together. We had to come up with something
new for that. We’re working on carbon fiber,
which would make a vehicle dramatically
lighter and save a lot of energy.
Four Questions For…:
Dr. Vicki Barbur, Senior Vice
President and Chief Technical
Officer, Concurrent Technologies
Dr. Barbur is responsible for setting the
vision and strategic direction of CTC’s
scientific and technical capabilities. Her
efforts focus on building and directing the
company’s technical capabilities, overseeing
research and development activities and
maintaining a sound plan of technical
organization. Barbur also leads the execution
of technology strategy for technology
offerings, partnerships and external
relationships, as well as providing visible
leadership for CTC within the technical
community. Her presentation discussed a
“different” approach to innovation through
targeted efforts and well-defined thrusts to
manage company expectations alongside a
pipeline of delivered value over time.
Q: How can the industry make new
technology more accessible?
A: Industry has to look at technology. One
of the challenges is always the cost of new
things as they arrive on the market. Looking
at how we can manage those introductory
cost positions is very important to ensuring
we have technology widely available at that
It’s also a case of not thinking about
failures. Sometimes, it’s important to fail
fast because if you try to wait until it is
absolutely perfect, it is going to take a long,
long time. I always encourage my teams
to move out, take that risk, get ideas and
opportunities out there, and then get the
feedback from customers to ensure you are
actually meeting their needs in the end.
Q: What are one or two key R&D elements
for growing a company?
A: In terms of R&D, I think it’s important
to never think about things being impossible.
I encourage my teams to always think about
the possibilities and to have that experience of
everything is possible given time and money.
I think also it’s having the right people
on the bus, having the right attitude, the
enthusiasm, and willingness to try things.
That is really important to growing R&D in
Q: Innovation is a buzzword, but it has
different definitions and can be overused.
How does CTC engage appropriately in
A: Innovation is one of those words that
means all things to all people these days. I
am not necessarily a big proponent of open
innovation. I believe in innovation within
guardrails and knowing who your clientbase
is. At the end of the day, if you don’t have
landing zones for the opportunities, if you
don’t have the marketing channels or the
brand positioning, that idea is going to fail.
It’s bringing together technologies, new and
old, to deliver unique solutions to problems.
That’s my definition of innovation.
Q: What technology has the potential to be
the most disruptive in the next five years?
As we go forward, one of the things that
is definitely making a big impact is the fact
that we have always been able to capture a
great deal of data, but how do we crunch
that data and interrogate it? How do we
deal with structured and unstructured data?
We need to look at big data architecture
framework and how we build the predictive
analytics because that is what is actually
changing data into information so we can
ultimately make decisions.
Four Questions For…:
Dr. Rakesh Govind, President,
PRD Tech, Inc. and Professor of
Chemical Engineering at the
University of Cincinnati
Dr. Govind is the co-founder of PRD
Tech, Inc., located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
PRD Tech specializes in designing, building
and installing full-scale bio-treatment
systems. Govind obtained his MS and
PhD from Carnegie-Mellon University
and joined Mellon Institute as Director of
the Industrial Control and Process Safety
Center. He worked at Polaroid Corporation
as Senior Scientist in Boston before joining
the faculty in the Department of Chemical
Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
Govind’s research interests include biological
treatment, membrane systems and organometallic, high-surface-area adsorbents.
Q: What impact does climate change have
on wastewater treatment?
A: Climate change is going to have a
big impact. It is going to result in global
warming, as the temperatures go up, there
is going to be a need for more water in
agricultural use. A lot of municipal water is
used for agriculture, so it has to be purified.
There are going to be a lot of impacts.
Climate change will also impact food supply,
wastewater impact and some of applications
we don’t even recognize today.
When you really sum it up, climate change
is going to be the single most important
factor in the quality and treatment of water.
Q: What role do new, advanced sensors
and communication capabilities play in
A: The sensors are going to have a
tremendous impact. Right now, we can
“In terms of R&D, I think it’s
important to never think about
things being impossible.”