Chemical Industry Medal


History and Purpose: The Chemical Industry Medal, established in 1933, replaced the coveted Grasselli Medal, which had been sponsored by the Grasselli Chemical Company and awarded by SCI America for more than a decade. Presentation of the Chemical Industry Medal is made annually to a recipient who has rendered conspicuous service to chemical industry medalapplied chemistry and is selected by the SCI America Executive Committee.  The Chemical Industry Medal is a testimonial to men and women whose leadership, foresight, and contributions to applied chemistry have been, to a considerable degree, responsible for the growth of that industry. A desire to honor such people, those who have made a personal contribution to the advance of society and economy through technology, is at the core of the America Group’s identity. For over 100 years, leaders of the Group, all of whom operate at the highest ranks of American industry, have been enthusiasts for the excitement of the possibilities that can flow from marrying science with industry. The medal has attained distinction by reason of the outstanding achievements and caliber of those who have been honored The Chemical Industry Medal is conferred at a special banquet held in honor of the winner at New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Throughout the 20th century, and now in the 21st century, these events have been regarded as ‘must attend’ occasions across the spectrum of science-based industry and commerce. The matchless contact-building opportunities provided by such occasions is demonstrated by the caliber of those participants.

2020 Medalist – Christopher D. Pappas

“In serving the chemical industry for more than 40 years in several companies, Chris Pappas embodies leadership and integrity, having built his career around the concepts of respect for people, focus on company culture, and business accountability,” said Craig Rogerson, Chair of SCI America. “During a period where companies have experienced ownership changes through carve-outs, private equity ownership, and IPOs, Chris demonstrated how to confidently steer enterprises through these changes, while also being a visible advocate for our industry.”

Mr. Pappas served as President and CEO of Trinseo from June 2010 through March 2019, playing a central role in the company’s formation in 2010 via spin-off from Dow Chemical, through its ownership by private equity with Bain Capital Partners, to an initial public offering and listing on the NYSE in 2014, followed by further expansion through acquisition and market-driven growth.

In 2018 Institutional Investor magazine ranked Pappas as the #1 CEO among mid-cap publicly traded chemical companies for 2018, based on voting from investors and sell-side research analysts. In 2017 Pappas received the Leadership Award for Outstanding Corporate Reinvention from the American Chemical Society’s New York Section for his visionary leadership, focus on safety and technology, financial discipline, and for Trinseo’s growth, in which the company more than tripled in value between 2014 and 2017.

He was named to the list of “CEOs Who Get It” by the National Safety Council (NSC) and Safety+Health Magazine in 2017.

Pappas started his career at The Dow Chemical Company, where he gathered industry experience in a number of sales and managerial positions between 1978 and 1995. In 1995 he joined DuPont Dow Elastomers LLC where he held several leadership positions, initially as Vice President of Ethylene Elastomers and from 1999 onwards as Commercial Vice President.  He joined NOVA Chemicals Corporation in 2000. At Nova, he assumed roles with increasingly global responsibilities, as Senior Vice President & President, Styrenics (2000-2006), Chief Operating Officer (2006-2008), President and Chief Operating Officer (2008-2009), and finally as President and CEO of NOVA in 2009.

Mr. Pappas is currently a member of the board of directors of Trinseo (NYSE: TSE), FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and Univar, Inc. (NYSE: UNVR), and he is a former member of the board of directors for Methanex Corp., NOVA Chemicals Corporation, and Allegheny Energy, Inc.

He was named to the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2015, and with his wife Susan is the sponsor of the Susan G. and Christopher D. Pappas Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Mr. Pappas holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania.

Past Chemical Industry Medal Award winners
Chemical Industry Medal Award nomination rules
Chemical Industry Medal Award nomination form