Gary Hattery brings enthusiasm and ideas to the many projects and endeavors that have been part of his career in advanced materials. He grew up in Middletown, in southwestern Ohio, amidst the steel, paper, and tobacco industries that were thriving at that time. The son of two college-educated parents, he didn’t see his future in the steel mills, as did many of his high school buddies, but rather knew from about the eighth grade that “chemistry sounded neat.”
“Like a lot of youngsters, I had my chemistry set and managed to stink up the house; then I got excommunicated to the garage,” Hattery says with a chuckle. “But it was my high school chemistry teacher, who had worked as a chemist in the steel mills, who took us to see chemistry in action in a blast furnace that helped convince me that chemistry was where I wanted to be.”
Hattery (or “Hat” as he is known), got into advanced materials as a career by first earning a chemistry degree at Purdue University, where he did undergraduate research in nuclear chemistry at Fermi National Lab in Batavia, IL. After completing his undergraduate degree, Gary attended MIT graduate school. At MIT, he chose to focus on a “more practical” side of chemistry which turned out to be practiced in the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT where he saw the exciting potential of emerging technologies being created in the polymer industry. “One of my professors at MIT jumped at the chance to involve me in biomaterials development and I got involved in radiation-induced synthesis methods with electron beam equipment,” says Hattery. “We developed a material without the need for heavy metal catalysts that could be extruded into tubing, and was biocompatible so that it could be used for vein grafts.” After earning his advanced degree, Hattery accepted a job at Battelle in Columbus and moved back to Ohio.
At the time of his retirement from Battelle
, Gary was responsible for the operations and financial success of one of the largest independent materials research groups in the United States. He managed over 100 staff, led operations on the order of $25 MM per year in R&D, and oversaw more than 100,000 square feet of laboratory and office space along with planning, implementing and maintaining a capital asset base of almost $5 MM in equipment.
Over his career, Hattery has been a significant contributor to more than 1,000 projects ranging from deep-sea submersibles to the space shuttle, and from nanomaterials to megaprojects such as materials selections for the Alyeska Pipeline. His technical areas of specialization encompass polymer characterization technologies, assessment of material resistance to extreme environments (e.g., high temperatures, radiation, marine corrosion, and chemical agents) and the application of polymers in products. He has developed methods to predict the service and shelf life of a diverse range of products ranging from composite helicopter blades to insulated electric cable to intravenous fluid administration sets. He has managed projects dealing with every aspect of product development, from synthesis and raw materials specifications for commercial polymers to product assurance/quality assurance for finished goods, such as implantable medical devices used as joint replacements or in catheterization and angioplasty operations. Along the way, he also earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance from The Ohio State University.
After 29 years at Battelle, “I wanted to put chemistry to work to help small companies grow,” says Hattery. “I also wanted to help establish an area of biobased/green industries, which will help re-establish in Ohio, and ultimately in the U.S. an industry that creates chemicals from rapidly renewable resources, because oil is eventually going to run out” he says. Now, Hattery is working with the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center
(OBIC) and PolymerOhio to develop opportunities for Ohio companies “to extend their production potential and profitability, and suggest material options that are more easily recyclable, easier on the environment, and sustainable.”
Currently, Hattery serves as a VP of Programs at PolymerOhio and as Director of Operations at Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus
(Emc2), where he is responsible for program management, financial, and administrative affairs, and leads the technical thrust for the development of materials from renewable resources (biobased materials).
So Hattery’s days are full with a variety of tasks. In addition to managing the financial side of Emc2 and working with many Ohio companies to bring biobased alternatives into their business operations, he is also very involved with many community organizations. He is a past President and continues to sit on the Executive Committee for the Godman Guild Association, a neighborhood settlement house in the Weinland Park area which focuses on education for all ages to promote strong families and a strong community on the Near North Side of Columbus. Additionally, Gary sits on the board of the Northside Community Development Corporation, which is a low income housing corporation. Hattery is also active in the local Multiple Sclerosis Society and Goodwill Industries work. As an Eagle Scout himself, Hattery has also been deeply involved in scouting, and served as the charter organizational representative and chair of the Cub Scout pack at his church for 15 years. And he still takes time for backpacking, golf (including an annual trip with his brother in Utah), basketball, softball, and biking.
He says, “I hope to leave this place a bit better than how I found it,” and with all that he does, Hattery certainly is on track to do that.
Emc2 is a privately-owned, for-profit, high-tech contract research and development, and technical services company. We are experts in broad areas of structural integrity and product safety, such as fracture, fatigue, material constitutive modeling, fitness-for-purpose assessment, structural design, welding analyses and failure analysis. We have highly sophisticated analytical, numerical, and some unique experimental capabilities.