Dr. Tom Amidon received the Technology Alliance of Central New York’s 2015 College Technology Educator of the Year award at the TACNY awards banquet on Monday, March 23rd.
Dr. Amidon, a professor in SUNY-ESF’s Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, has made his mark on the paper and bioprocess industries. After graduating from ESF with a doctorate in 1974, he worked for International Paper for 23 years, concluding his service as laboratory manager for the company’s corporate research center in Tuxedo, N.Y. He brought his research skills back to ESF in 2000 as chair of what was then called the Paper Science and Engineering Department.
While chair, Dr. Amidon led the development of a bioprocess engineering curriculum, which received accreditation under the chemical engineering rubric. He also helped develop a SUNY Advanced Certificate in Bioprocessing that has been completed by more than 100 students over the past decade with the majority of them working at Bristol Myers Squibb.
Since stepping down as chair, Dr. Amidon has become co-academic adviser for a SUNY Advanced Certificate in Radiation Curing of coatings, paints, and inks. This technology, which conserves energy and reduces emissions, is rapidly growing in commercial applications.
While at ESF, Dr. Amidon opened up new a research area in paper science, evaluating novel approaches for the disassembly of woody materials with the aim of preserving current profitable uses while making new raw materials available. He worked with the American Forest and Paper Association to develop a new research area called new forest-based materials. He is the U.S. expert in the area, and he has presented to House Science Committee staff and numerous international gatherings.
In New York state, Dr. Amidon has been an advocate for companies to adopt the “biorefinery concept”. He is leading a consortium of New York companies to commercialize green chemistry technology developed by the faculty and students of ESF’s Paper and Bioprocess Engineering program. This technology uses water and membrane systems to create a sugar solution from wood that can be fermented into biofuels, such as ethanol or butanol, or used to create biodegradable plastics and other products.
The Technology Alliance of Central New York was founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse. TACNY’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.