Business of Science Lecture features Charles River Exec Stephen Durham

Science integrated in business a cornerstone to innovative interdisciplinary lecture series

3/10/2014 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
Stephen Durham Dr. Stephen Durham, corporate senior vice president of the $1.13 billion global medical research company, Charles River Laboratories, is the first speaker in the Business of Science Lecture Series Tuesday, March 11.

To help students follow a path to success, College of Science Dean Jeff Thompson has created a new lecture series, "The Business of Science Lecture Series," to show students and faculty how science students have gone on to be successful in the business world.

The first speaker in the Business of Science series, Tuesday, March 11, is Stephen K. Durham, corporate senior vice president of the $1.13 billion global medical research company, Charles River Laboratories. He travels the globe through this work, although he is based in Reno. Durham's successful career in both the world of science and business provides a prime example of what is possible for enterprising science students in today's business climate.

Durham has been corporate senior vice president of Global Preclinical Services at Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. since 2010 and served as their corporate vice president since July 2009. He has a veterinarian degree from Texas A&M University and a doctorate from Cornell University.

After decades of business success Durham's philosophy centers on how typical university-based scientific training often misses the mark in preparing future scientists to achieve success beyond the laboratory. He encourages the development of more entrepreneurial learning experiences for students.

"Scientists are highly trained, intellectual individuals that typically think in a linear fashion," he said.

In his talk he will provide personal insights as to strategies to employ to meet the work place challenges in order to be successful in industry, which Thompson hopes each speaker in the series will address.

The idea that the discipline of science can and should be integrated in business is one of the cornerstones to this innovative interdisciplinary lecture series.

"Most of the students who graduate from the College of Science work in the for-profit world," Dean Jeff Thompson said. "We do a great job of training them in academia, for academia, but we need to emphasize how to succeed in the business world."

Thompson points out many examples of College of Science alumni who have navigated the business world's waters: in 1972, Dan Kappes started Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, an international extractive metallurgical processes company founded and based in Reno; Gene McClelland turned his chemistry and metallurgical engineering degrees into a thriving business, McClellend labs based in Sparks, Nev.,; Bill Honjas and Satish Pullammanappallil founded the seismic data processing software company Optim in 1997 and have expanded it into a successful geothermal exploration company; and Alan Krause is president and CEO of the company that is building the massive new Panama Canal.

Thompson has continually been inspired to see the connection between the disciplines of business and science play out in the corporate world. He wants today's science students to fully understand the possible career interplay a foundation in science can provide in the world of business.

The lecture is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Free parking for the event will be on the fifth floor of the Whalen Parking Garage. For more information on the "Business of Science" Lecture Series call 775-784-4591 or visit www.unr.edu/science.


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