William & Mary

Starnes becomes first academic to win Vinyl Industry award

  • Honored by industry:
    Honored by industry:  William H. Starnes, the Gottwald Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at William & Mary, is the first academic to receive the the Roy T. Gottesman Leadership Award for his contribution to the vinyl industry.  Photo by Jessica Pierson
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The Vinyl Institute honored William H. Starnes with the Roy T. Gottesman Leadership Award at the vinyl industry annual meeting recently in Washington, D.C.

Starnes is the first academic to receive this award, which was established in honor of the Vinyl Institute’s founding director and recognizes outstanding service to the vinyl industry during a person’s career.

Currently Gottwald Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at William & Mary, Starnes is among the world’s leading academic experts in the chemistry of vinyl plastics. His areas of expertise include the degradation, stabilization, molecular microstructures, polymerization mechanisms, fire retardance and smoke suppression of technologically important synthetic polymers — especially PVC.

“It was an honor having Bill and his wife, Sofia, join us at our annual vinyl industry conference. Over the course of his career, he has made so many invaluable contributions to the vinyl industry,” said Richard Doyle, president and CEO of the Vinyl Institute. “Recognizing him as the 2016 Roy T. Gottesman Leadership award honoree was our way of thanking him for his work and dedication to our industry.”

Of the many contributions Starnes has made to the vinyl industry, he is known for inventing the ester thiol stabilization technology for PVC, which eliminates the need for stabilizers containing metals; the technology has been licensed for commercialization in the US and overseas.

He also invented the reductive dechlorination method for determining the molecular microstructures of PVC and other chlorinated polymers — a method that remains the standard approach throughout the world.

Over the course of his career, his research has been supported by 22 governmental and private agencies. His research has led to some 530 publications, patents and presentations that have included guest lectures in 19 countries on five continents.

Starnes has served on scientific committees or in alternative administrative capacities for many national and international meetings and he has consulted for 47 private and governmental organizations, both domestically and abroad. He has organized and taught several intensive short courses on chlorinated polymers in North America and overseas and was a distinguished visiting professor for the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Beijing Institute of Technology.

The Vinyl Institute, founded in 1982, is a U.S. trade association representing the leading manufacturers of vinyl and related chemicals.