Thomas M. Connelly, Jr.
DuPont continues to be committed to science. In the words of DuPont’s chairman, Chad Holliday, “DuPont is a science company.” It is important that the science move out of the laboratories and into the hands of people who value it. Science is put to work in solving problems to make life better and safer. DuPont is committed to science and recognizes how important it is to DuPont’s future growth.
In February 2002, DuPont aligned its businesses around six market-focused and technology-focused growth platforms: DuPont Electronics & Communication Technologies; DuPont Performance Materials; DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies; DuPont Safety & Protection; DuPont Agriculture & Nutrition; and DuPont Textiles and Interiors, now called Invista. Invista is a wholly owned subsidiary of some of the fiber activities and businesses. The intent is to separate Invista from DuPont.
The other five growth platforms are tightly focused on markets and technologies and enable faster execution and improved capability for innovation and shareholder value creation. This structure supports DuPont’s transformation.
Evolving and integrating new sciences are not new to DuPont, which has been doing this since its establishment more than 200 years ago (Figure 4.1). Having spent 100 years as an explosives company, it spent the next 100 years largely as a chemicals and materials business, with a foray into energy through the Conoco operations in the late twentieth century. Looking forward, the chemicals and materials business will be the most important part of DuPont as far as anyone can see. However, new science fields are needed for the ambitions of the company. DuPont is emphasizing such fields as biotechnology, electronics and electronic materials, and safety and security, including a large and growing global safety consulting business. The safety business also contains DuPont products associated with safety: Kevlar®, Nomex®, and Tychem® to protect garments and also DuPont’s Clean and Disinfect products.
Perhaps DuPont’s willingness to move into new fields of technology and its flexibility are a metaphor for the technical workforce. DuPont has succeeded in business by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and has done this by transforming science into new technologies.
This is an edited transcript of speaker and discussion remarks at the workshop. The discussions were edited and organized around major themes to provide a more readable summary.
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable 4 Evolving Opportunities—Building a Global, Technical Workforce Thomas M. Connelly, Jr. DuPont Company DuPont continues to be committed to science. In the words of DuPont’s chairman, Chad Holliday, “DuPont is a science company.” It is important that the science move out of the laboratories and into the hands of people who value it. Science is put to work in solving problems to make life better and safer. DuPont is committed to science and recognizes how important it is to DuPont’s future growth. DUPONT’S GROWTH PLATFORM In February 2002, DuPont aligned its businesses around six market-focused and technology-focused growth platforms: DuPont Electronics & Communication Technologies; DuPont Performance Materials; DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies; DuPont Safety & Protection; DuPont Agriculture & Nutrition; and DuPont Textiles and Interiors, now called Invista. Invista is a wholly owned subsidiary of some of the fiber activities and businesses. The intent is to separate Invista from DuPont. The other five growth platforms are tightly focused on markets and technologies and enable faster execution and improved capability for innovation and shareholder value creation. This structure supports DuPont’s transformation. Evolving and integrating new sciences are not new to DuPont, which has been doing this since its establishment more than 200 years ago (Figure 4.1). Having spent 100 years as an explosives company, it spent the next 100 years largely as a chemicals and materials business, with a foray into energy through the Conoco operations in the late twentieth century. Looking forward, the chemicals and materials business will be the most important part of DuPont as far as anyone can see. However, new science fields are needed for the ambitions of the company. DuPont is emphasizing such fields as biotechnology, electronics and electronic materials, and safety and security, including a large and growing global safety consulting business. The safety business also contains DuPont products associated with safety: Kevlar®, Nomex®, and Tychem® to protect garments and also DuPont’s Clean and Disinfect products. Perhaps DuPont’s willingness to move into new fields of technology and its flexibility are a metaphor for the technical workforce. DuPont has succeeded in business by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and has done this by transforming science into new technologies. FIGURE 4.1 Evolution and integration of new sciences at DuPont. This is an edited transcript of speaker and discussion remarks at the workshop. The discussions were edited and organized around major themes to provide a more readable summary.
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable DUPONT’S WORKFORCE On some level, DuPont already has a diverse, global workforce. DuPont operates in 70 countries with 367 manufacturing sites, laboratories, and sales offices and about 79,000 employees. The non-U.S. component of its business is the fastest-growing segment. DuPont believes in a global economy and believes that trade policies that foster a global economy are to be encouraged. DuPont also recognizes the enormous opportunities for companies in developing markets. The company believes in the power and value of diversity as a broad concept. Diverse thought and different points of view are important; global thinking is one dimension of diversity. With regard to broadening DuPont’s workforce, the company seeks to recruit diverse research candidates within the U.S. workforce representative of the overall U.S. population. Industry and universities have to work to attract diverse people into the chemical research community. Diversity is crucial to DuPont’s hiring for it brings with it diverse perspectives, which help to stimulate creativity, and it provides for broader thinking on future product applications and improved designs. The development of technical talent is analogous to the development of a technology portfolio: the pipeline must be balanced. A vital related topic is the status of the development and availability of technical talent in the United States. Review of the demographics of research organizations in the company makes it clear that in the next five to ten years, DuPont must hire many more students than it has today. Decreasing enrollments of U.S.-born graduate students in science and technology must be addressed. DuPont and the rest of the U.S.-based chemical industry are increasingly dependent on students from around the world. This will allow DuPont to staff global laboratories with local talent and it may also affect the type of research done at those locations. GLOBAL ECONOMIES It is evident that the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe, South America, and East Asia are growing much faster than those of the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. Considering only industrial sectors of the economies, the disparity is much greater. The U.S. economic recovery has been modest in manufacturing sectors, with production not yet returning to the levels of the late 1990s. Furthermore, the chemical industry has moved into a negative trade balance, undoing more than 70 years of positive trade.1 Similarly, Europe’s industrial production has remained at a plateau for the last several years, without prospects for short-term growth. Mexico’s manufacturing shows robust growth, in part because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The largest economies of South America struggle from a manufacturing standpoint, although agriculture and other sectors of their economies fare much better. Asia paints a very promising picture. China has consistently performed positively for the last 20 years. China has been and continues to be a good place to grow a business. Economic growth in Japan has been slow for about a decade, but there are signs of a sustained recovery there. The rest of Asia is somewhere between China’s and Japan’s performances. Although Taiwan and Korea have had dampened performances, they are now making strong recoveries. India continues to represent a large opportunity for the chemical industry. On the whole, the situation in Asia, Central Europe, and Central America appears to provide a potentially greater opportunity than the more developed parts of the world. DUPONT’S GLOBAL EFFORTS DuPont is increasingly interested in Asia Pacific and has been expanding its presence there. East Asia is home to a large population base with very rapid economic growth. Currently, DuPont is present across East Asia, which represents 20 percent of DuPont’s business, surpassing Japan as its largest subregion within Asia Pacific (Figure 4.2). Against this economic backdrop, DuPont recognizes that success in Asia takes on strategic importance. Today, Asia represents about 20 percent of the company’s revenue, and it is growing much faster than business in other regions. Even at this level, DuPont is underrepresented. Sales as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) should be higher. There is room to grow, particularly in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Economic growth is so rapid that you must be in the region to understand the opportunities. In terms of establishing operations in Asia, DuPont has adopted a diverse approach to locating its facilities as opposed to other companies that have taken a more centralized approach. This has implications for the R&D model even though the vast majority of DuPont research is done in the United States. Most of DuPont’s new laboratories are being added outside the United States. The mission of the new laboratories has been primarily product development and market-focused research rather than basic research. DuPont research has become much more collaborative in its efforts. In the past, whomever DuPont hired moved to its corporate laboratories in Wilmington, Delaware, to work. Today, DuPont understands and appreciates that candidates have more options than in the past. As a consequence, the company is reaching out in new ways to collaborate in research both in and outside the United States. 1 For more information see Storck, W.J. 2004 World Chemical Outlook. Chem. Eng. News 82(2), 18-20.
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable FIGURE 4.2 DuPont sales by country. DuPont has major laboratories around the world. Kingston Laboratory, located in Ontario, was founded in the 1950s, as was the laboratory in Mechelen, Belgium. DuPont also has Meyrin Laboratories near Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in the 1990s, DuPont’s Nambsheim Laboratory in France is focused primarily on agricultural research. DuPont has dozens of small agricultural research facilities spread around the world to take advantage of climate and agronomic differences. The laboratory in Wupperthal, Germany, came as a result of a business acquisition. The laboratory in Utsunomiya, Japan, about an hour north of Tokyo, was founded in 1998. In 2004, DuPont will open an R&D facility in Shanghai, China. Although there are a number of reasons for undertaking research in non-U.S. regions, the primary one, and usually the first mission for a new DuPont laboratory, is to meet local needs. Product needs are unique to a region. Solutions derived elsewhere are often insufficient to meet those needs. It is important to think globally and diversely. How does DuPont link this to research capability? Most of the hiring at the Ph.D. level still occurs within the United States, where most of the basic research takes place. People hired in the United States are 29 percent female and 40 percent non-white; of the latter, the vast majority is Asian, primarily non-U.S. born. With regard to DuPont’s expectations, the high number of scientists and engineers who began life outside the United States already implies transnational work. DuPont, although still focused on chemicals and materials, is increasing its population of scientists with expertise in life sciences and physics. RESEARCH AT DUPONT Teamwork differentiates industrial research from academic research and continues to grow in importance. DuPont’s research is done by multifunctional teams. The central laboratory has been reorganized from a competence-based structure to a team-based project structure focused on creating technologies or products of value to the company. DuPont integrates more fields of science into its research capabilities, and the teams are becoming more multidisciplinary. Some of the new fields in which DuPont is working are biotechnology, bioscience, and electronics. These account for about half the corporate research, and complement the work in chemical, polymer, and material science, even though 75 percent of the current business is focused on the traditional fields. To succeed in these new areas, people must learn from one another. Effective teamwork facilitates learning and leads to success. For many years within the United States, DuPont has also used collaborations outside the company to obtain technical expertise or for cost-efficiency. As markets become more global, these collaborations mirror them; many more collaborations are spread across the world. For example, DuPont has expanded sponsorship of awards beyond the United States. The award mechanism introduces DuPont science to the global research community and introduces DuPont to leading academics around the world. The awards include the DuPont Innovation Award and the Young Investigators Award, which began in the United States in 1968. The trends are as follows. Rapid economic growth outside the United States is leading to more rapid sales growth in the rest of the world. As a consequence, production and the supporting technology activities occur in those locations and can include customer support, production support, and ultimately new product development. All this may lead to research activities. Each of these trends has implications for whom DuPont hires and where DuPont hires them. EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE IN RESEARCH AND BUSINESS An evolutionary change in research and business is being driven by globalization. Early models in this evolution can be described as dependent or perhaps even colonial: those in charge are at headquarters, and they control what the rest of the world does and how work is done. There are advantages: lines of communication are clear, and decisions
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable can be made and implemented (even if the decisions are not always based on the right data). Many U.S. companies operate this way. The next stage is an independent regional model. This is the “separate-but-equal” approach. The geographic separation between the regional location and headquarters helps to create the partition. This represents, at some level, progress versus the command-and-control phase, but this “departmental” state is most dangerous. Fragmenting the overall organization forfeits the potential benefits of global optimization for regional optimization. It is critical that organizations in this phase move to the next level: the intradependent model. The intradependent model is the most difficult to execute because it requires orchestrating the efforts and opportunities of the many separate regions and optimizing them for the benefit of the whole organization. Translated to DuPont, it means that a researcher based in Wilmington, Delaware, must work on the most pressing global problems, regardless of their location, as though the problem existed in his or her home location. There are three reasons for a company to move into the intradependent model: (1) global customers will insist on it; (2) global competitors will prey on the lack of unity between regions; and (3) resources are limited—few, if any, companies have the luxury of reproducing all that is done in United State in all other regions of the world. CONCLUSION In conclusion, industrial research is becoming more collaborative. That is certainly true in the United States. DuPont is collaborating more with universities, industrial partners, and government laboratories. No company can afford to do it all alone. There is an irreversible trend. Global thinking is more important than global location. The corollary is that the global workforce must be more capable of working across distances, time zones, and cultures. With an organization that thinks globally, there is no need to reproduce globally all that is in one location. Behavior is more important than facilities. This maxim is true for more than research. It holds for marketing and manufacturing. Everyone must be more adept at working across cultures, time zones, and distances. DuPont’s workforce includes, and will increasingly include, researchers born outside the United States. DuPont does not view this as a problem, but the United States does have an issue with attracting enough talented students into careers in science and technology. It is urgent that more be attracted. The next decade presents an important opportunity for DuPont and the rest of the chemical industry with regard to staffing. What are the complementary roles of universities and companies in preparing U.S. scientists and engineers for global careers in chemistry and chemical technologies? Clearly the responsibility must be shared. This presentation has drawn heavily on my experiences and those of DuPont. The observations may be more broadly applicable for the chemical industry but may not be representative of other industries that employ chemists and chemical engineers. DISCUSSION Discussion arose out of Thomas Connelly’s presentation dealing with such issues as DuPont’s globalization, including the transition from a competence base to a team base, the opening of a laboratory in Shanghai, further discussions with China, safety programs, and relocation and compensation of DuPont employees. Discussion was also continued from previous presentations about diversity and education and training of employees from the perspective of DuPont. Transition from a Competence Base to a Team Base Douglas Selman, of ExxonMobil, asked for an elaboration of DuPont’s motivation for reorganizing corporate research from a competence base to a team base. Connelly responded that the decision was made about 4 years ago to reorganize the central laboratories. Companies take different approaches, but Connelly’s belief is that a central laboratory has to be relevant to what is going on in the company, or it will risk destroying value and its own existence. For about 20 years in DuPont, the central research mission was to do world-class science or other activities relevant to DuPont business. Researchers today have the advantage of being able to do both. Connelly continued that a competence-based laboratory is good at perpetuating competence, but it does not necessarily point out gaps. DuPont has moved away from being a competency-based organization. With project teams, if someone who knows about a particular subject is needed but is not on the team, the company knows that it has to hire people with relevant backgrounds. When DuPont went to this setup, there was talk about focusing on problems, but now there is work on the subset of problems that represents opportunities. It is called the apex research effort, and DuPont has pushed ahead with the transition. Although there was debate, Connelly believes that no one would want to go back to the old base. DuPont’s Shanghai Laboratory A second question posed by Selman was about the major risks that were associated with the opening of DuPont’s research center in Shanghai. Connelly stated that the mission of the Shanghai laboratory is going to be development work and product tailoring. It will provide a training center and ultimately may move on to a research mission, but that is not yet envisioned.
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable Discussions with China Paul Anastas, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, had an interesting experience in 2002 in renegotiating the science and technology treaty with China. He wondered about discussions with regard to engagement in industrial development in China between DuPont and the government and other sectors. Connelly replied that he or his counterparts meet fairly regularly. He takes two to three trips a year to Asia and probably at least two to China. China is obviously still very interested in attracting investment. In the emphasis on more high-technology investment, DuPont is considered a partner. In the week after this workshop, a delegation would be coming to DuPont to talk about some specific projects. A list of 20 to 30 projects came out of a series of prior discussions. Most of the discussions involve new directions and are not just to establish business. For instance, biobased materials will be discussed. The Chinese are interested, at the government level, in greener processes and nonpolluting processes. Their expectations for a foreign firm coming into China are much higher than they would be for a state-run enterprise with respect to environmental performance. Safety Programs William Koch, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, noted that DuPont is recognized for its enhanced safety programs, both on the job and in personal lives. Is this accepted and recognized in other parts of the world? Connelly stated that his company began to globalize the safety program about five years ago and wondered whether it would be of the same value around the world. Connelly has been impressed by the acceptance. The company has had good interactions with leaders of businesses in developing parts of the world that previously had too many deaths. Relocation of Employees Steven Buelow, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, asked whether DuPont has a governing policy for compensation for life work and how it handles problems associated with moving workers from one location to another. Connelly believes that global means putting people in the right roles, regardless of where they came from. Many of DuPont’s policies have to become more flexible with regard to moving people around. The company is making progress. Some of the policies may have been conceived when a transnational move meant relocating someone from the United States to another part of the world. Now more movements from other parts of the world to the United States or from region B to region C are being seen. DuPont has worked to reduce the costs associated with some of its policies. There is no question that people who work outside their home country create a significant expense for the company. There is always economic pressure to keep down the totals. Compensation Buelow asked whether any social problems are encountered when members from different parts of the world work on the same team but receive different compensation. Connelly said that there are surprisingly few problems, probably because people do not discuss their salaries. There is also an understanding that if one’s children have to go to an international school, this presents an expense that one would not have in one’s home country. In China, there is little potential for problems, because it is well known that the cost of an expatriate working in China is many times that of a local employee. As more and more capable and well-trained local employees are found in China, there is a tendency to hire a local employee of another company and pay that person at a rate midway between the transferee price and the local price. Per capita income in China is less than $1,000 a year, but an English-speaking electrical engineer working in Shanghai for an international company knows what he or she is worth. Diversity Tyrone Mitchell, of the National Science Foundation (NSF), pointed out how DuPont is thought of as a company of chemists. He wanted to know DuPont’s views of nonchemists with respect to recognition and promotions. Connelly said that historically there have been a lot of chemists. When a team needs, for instance, a physicist, the physicist is valued. DuPont does not have too many problems with inclusiveness; there are chemists, physicists, and biologists. Mitchell also asked about the statistics given that 40 percent of the people hired by DuPont in the United States are non-white, but that most of those are foreign born. He said that these statistics suggest DuPont is not doing a very aggressive job of trying to recruit among underrepresented minorities. Connelly responded that most of the people hired are not foreign born and that most of the Asians hired are not American born. He believes that DuPont is attracting more than its fair share of members of underrepresented minorities. However, he said the company does have problems, particularly at the Ph.D. level, with the total number of African Americans and Hispanics because the pool of these graduates is small. Education and Training Marshall Lih, of NSF, asked whether DuPont provides summer jobs or internship opportunities for U.S. students in science and engineering in which they are assigned interna-
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Preparing Chemists and Chemical Engineers for a Globally Oriented Workforce: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable tionally or globally oriented projects rather than typical chemical operations projects. If so, how are they advertised? Connelly replied that there are summer projects, but there is plenty of room for improvement. DuPont gets into collaborative research programs, and some of the students will show up for a few months in the laboratories. He said that the next phase of the project is up to the principal investigators. Little thought is given to an international orientation to this work. When Connelly ran the laboratory in Geneva, there was a more formal system in Europe. The idea was that as part of the degree, most technical students, even as undergraduates, needed to spend time in industry. The industry is set up for that system. In the European region, DuPont is transnational, but in the United States, there are no student experiences outside the United States. More could be done. Michael Rogers, of the National Institutes of Health, reflected on the previous question in a different discussion about how U.S. graduates and Ph.D.s could be trained to make them more appealing to the global environment. Connelly has had some good experiences with a lot of universities. Some faculty members send large numbers of their students to DuPont because they seem to understand and fit into the program. DuPont certainly has principal investigators who have spent time teaching at universities. More interchange might help. Karin Bartels, of Degussa, then asked whether more research can be encouraged at the undergraduate level of university education where the higher-order skills can be communicated. She wondered whether Connelly thought more could be accomplished if research started at the undergraduate level. Connelly became involved in some research programs as an undergraduate, and he believes that is the best recruiting technique to get people to continue in graduate school. He probably would have chosen another career if he had not enjoyed his undergraduate experience. On a number of levels, it is worth doing, but the experience must be meaningful.
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