Greater Houston Section

ACS-GHS YCC Virtual Seminar - Developing a New Pasta (the Cascatelli Story) - Essential product development lessons for the chemical industry

  • 29 Sep 2022
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Zoom

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The story of Cascatelli, a new pasta shape, began with an observation something could be improved, that there was an unmet need.  Many pasta shapes don’t hold sauce well.  The surface area to volume ratio is wrong.  Many shapes have poor mouth feel, too thin to resist biting.  Many were hard to pick up with a fork.  Dan Pashman believed there had to be an undiscovered optimum, a better pasta shape.  Cascatelli is the result of his quest to develop and commercialize a new pasta shape and is well documented in a series of audio podcasts, Mission Impastable.


The Cascatelli story isn’t about the chemical industry, but there are many parallels.  The story of Cascatelli describes the common challenges and many of the characters inhabiting most new product development stories.  There are incumbent pastas.  Market incumbents frequently exist in chemicals and materials.  Dan unexpectedly encountered something quite common in the chemical industry, the challenge of scale.  This seminar will tell the Cascatelli story while highlighting useful takeaways for those working in the chemical and materials industries.  


Featured Speakers


 Mark E. Jones, PhD


A love of science and a passion for chemistry propelled a farm kid from Virginia to a satisfying industrial career. Mark Jones retired in March 2021 as Executive External Strategy and Communications Fellow for Dow Chemical, having spent a decade on the CTO’s staff. He retired with responsibility, among other things, for next generation sustainability goals associated with innovation at Dow. 


Mark is a frequent contributor to the American Chemical Society, as previous chair of the Midland Local Section, writing for Industry Matters, hosting webinars, currently serving on the Communications and Public Relations and National Historic Chemical Landmarks committees, and former Corporation Associates member. In 2017, he was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, recognized for his commitment to communicating chemistry. Mark current serves on and is past co-chair of the National Academy’s Chemical Sciences Roundtable. He is a co-author on the recently released National Research Council reports on ARPA-E and “Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States”. Mark also volunteered his services in creating videos for the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment in 2020. Mark was a member of the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, serving on Communications, Regulatory and other committees, and was an active member of the American Chemistry Council’s Biobased Chemistry Network. The White House’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership was a focus from 2013-15, looking both at technology options and improving scale-up of new technologies. He participated in a number of World Economic Forum events, leading discussions around energy and bioproducts. He chaired DOE review panels for the Office of the Biomass Program from 2007-2011 and continues to serve as a reviewer for DOE and other organizations. He supports awards that recognized scientific advancement.  He currently serves on the Edison Awards Steering Committee, served on the R&D 100 Steering Committee, and served or serves as a judge for BIO's Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture, ACS's Heroes of Chemistry, the SCI's Moore medal, the BIG Innovation Award, the R&D 100 Awards and a collection of Dow internal awards.   

Mark is a frequent keynote speaker.  His talks include multiple times at Chemicals America conferences, American Chemical Society national, regional and local meetings, the 2017 SATA conference,  AIChE national and local meetings, multiple R&D 100 conferences, American Association for the Advancement of Science National Meetings, the Edison Universe Meet the Innovators Forum, R&D 100 Conference, REFOCUS, American Center for Life-cycle Assessment, Sustainable Manufacturer, Plastics Recycling, National Academy events, and many universities. 

Mark joined Dow in 1990 following a graduate career that had very little to do with his ultimate career path. He followed a degree from Randolph-Macon College with a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder where he studied gas-phase ion molecule chemistry - not an area of great industrial interest. A post-doc at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science preceded coming to Dow. His early Dow career was spent in Catalysis, in what is now Core R&D. Mark discovered a family of catalysts useful for conversion of ethane directly to vinyl chloride, and other catalysts for both chlorocarbon chemistry and alkane activation. Moves to Performance Plastics, Hydrocarbons, Chemicals, Energy and Licensing R&D, Ventures and New Business Development and the Energy Storage Devices followed. Mark co-directed the Renewable Chemistries Expertise Center (RCEC) for over a decade. Mark touched many areas of technology, including experience in chemical processing, the processing of inorganic


Stephen F. Hahn


Steve Hahn is an experienced chemist, materials scientist, and evaluator of new technology-based business opportunity. He was employed by the Dow Chemical Company for 35 years in a variety of research and new business development roles. Beginning in 2010, Hahn established Dow’s Technology Scouting presence in the North American West Coast Region to identify and evaluate strategically aligned business opportunities. Hahn has a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan Tech and an M.S. in Chemistry from Central Michigan University. He holds 43 U.S. patents, 40 publications in scientific journals, and six chapters in technical reference books. He was Visiting Professor of Chemistry and IPrime Scholar at the University of Minnesota in 2002. Hahn received the American Chemical Society Cooperative Research Award in 2008 and the Council for Chemical Research Collaboration Award in 2010 and represented Dow on Advisory Boards at the University of Connecticut and Michigan Tech. He is a member of the Academy of the College of Sciences and Arts at Michigan Tech and served on the Advisory Board for the Global Social Venturing Competition at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley. He is currently an Expert in the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation, supporting the I-Corps and SBIR/STTR programs.

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