Women Behind the Science
Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) develops and delivers the paints, coatings and specialty materials that its customers have trusted for more than 135 years. Through dedication and creativity, PPG solves customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. PPG serves customers in the construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets PPG’s aerospace business manufactures sealants, paints, and aerospace transparencies, most commonly used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket aviation customers.While the company itself has grown to cater to a wide variety of industry demands, the real excitement lies behind the scenes, in the creative brainstorming and collaborative efforts that jump-start the development of such crucial products.
PPG’s Sylmar, California, location focuses on the development of aerospace transparencies – commercial, military, and general aviation aircraft windows are this branch’s specialty. Christina is the Global Materials Technology Manager, and while her role allows her to oversee the manufacturing process from beginning to end, there is much about the process that lies in the details.
-Fatima Emami is a Research and Development Engineer, whose Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering gives her the opportunity to play a crucial role in the innovative process leading up to the actual manufacturing of aerospace transparencies.
“There are a lot of brainstorming sessions involved, especially towards the beginning,” Fatima explains. “It’s also important for us to get customer feedback and anticipate customer needs as much as possible.”
After exhaustive tests, fine tuning, and stakeholder meetings, the final transparency comes to fruition. Needless to say, the company is concerned significantly with the development of a product that is both reliable and appealing to their target demographic.
Barbara Flocchini is a Segment Manager with a prominent background in both Chemical Engineering and Business Administration, which works to her advantage as she fits into the puzzle that is the creation and marketing of aerospace transparencies. In many ways, Barbara enjoys the fun side of science, and a large part of her success at PPG comes as a side effect of her mindset that “the theoretical aspect of an experiment is just as fun as the physical fruition of it all”.
Christina, Fatima, and Barbara make up the dream team behind transparencies made with PPG Solaron Blue Protection™ UV+ blocking technology, a concept for protecting against UV lights and visible blue light. The entire project was a collaborative effort, with Fatima credited as one of the biggest players in the race to bring their concept to life. While PPG Solaron Blue Protection™ UV+ blocking technology is a recently completed project, the three have shared their excitement over the potential benefits of such a concept hitting the industry in the near future.
All three women share the same passion and determination to lead PPG into a future of exciting advancement, and their shared ambition manifests itself in different, promising ways.
Christina shares her hope of reaching an upper management position, while simultaneously working to balance her personal development with the needs of the corporation. After being lucky enough to immerse herself in the world of science and math early on, she encourages industry hopefuls and STEM-lovers alike to “find opportunities that are fun for you”, and to remember that “people with different skills can still succeed in various fields”.
Fatima envisions herself leading technology development and bringing innovation to the field, and feels that she thrives in an environment where she can teach and help guide others. She emphasizes the importance of “focusing on what gives you joy”, and she has a special message in particular for girls looking to get into STEM majors: “don’t set the standard too high for yourselves, and don’t be afraid to shine!”
Barbara’s goals are centered around both professional and personal development; she’s focusing on how to gain the skills and experience necessary to lead the company’s strategic initiatives. Like Fatima and Christina, Barbara’s overarching goal is to aid in the advancement of PPG as a company in general, and she’s working to make it easier for future generations of employees and industry hopefuls to pursue their dreams of making it in such a rigorous field. “If you’re not offered a seat at the table, grab a seat anyway,” is her advice to those who may feel hesitant when it comes to reaching their own goals. “You have a lot to bring to the table.”
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