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William F. Banholzer joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison in fall 2013 as a research professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, honorary fellow in the Chemistry Department, and senior advisor with the Wisconsin Energy Institute. He has a strong history of technical excellence and innovation, spanning more than 30 years of industrial experience.
At Dow Chemical Banholzer was an executive vice president, leading venture capital, new business development, and licensing activities, and chief technology officer. He managed a portfolio of research programs with an annual budget of $1.7 billion and set and executed the company’s vision for science and technology. He also served on the board of directors for the Dow Corning Corporation, chairing the Corporate Responsibility Committee, and on Dow AgroScience’s members committee and the Dow Foundation board of directors.
Under Banholzer’s leadership the value of Dow’s innovation pipeline tripled from $10 billion to over $32 billion. In addition, he initiated a $250 million university research collaboration and championed the Dow Safety Academy to help improve university safety, efforts that were recognized with the 2013 Chemical Engineering and ChemInnovations Award. His work to accelerate the company’s technology development has been recognized by R&D Magazine, where Dow was ranked in the top ten for R&D in all industries; a recent Booz Allen study that rated Dow’s innovation portfolio management as “Best in Class”; and Thomson Reuters, which for the third year in a row ranked Dow among the top 100 Innovators.
For his accomplishments Banholzer was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002, and in 2006 he was elected to serve a 3-year term on the NAE Council. He has also received the Industrial Research Institute’s Holland Award for R&D management, the Council of Chemical Research’s Pruitt Award for his innovative approach to research collaborations, the American Chemical Society’s Earl B. Barnes Award, and the AGILE Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Before joining Dow Banholzer had a 22-year career with General Electric Company (GE). At the time of his departure he was vice president of Global Technology at GE Advanced Materials, where he was responsible for worldwide technology and engineering. He joined GE in 1983 as a staff chemical engineer in the company’s Corporate Research and Development Laboratory, where he held several leadership positions before joining the superabrasives business. He was elected a company officer, moved to GE Lighting as vice president of global engineering in 1997, and in 1999 transferred to Advanced Materials business as vice president of global technology. During his GE career he was honored with the company’s Bronze, Silver, and Gold Patent Awards; GE Superabrasives’ Leadership Award; GE Plastics’ CEO Six Sigma Award; and election to the Whitney Gallery of Technical Achievers.
In addition to membership in the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Banholzer is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, holds 16 US patents, has over 85 publications (with 2,300 citations and an h-index of 27), and has presented numerous invited lectures around the world.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Marquette University and master’s and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.