Returning as a Professor


  • Gary Blau Purdue University
  • Phillip Wankat Purdue University


Industry is replete with numerous successful managers and scientists who would enjoy the opportunity to help educate the next generation of engineers at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The challenge facing university administrators is how to attract and place these individuals in a setting where they can be successful in bringing an industrial perspective to the department, in specific research programs, and in the classroom. This article provides a case study describing the experiences faced by an engineer with extensive industrial experience and an institution in creating an Engineer in Resident Program. The purpose of this article is to help other institutions tap into this important resource and to make suggestions for potential candidates on how to deal with an educational setting that probably has changed significantly since they were students.

Author Biographies

Gary Blau, Purdue University

Gary Blau received his BASc from the University of Waterloo and his MS and PhD from Stanford University, all in chemical engineering. Following a successful career with Dow and DowAgrociences, he joined the faculty at Purdue University as a Visiting Industrial Professor. His research is in risk analysis and decision-making.

Phillip Wankat, Purdue University

Phillip Wankat received his BSChE from Purdue, his PhD from Princeton, and a MSED from Purdue. He is the Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Head of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Purdue University. His research is in separation processes.