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Eastman executive Robert J. Clemens to lecture at UVa-Wise on Oct. 5

Robert J. Clemens, vice president of corporate technology at Eastman Chemical Company, will deliver a lecture entitled “Want Jobs? Make Something! Manufacturing and the U.S. Economy” at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 1 p.m. on Oct. 5 in the Science Center lecture hall. The lecture is a cultural credit activity.


During the 20th century, hard-working Americans built the strongest economy in the history of the world based upon a strong manufacturing sector that was supported by a culture and government that encouraged growth, Clemens will point out in the lecture. More recently, manufacturing has been deemphasized as “the new economy” develops, which Clemens says may be a significant contributor to the current economic malaise.


Clemens will compare the relationships between the manufacturing sector and the general economy during the 1920s and the 1960s and he will compare and contrast it with today. He will suggest that a strong manufacturing sector creates wealth and drives innovation, which is vitally important to our country’s welfare and security.

Clemens received his B.S. in Chemistry from Ursinus College in 1977, worked two years in technical services for a polymer company, and then completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Princeton University.  He joined the Exploratory Organic Research Laboratory of Eastman Kodak, at their Tennessee Eastman Division, in 1982.


He has held a series of assignments in technology, including Research Manager, Europe, and Director, Chemical and Biochemicals Research. Interspersed with these technical positions has been a series of business assignments including Business Manager, Resin Intermediates, and Director, Growth Initiatives, where he worked on new business development.  Dr. Clemens was named Vice-President, Technology, Chemicals & Fibers Business Group in 2005 and assumed his current position in 2008. 


Clemens is a past president of the Paint Research Association (UK), a former Board member of the Tennessee Biotechnology Association, and serves on several civic advisory boards. He is married and the father of two grown sons, is an avid golfer, and builds stained glass windows in his spare time. 


For more information, contact College Relations at 276-376-1027.