CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio–Walter Waddell, a veteran of more than 35 years in the tire and rubber industry, has been selected to receive the Harold Herzlich Distinguished Technology Achievement Medal.
Waddell will receive the honor Sept. 11 during a virtual ceremony that is part of the International Tire Exhibition & Conference, which is organized by Rubber & Plastics News. As part of the program, Waddell also will give a technical presentation based on his research.
The medal is given in honor of Harold Herzlich, who had a long career in the tire industry at Armstrong and Pirelli. He then was longtime technical editor of RPN and was conference program chair for ITEC.
The Herzlich Medal winner is chosen by an independent panel of judges representing a variety of aspects in the tire industry. It is intended to recognize "those innovators, who through persistence and dedication, have advanced a paradigm shift in tire manufacturing, tire reliability or performance."
Waddell's industry career began as an associate professor of chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1983-90. He then was a section head in research at Goodyear from 1983-90; a senior scientist for silica research and development at PPG Industries from 1990-96; and a senior research associate in specialty Polymers Technology at ExxonMobil Chemical from 1996-2015.
After retiring from ExxonMobil, he was a senior technology coordinator for Cheng Shin Rubber Industrial Co. Ltd. from 2015-18. He currently serves as a consultant for Oriental Silicas Corp. and Smithers; is an adjunct professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology; and has been conference co-chair for ITEC since 2015.
"In reinforcing silica technology, butyl polymer applications and tire aging, he is recognized as a worldwide expert," Syed Mowdood, retired from Pirelli, said in nominating Waddell for the Herzlich Medal. "I need to emphasize that many of Walter's efforts cannot be discussed in any detail since they were proprietary. Thus, his very significant contributions during his 37 years of industrial service, cannot include many presentations or projects for individual tire companies."
Mowdood said Waddell's accomplishments specific to the tire industry include tire aging and protection; tire air retention and its impact on durability; rolling resistance and vehicle fuel economy; and many others.
"Walter's unique strength is using state-of-the-science characterization techniques along with physical/mechanical tests to elucidate mechanisms of material interactions to optimize tire performance," Mowdood said. "He is one of the best in designing interesting experiments to answer specific important questions."
Herzlich said whenever Waddell approached a problem, he adhered strictly to scientific methods. "He always wanted proof," Herzlich said. "He wouldn't take second-hand information. He came out with work you could trust. When Walter said something, I tended to believe him. He stuck with the scientific method and was not just a salesman to sell a product."
During his career, Waddell has been awarded 37 patents and granted five trade secrets; has authored 157 publications; delivered more than 173 papers at scientific conferences and other venues; and given more than 1,000 seminars to the global tire industry.
He was active in a number of organizations, including the ACS Rubber Division, where he is a past chair; ASTM International; and the International Rubber Conference.
Waddell also has received numerous awards during his career from both companies and organizations. Among those are the Sparks-Thomas Young Investigator, Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology and Distinguished Service awards from the Rubber Division; the Award of Appreciation from ASTM International Committee F09 on Tires; and the International Rubber Conference Medal.