“With the GCI Advisory Board, we have a whole bunch of amazing experts who actually listen to each other. There’s real power in that.”~Dr. Chris Hewitt
In this newsletter issue, we feature Dr. Chris Hewitt, Senior Manager Public Funding at BASF, Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Board Member.
With over 35 years of experience in commercial management, Research and Development (R&D), marketing and technology development, Chris leads BASF’s engagement with internal and external stakeholders in North America to support publicly funded partnerships for technology development, translation and investment, largely in pursuit of BASF’s commitments to achieving a net zero carbon footprint. He earned a PhD in chemistry from Durham University in the United Kingdom and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Can you explain what you do?
My job is to support and enable conversations to bring those in government, our partners, and my colleagues in research and manufacturing together, so that we can collaborate on making the best investments between our company, the federal government, our customers, and often universities like the University of Michigan. Together we can develop and implement new technologies, usually targeted around areas associated with sustainability, particularly carbon footprint reduction.
Could you describe your career journey?
I did a PhD in chemistry and always wanted to use science to solve problems and grow business as a result of solving those problems. I had roles in sales and procurement, supply chain management, quality management, marketing, and setting up new business. My work brought me to the US, where I was granted a great opportunity to grow into larger roles and ended up with global responsibility for a bunch of functions, the core being marketing and R&D. I left my original company, joined BASF, ran a chemistry technology producing chemical reagents serving pharmaceutical and agricultural active molecules, and then moved into collaboration management. I spent quite a few years leading engagement with universities, national labs, and research collaborations in North America.
A little under a year ago, I stepped into this role, with the recognition that some of the challenges that we’re facing really are national and global. If we think about the stakeholders involved in solving those challenges, historically, it’s been companies and universities. Now it’s really this triple helix approach where federal and state governments are also involved in those conversations as stakeholders, both in terms of investment and outcomes. My role is to make more of these conversations and collaborations happen and support the outcomes we all need through public funding of supported projects and investments.
I love what I do. I’ve been really privileged to work with so many smart, talented people–within the companies I’ve worked for, the partners that we’ve had, and the federal government. I spend all day every day working with people who are smarter than me, which is a great inspiration and challenge.