Dr. Jamil Baghdachi is a professor at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Engineers with more than 30 years of experience in the coatings industry. His expertise and research interests include coating formulation, smart coatings nanotechnology and adhesion, corrosion, plastics, durability and performance assessment, and much more. We asked him several questions, and he was gracious enough to share his thoughts and insight.
What does it mean to you to have been the Joseph J. Mattiello Lecturer at this year’s CoatingsTech Conference?
It has been a great honor to have been recognized as Joseph J. Mattiello Lecturer after working with ACA and previous organizations for the past quarter of a century. Recognition by the selection committee members, whom are highly accomplished technical professionals themselves, reflects ACA’s commitment to excellence. There is no award higher than the opportunity to serve and being a proud member of this organization.
What are the rewards and challenges of being a professor?
The most tangible and visible reward is being able to contribute to success of others—whether student, colleague, industry, or organization. As a professor, I have been active both at the university and in the industry. The most valuable reward at the university level is to see my students secure a deserving career and position in the industry and in life. Problem solving in the industry is quite rewarding as it has provided me an opportunity to expand applied knowledge and personal satisfaction. The challenges have always been compartmentalizing distinct responsibilities and priorities, not as much technical issues.
What were some of the highlights from your time in Singapore?
I travel to Southeast Asia frequently. This was an industry client visit. It involved discussing challenges, opportunities, providing product development guidance, and problem solving.
If you had to cite only one, what do you think is the greatest opportunity ahead for the coatings industry?
To be innovative; consider failure as one of the intended products.
When you are not teaching classes, hosting major seminars, and mentoring students, what do you do in your “down time”?
I hardly have downtime; if I do, then gardening—both in summer and winter. And traveling around the globe is what I [like to] do.