JPS Luncheon: Miles P. Drake, “Sustainability-Driven Innovation: A Mandate for Cross-Industry Partnership”

Miles P. Drake

Miles P. Drake

The March 13, 2014, installment of the Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) lecture series featured a keynote address by Miles P. Drake, senior vice president, research and development, and chief technology officer, Weyerhaeuser Company (retired). Drake presented “Sustainability-Driven Innovation: A Mandate for Cross-Industry Partnership.” 


There is increasing need for innovation partnerships between the forest-products and chemical industries to create the sustainable supply chains of the future. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050  lays out clearly the imperative for innovation in the provision of food, water, materials, and, of course, energy to enable a world where 9 billion people can live well and within the means of the planet. The journey to a sustainable world is a categorical imperative and is increasingly going to be the driver of innovation across every supply chain.

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About the speaker

Miles P. Drake recently retired from Weyerhaeuser, where he was senior vice president, research and development, and chief technology officer from October 2006 to September 2013. He oversaw the transformation of the R&D capability as the company strategy evolved and the company navigated the dramatic downturn. Before joining Weyerhaeuser, Drake was with Air Products and Chemicals, where he served as vice president, research and development, and chief technology officer from 2001 to 2006. Drake joined Air Products in 1986 as a European technology manager based in London and held numerous other leadership positions. He began his career at STL, a global materials and telecommunications laboratory that is part of ITT, where he worked on materials for electrical components.

In 2004−2005 Drake served as chairman of the Industrial Research Institute, an organization of 200 global companies focused on enhancing the effectiveness of technological innovation. He received the AIChE Management Division Award in 2008 and the Holland Award from Research-Technology Management in 2006. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a chartered chemist.

Drake holds a Ph.D. from Bristol University School of Surface Chemistry and a B.A. in natural science from Cambridge University. He now spends time with his family, including five grandchildren, and engages in consulting in the fields of renewable materials.

Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture

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