GUELPH, Ontario—When Wasif Khan worked as part of the former DuPont Dow joint venture for automotive applications, he partnered with Rick Valeriote on several projects, including converting a four-inch fuel gasket to a fluoroelastomer.
"Rick did some really innovative designs, and he was fast and sharp," said Khan, now the global market development manager for Chemroy Canada Inc. "He would prototype really quickly, and it was just a thrill to work with him."
Others in the industry had similar experiences with Valeriote, and they were among the reasons he was named Rubber & Plastics News' 2017 Executive of the Year.
Though the original design was made from DuPont Dow Elastomer's Viton fluoroelastomer, Valeriote challenged the idea by coming up with an overmolding concept using nylon as a carrier. The processing was difficult, but the cost-savings on the product was incredible, Khan said.
The exchange was an example of just how involved and innovative Valeriote could be in the industry, Khan said.
"He's extremely technical," Khan said. "He gets hands-on, which very few presidents and CEOs get involved to that degree. He really knows his basics and also how it's going to perform in an injection molder or compression molder or transfer molder."