Dr. Tracy Albers is the President and CTO of Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing LLC, (rp+m) a technology company focused on the production applications of additive manufacturing in the aerospace, automotive, energy and consumer markets.
Dr. Albers oversees the development and execution of rp+m’s sustainable growth strategies, which focuses on new and unique innovations in the additive manufacturing of metals, semi-metals, ceramics and polymers.
Dr. Albers has nearly a decade of experience in the manufacturing industry as Director of Research and Development for a $1.5B global materials company. During that time, Tracy directed R&D and commercialization efforts for two business units, the first focused on new materials for the carbon fiber composites industry and the second focused on advanced materials for energy storage applications.
Dr. Albers also led multiple initiatives that were strategically partnered with multiple National Laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Labs, where she served on the Board of Directors for the lab’s former Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium. She has also worked with multiple technology-based non-profit organizations, including local academic institutions. Dr. Albers received her PhD degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and two BS degrees in Chemistry and Exercise Physiology from Baldwin-Wallace College.
Dr. Albers was recently recognized as a leader for women in manufacturing, receiving a STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute in February 2013. In 2015, Dr. Albers was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in their series “Who to Watch: Manufacturing”.
Nora Toure: Tracy, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
Tracy L. Albers: When I left my last job as Director of Research and Development for a large materials company, I was looking for an opportunity to utilize not only my technical skills, but also an opportunity to gain business leadership experience.
I’ve always been interested in the crux of product development turning into sustainable business, and my entrance into the 3D printing world over two years ago has satisfied that need. In my current role, I am able to exercise my technical leadership skills as well as lead the overall business, which has been really exciting for me.
From an educational standpoint, I have a PhD in physical chemistry and a BS in chemistry and exercise physiology – admittedly an odd combination. As a college student, I really wanted to go into sports medicine or physical therapy. A summer internship in the field quickly had me rethinking that career and reconsidering pursuit of an additional degree in the hard sciences. As a PhD student, I thought I wanted to be a professor – until I ended up with a few semesters with heavy teaching loads, and then realized that this too, was probably not for me, at least at that stage. Thankfully, I started my career working for a manufacturing company and it was a great fit. I haven’t looked back since!
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