Associate Director, Center for Macromolecular Engineering
Kurt Olson is a leading industrial scientist who has contributed to many discoveries in coatings technology. He spent his entire career at the research labs of PPG industries near Pittsburgh, PA. He held various polymer synthesis and research management roles over his 38-year career. He retired from PPG in 2019 as a corporate fellow. He contributed to various technical advances in coatings technology including scratch resistant automotive clearcoats, water borne coatings, and powder coatings. Kurt has also made contributions to such diverse technologies as TiO2 supply chain development, electrodeposition, photoresists, and resin and coating manufacturing. He helped incubate ideas such as battery coatings, additive manufacturing, coatings for pipe infrastructure refurbishment, and various uses for PPG produced graphene. He is an inventor on 68 issued US patents, with 12 patents pending. Awards include two R&D 100 awards, a PACE award, a Carnegie science award, and a Pittsburgh Award. He was elected to PPG’s “collegium” (the highest honor bestowed on PPG technical associates). A native of Pennsylvania, Olson earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Ursinus in Collegeville, PA and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.