W. Karl Olander – SESHA Fellow and 2008 SESHA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Karl’s role at ATMI was that of a springboard and a key leader of initial operations for new business ventures and to launch new products. He was tasked with conceptualizing new products and processes, while determining technical feasibility and market potential. Karl’s interests spanned a number of areas including: abatement, reclaim/recycle, energy/exhaust reduction, gas purification and the safe storage and delivery of hazardous materials.
Karl received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of South Florida, Tampa, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He began his career as a research chemist for General Electric’s Corporate Research and Development Center. In 1975, he became a senior research chemist for GE’s Noryl Products Division, and Manager of Process Chemistry for their Lexan Products Division in 1978.
Before co-founding ATMI in 1986, Karl was Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Lord Corporation’s Chemical Products Division, responsible for their North American operations. Prior to that position, he worked with American Cyanamid Co. as Director of Engineered Materials Research, and as Director of PPG Industries Barberton Technical Center where he was in charge of developing new products for PPG’s expansion into specialty chemicals and specialty silica markets.
Karl has been a key developer of new business ventures. Along with co-founder Dr. Glenn Tom, he commercialized ATMI’s first product, the Waferpure gas purifier. In 1991, he was instrumental in creating Novapure Corporation, a joint venture between ATMI and Millipore. As the President of Novapure, he grew the company into a leader in the field of environmental and safety related products for the semiconductor industry. In 1994, Karl rejoined ATMI as President of the NovaSource Business Unit to develop and commercialize the SDS (Safe Delivery System) for hazardous gases. He led the development of the VAC gas packaging technology and presented numerous papers in support of its introduction. For their pioneering efforts with the SDS, Glenn Tom and Karl were awarded SEMI’s Technical Innovation Award for North America in 2002.
Karl has functioned as a Supplier Advisor to Sematech’s ESH F TAB and has regularly participated in and presented at SESHA conferences. Karl holds 45 U.S. patents and has written numerous semiconductor-focused articles.
Karl has been married for 40 years and he and his wife, Zulie, have two grown sons, Mark and Chris. Karl “retired” from ATMI in June 2006.