program, Directory of Chemical Producers, World Petrochemicals Program, and Specialty Chemicals Update Program. Finally, the new CEH consistently provided a very high financial operating margin.

 

Edwin Kinderman

David R. Brown

Edwin Kinderman came to SRI in 1956 with already extensive experience in nuclear energy technologies, including isotope separation, uranium processing, and reactor operations. At SRI, he directed diverse energy-related programs of the Applied Physics Laboratory, while personally conducting research on applications of ionizing radiation and reactor safety issues, as well as nuclear materials control, terrorist and rogue-nation nuclear threats, and proliferation issues. As a widely recognized expert, he was invited to speak on proliferation issues at the first International Conference on Nuclear Material Safeguards in Vienna in 1965. Under his leadership, the Applied Physics Laboratory expanded by attracting many talented scientists who achieved great distinctions in their respective fields. The groups were later merged into what became SRI’s Physical Sciences Division

In the 1970s, Ed changed his focus to studies of energy end uses and conservation, and by 1980 he was fully occupied with technoeconomic and market analyses for government and industrial clients. In another area of concern, by the 1970s and 1980s, hijacking of planes had become a serious threat. Ed participated in a government study and recommended to the FAA to secure the door to the cockpit. Unfortunately, this advice was not heeded until after the disastrous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Although much of his work dealt with industry confidential and government classified matters, he published a number of research articles in peer-reviewed journals and contributed chapters to two books on nuclear proliferation. After he formally retired in 1994, Ed continued investigating alternative energy resources and technologies and environmental control policies, while devoting time to the analysis of the broader energy issues addressed in A Cubic Mile of Oil, the book he coauthored in 2010 with SRI’s Hew Crane and Ripudaman Malhotra.