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Cristina Thomas Biography

Dr. Cristina Thomas has more than 30 years of technical and leadership experience in research and development organizations.  She joined 3M in 1992 as a Senior Research Engineer in the Life Sciences Sector laboratory after completing undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics in Venezuela and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1992 from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Prior to 3M, she worked in the Venezuelan oil industry (MARAVEN) and in IBM (New York) performing scientific engineering computations.

Initially, Cristina contributed to 3M new technology and product development projects by applying and leading computational materials modeling and commercializing products for pavement markings, windshield sealants, and window films and attachments (solar control and safety), among others. Later, she had a variety of assignments including Strategy Manager, Laboratory Manager and Commercialization Manager for the Traffic Safety and Security Division, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Technical Black Belt in the former Building Safety Solutions Division and Group Leader of the Materials Modeling Group in the former Advanced Materials Technology Center.

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, she is a Research and Development Director (Global R&D Services Director/R&D Global Process Owner) who manages Global and Corporate Knowledge Discovery and Analytics, Electronic Lab Environments/LIMS, Learning and Collaboration, and the R&D Data & Information Governance Centers of Expertise. She drives the 3M R&D Science Encouragement Programs (STEP, TECH, TWIST, Visiting Wizards) focusing on underrepresented populations. She is a member of 3M's STEM Council Team responsible for prioritizing funding for education and leads 3M’s Government interactions and research contracts including Government University Industry Research Programs.

She has been recognized with the 2019 AIChE Industry Leadership Award for pioneering computational materials modeling in industry to launch innovative products, and for her steadfast support building bridges with national laboratories and academia.  She is also the recipient of the 2019 AICHE Management Division Award for substantial contribution to the management and leadership of engineers involved in the field of chemical engineering.

She has a passion for organizations that move new technologies and new product platforms into markets, for organizational change management and for women in science, including their development and leadership. She lives in Stillwater, Minn., with her husband and three children.

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