Articles

    Kristine S. Salmen

    October, 2005:

    In her own words, Kris Salmen is an environmental chemist who is "passionate about implementing strategies for a sustainable planet, including green buildings, products, and technologies." She considers her forte to be the ability to solve problems and think on her feet. Her development of new technologies for pollution control has generated $80 million dollars in sales and 20 US patents. She is accredited by the US Green Building Council as a LEED(r) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professional. Kris' business, Salmen Consulting, is located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

    Kris began her studies at the newly formed Governors State University in the early '70s. Since GSU did not offer a degree in chemistry at that time, Kris took all the chemistry courses that she could. She earned both a B.A. and M.A. in Interdisciplinary Science and Environmental Technology. Little did she know that this focus would be the great differentiator in her life-long career path. Kris then taught chemistry and coordinated the Air and Water Technology Program for a short time at Prairie State College.

    Seeking a different type of challenge, Kris took a position at Arco Petroleum Products. She began her industrial career in Exploratory Research, developing technologies to reduce sulfur emissions during coal combustion and catalytic cracking of petroleum. She then transferred to Process Development, where she was one of only two chemists working with a group of engineers. She developed a new skill set working in the field, rather than primarily in the laboratory. She continued to develop new catalysts to reduce SOx emissions to meet more stringent regulations, and participated in full-scale tests at Arco's California and Pennsylvania refineries.

    After a major reorganization at Arco, Kris went to work for the Nalco Company. During the next 16 years, Kris developed chemicals and technologies for both industrial and municipal wastewater treatment. As the population grows larger and demand for consumer goods increases, we face water shortages throughout the nation and the world. At the same time, wastewater regulations are more stringent. We have exceeded the capacity of specialty chemicals to clean water, and new technologies are needed. Kris worked on membrane technology and micro-filters for wastewater treatment. She also managed an R & D group for several years with hiring, training and budget responsibilities.

    Currently, Kris divides her time between her consulting business and a not-for-profit environmental education organization. As a consultant, Kris helps companies improve their environmental management systems and facilitate product acceptance in "green" marketplaces. According to Kris, sustainable practices in manufacturing and building design/construction can make it profitable to do the right thing for the environment, for people, and for business. Kris also develops and presents teacher workshops on green buildings, green chemistry, and water for SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She teaches graduate level education courses in watersheds and solid waste offered through Aurora University. She has helped both the Museum of Science & Industry and the Chicago Symphony study their environmental footprints.

    Kris advises anyone interested in the fields of chemistry, engineering, and architecture to study sustainable design. We are living in a time when it is imperative to re-engineer and re-think our design practices. Kris Salmen is one chemist who is excited to be working in the field of green initiative. She welcomes any inquiries at ksalmen@aol.com; 630-674-8036.

     

    — Written by Mary Newberg