The Innovator of the Year Award, one of R&D Magazine’s top individual awards, is presented each year to an individual or team who has demonstrated leadership, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and success in the pursuit of science and technology. Prior recipients of this Award, which has been presented for the last 13 years, have made significant advances in biotechnology, computer science, chemistry and aerospace.
This year, the editors are pleased to announce the selection of Andrew J. Ouderkirk of 3M Company as the 2013 R&D Magazine Innovator of the Year.
A corporate scientist in 3M’s Electronics Markets and Materials division, Ouderkirk has, in his 28-year career with 3M, demonstrated skills in leadership and innovation for inventing advanced optical films, developing practical and advanced manufacturing processes and having a deep understanding of the marketplace for 3M’s products. A chemist who gained early experience in laser and optics technology, Ouderkirk is known for identifying both established and unarticulated markets for new electronics and optics products developed at 3M, and he is well-known for leading the technology and process development for 3M’s Multilayer Optical Film platform, which has been adopted by the mobile computing and television industries as a key component of their products. The program resulted in several firsts, including the most reflective film ever developed. The technology aids brightness, reflectivity of incident light and operational efficiency.
In addition, he has formed and led the 3M team anticipating the LCD industry shift to light-emitting diode (LED) backlights, which opened major new markets for 3M. He also formed and led the team responsible for the first commercial pico projector. Ouderkirk’s ability to pursue materials development in parallel with new manufacturing processes for these and many other 3M technologies has been noted by the editors of R&D Magazine as a key reason for his 2013 selection as Innovator of the Year.
Ouderkirk is one of the top 25 scientists at 3M Company, which has been named in recent years as one of the most innovative companies in the world. He has 163 U.S. granted patents and more than 150 co-inventors. In addition, he has published more than 40 articles in peer reviewed journals and general press. He obtained his bachelor of science degree from Northern Illinois Univ. and his doctorate in physical chemistry from Northwestern Univ.