Jim Fitterling, president and chief operating officer of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), is presented with the AIChE Foundation’s inaugural Doing a World of Good Medal at the organization’s annual gala in New York. The honor salutes the achievements of an individual who has advanced the societal contributions of engineers. Fitterling is recognized for his dedication to safety in engineering, for his advocacy of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and for his professional and personal commitment to mentorship.
AIChE, the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, initiated its Doing a World of Good Campaign in 2016 as one of the most ambitious fundraising programs in the organization’s history. Through the campaign, AIChE expects to raise $15 million over five years, enabling the organization to direct resources toward five transformative priorities for the chemical engineering profession, including: safety and ethical practices; education, training and career development; attracting and retaining the best and brightest; research and innovation; and changing perceptions.
In his work with AIChE, Fitterling has been instrumental in supporting and promoting the Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initiative, which is educating the next generation of engineers, engineering faculty and industry leaders around the world. The program has trained thousands of students, this year increasing the number of students earning process safety certificates by 28% and developing a state-of-the-art online training modules that supplements engineering texts used at more than 276 universities around the world. To date, more than 300 academics with limited industrial experience have taken part in faculty workshops, better equipping them to teach process safety.
Fitterling has also been a stalwart proponent of diversity and inclusion in the chemical industry. He has been instrumental in Dow’s drive toward LGBT equality, leading by example among senior LGBT and ally executives at Dow and around the world to drive advocacy efforts in support of diversity and inclusion efforts. Fitterling also mentors LGBT employees, sharing his insights and striving to make a personal difference with each colleague. He was instrumental in the company’s appointment of its first-ever chief inclusion officer.
With influence extending well beyond Dow, Fitterling shares his experiences and inspiration with students, young professionals and business leaders at events such as The Economist’s Pride and Prejudice 24-hour global conference, New York’s “Out on the Street,” PIMCO Pride and as keynote speaker at LinkedIn’s gathering of 100 LGBT leaders from a wide range of industries. His efforts on diversity and inclusion have earned him recognition as a Top 100 Leading LGBT+ Executive, ranking third, by The Financial Times.
Fitterling joined Dow in 1984 and is currently a member of Dow’s most senior leadership. He has played a key role in developing and executing Dow’s strategy to invest in a market-driven portfolio of advantaged and technology-enabled businesses that create value for shareholders and customers. He has served in a variety of engineering, commercial and business leadership roles in his career, prior to being named vice chairman and chief operating officer in 2015 and promoted to his current role in February 2016. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, a member of the board of directors of the Chemical Financial Corporation and a member of the board of directors of Sadara Chemical Company. Fitterling earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri - Columbia.
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