John Klier

John Klier

Head, Chemical Engineering Department
University of Massachusetts Amherst
MSChE '86, PhD '89

For his outstanding career achievements — specifically his leadership and contributions to engineering research and development in the chemical industry

Always interested in science, specifically chemistry and biology, John Klier found chemical engineering to be the best combination of the elements he loved, with a "more qualitative framework and practical orientation."

After completing his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Klier wanted to continue his education. He says he chose Purdue based on recommendations from faculty at MIT. "As I dug into it, I found some programs — specifically Professor Peppas' — that very much fit my interests."

As a graduate student at Purdue, Klier took courses with a variety of faculty, but enjoyed most the time spent studying polymer science under his advisor, Nicholas Peppas. "The research work with Peppas is what got me into what I continued on to do," Klier says.

"Having visited Purdue last fall, I found that the whole trajectory of the chemical engineering program is phenomenal. What they've done with the program and the new building — it has grown so much. It is impressive."

When he looks back on his Purdue education, Klier values most the lifetime relationships that he formed.

"The number of colleagues at Purdue who continued over the years to keep in touch has been great," he says. "I've had some strong collaborative research with labs of former classmates. Now I look forward to re-establishing those interactions in my role at UMass."

Klier was recently named the department head of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is looking forward to developing research programs and collaborating with diverse companies.

"We hope to accomplish high-priority hiring of new faculty and build on departmental and university research strengths in polymer/material science, catalysis, modeling and bio-oriented chemical engineering programs with the integrated life science institute," he says.

Before accepting his new role, Klier spent 26 years with The Dow Chemical Company, building and strategically influencing the direction of global research and development programs. He is credited with having strong impact on the personal development of Dow scientists. It is this mentorship that he enjoys the most.

"My favorite part of my previous position at Dow was working with younger researchers to help them achieve their technical, career, and personal objectives," he says. "My favorite part of my current position as the department head of UMass chemical engineering is working with students and younger faculty."

Career Highlights

2015-present Department Head, Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst
2013-2015 Distinguished Fellow, The Dow Chemical Company
2009-2015 Global Research and Development Director, Advanced Materials and Performance Materials Businesses, Dow
2006-2009 Senior Research and Development Director, New Products Laboratory, Dow
2004-2005 Senior Fellow, Corporate New Ventures, Dow
2002-2004 Senior Research Leader and Senior Fellow, Wire and Cable Compounds Business, Dow
1999-2002 Senior Research Leader, Polyolefins and Elastomers, Dow
1994-1998 Research Leader, Corporate Research and Development, Dow
1989-1994 Senior Research Engineer and Project Leader, Corporate Research and Development, Dow
1989 PhD, Purdue University
1986 MSChE, Purdue University
1984 BSChE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology