David D. Cornell, PE

David Cornell

Title: Recognition Program Administrator
Company: Association of Plastic Recyclers
Location: Kingsport, Tennessee, United States

David D. Cornell, PE, Recognition Program Administrator at Association of Plastic Recyclers, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in plastics engineering.

Mr. Cornell is a professional engineer with more than 50 years of expertise in plastics technologies and recycling, chemical engineering, and electrochemistry. After discovering his passion for chemistry as a teenager, Mr. Cornell built a metallurgic furnace in his backyard and conducted a broad range of experiments with metals before finding his niche in the emerging field of plastics engineering. He attended the University of Delaware, graduating in 1969 with Bachelor of Science degrees in both chemical engineering and mathematics, and began working for General Electric Company as a materials properties and applications engineer while pursuing postgraduate coursework. Mr. Cornell completed a Master of Science in materials science at the University of Cincinnati in 1971 and left General Electric shortly after to accept a career-defining position with the Eastman Kodak Company. From 1973 until his departure in 2000, Mr. Cornell held a variety of management, development and research engineering roles working with plastics recycling and technology projects, including the initial commercialization of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Building on his experience with Eastman Kodak Company, Mr. Cornell acted as the technical director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers from 2000 until 2013, and has worked as a major advocate and technical advisor for the plastics recycling industry. Former posts have included serving as Director, Vice President and head of a plastics stewardship consultancy for SBA-CCI Inc., and principal of DD Cornell Associates. He remains a principal partner and managing member of IRU LLC, and has been a technical consultant for the Association of Plastic Recyclers in Washington, D.C., since 2013. Mr. Cornell holds 16 United States patents, has contributed to the SETAC “Technical Framework for Life-Cycle Assessment,” and acted as a peer reviewer for seven major studies. He is extensively published, with work including “Recycling Polyesters by Chemical Depolymerization,” and “Modern Polyesters: Chemistry and Technology of Polyesters and Copolyesters,” 2003. In recognition of his impact on modern plastics technology, Mr. Cornell was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2018, and he remains active in the Society of Plastics Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Testing and Materials, among many others. He encourages others to think critically about the relationship between the environment and consumption and looks forward to enjoying woodworking and serving as a volunteer naturalist in his retirement.

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