Alumni Spotlight: Mark Banash

Mark A. Banash—Making the Possible Profitable

By Chip Cassano |   November 2010

Mark Banash , Alumnus

Every day, it seems, the worlds of science and science  fiction draw closer together.  But for every innovation that makes its way into our daily  lives, a dozen others vanish into the daunting divide between the  research laboratory and the assembly line, between the realm of  the possible and the realm of the profitable.  Enter Mark A. Banash.

With a PhD in physical chemistry from  Princeton University and an MBA from UMUC, Mark knows  both sides of that divide. And, as vice president of engineering for  Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., his job now is to help bridge that  divide for a company that’s poised to move to the forefront of one  of the 21st century’s most exciting industries.

Currently, Nanocomp can make a carbon nanotube that’s about one  millimeter long, or roughly as long as a dime is thick.  So what, you ask? Well, to start, that’s about 1,000 times  longer than other manufacturers can produce.

"We just issued a press release announcing that we can produce  a three-by-six-foot sheet of material that’s made out of pure  carbon nanotube," said Mark. "No one else in the world can do  that. As  you might imagine, we already have some very interested companies  in the aerospace industry, but that’s just the beginning."

As it happens, much of that work is going to end up on  Mark’s plate, because Nanocomp isn’t a big factory—yet.  "That’s why Nanocomp hired me," said Mark. "They said,  'We’ve got expansion plans over the next five years.'"

As director of production and  quality of nanomaterials for Zyvex Corp., one of the world’s  first nanotechnology companies, Mark managed the company’s manufacturing operations, including the design and  construction of its pilot plants. As a senior scientist at Millennium  Chemicals, he worked on product development and  manufacturing, helping to incorporate the company’s pigment  products into different polymer matrices. And, for the past  several years, he has served as an adjunct professor in UMUC’s  MBA program, teaching AMBA 604 Technology and Operations  Management.

“I’ll admit that one of the reasons I agreed to teach AMBA  604 was because I wanted to absolutely learn it," said Mark, "and there’s no better way to do that than to teach it to someone  else."

This story has been edited for the Web. The complete article can be read in the latest edition of Achiever, UMUC's alumni magazine.