M. Blair is heading Research & Innovation (R&I) for Composite Materials at Solvay based in the R&I Center-Alpharetta (USA)


What is your professional background?

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah, USA, I started my career at Morton-Thiokol which was the company in charge of conceiving the Space Shuttle Challenger's powder engines. I first ran the Mechanical Properties Laboratory; after a moment, I moved on to research and development. Later on, I worked on a project for a composite tank of compressed natural gas, which was finally patented. When Morton-Thiokol was bought out by ATK, I mainly worked on the commercial and strategic development of composite structures. I left ATK for the presidency of Exelis Aerostructures Division, which finally merged with Albany. After overseeing the merger, I left Albany to join Solvay.


What interests you in  composite materials?

The possibility of modifying the properties according to the needs. For example, if you need a stiffer airplane wing, you can add fiber, but only where it's needed. By contributing to optimization and lightening, composite materials are not only an economic asset, but also an ecological one.


What was your first impression when you joined Solvay?

When I started working for Solvay, I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of brilliant minds among the collaborators of the Group, all of them totally involved in their work. I was also impressed by Solvay's progress in technologies that play a key role in the industrialization of composites.


How do you dream about Solvay's future?

I dream that Solvay will become a vertically integrated composite materials manufacturer, and leader in the markets it serves. I wish the structures for the oil and gas industry, as well as for aerospace and automotive, are mostly composed of our solutions based on composite materials.