2018 Engineering Leader Under 40: Kyle Elam, 32

Process Engineer, 3M, Quapaw, OK, United States

By McKenzie Burns, Production Coordinator September 13, 2018

Kyle Elam, 32
Process Engineer
3M, Quapaw, OK, United States
MS Chemical Engineering, University of Oklahoma

Kyle loves being a chemical engineer because it is a perfect combination of creative thinking, science, technology, and math. During his undergrad, he led and assisted projects on microwave-assisted synthesis and siderophores. As a graduate student, he led and assisted projects on biofuels, primarily focused on the production of diesel fuels from natural plant oils. Currently, he works as a 3M Process Engineer, developing, supporting and/or directing projects throughout the 3M Quapaw facility. He also works as an adjunct professor, leading summer STEM-based camps and teaching courses to future operators and engineers. Since graduating in 2012, Kyle has become very involved in his field. In 2015, he passed the chemical engineer FE exam and, in 2016, joined the Compressed Gas Association as the 3M representative. In addition, he was a lead process designer on a large $25 million safety and plant optimization capital project. In 2017, he was given the Pollution Prevention Pays award for LSS, and nominated for both the 3M Process Improvement & Maintenance Conscious Engineering awards. In that same year, Kyle and his wife started a garden that expands over 2,000 sq. ft. In just a year, the garden project is expanding into composting, rain collection, canning, and even raised garden beds. Considered somewhat over-engineered by Kyle, the couple has spreadsheets on planting times versus soil temperature, germination and harvest time windows, and crop rotation plans for spring and fall.

Fun Fact: Kyle enjoys rebuilding classic cars.