Vikas Mehta
Hometown: Plainsboro, N.J.
Alma Mater: University of Pittsburgh
Age: 31
Hobbies: Avid sports fan and traveler

VikasIt’s no surprise that Vikas Mehta joined the family company in 2006: He grew up there. His parents, Nick and Amy, started Technick Products in 1985 in the garage of their New Jersey home. Nearly 30 years later, it is a growing chemical company in South Plainfield, N.J., that supplies formulated additive solutions to the composites, polymers and coatings industry.

Mehta spent his summers working in Technick Products’ lab alongside his father, a chemist, or performing administrative accounting functions for his mother. “I had great teachers with my parents — my dad from a technical side and my mom from operations,” says Mehta. “I got the best of both worlds.” He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002 with a bachelor of science in business administration.

Upon graduation, Mehta worked at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and became a Certified Public Accountant. “It may sound strange, but I had a passion for accounting,” says Mehta. However, in 2006, Mehta returned to the family business full time. “I was looking for more challenges at work,” he says.

“I liked the direction that Technick Products was headed in.” Mehta handles business and product development. He helped the company develop non-halogenated flame retardants. “We have formulated some unique fire retardant products utilizing nano-technology for the thermoset composites, thermoplastics and coating industries,” he says. “In composites, specifically with pultrusion, SMC, BMC and hand lay-up.”

Mehta, who lives in Jersey City, is engaged to be married in August. He and his fiancé, Roma Patel, enjoy traveling.

Stefan Pastine
Hometown: Highland, Md.
Alma Mater: College of Charleston
Age: 33
Hobby: Soccer

PastineAs a chemist, Stefan Pastine has always been interested in responsive materials — ones that can change from one property to another. He is a recipient of the 2010 R&D 100 Award for a chemical-on-demand technology using microcapsules that release liquid when light shines on them. Pastine developed the technology as an National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley.

Three years ago, Pastine turned his attention to composites. “Thermosetting plastics are not recyclable,” says Pastine, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of Charleston and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University. “I started looking at the problem. How do you re-engineer non-recyclable plastics and make them recyclable?”

Pastine founded ConNora Technologies in San Francisco and spearheaded the development of Recyclamine technology, which fuels a new class of epoxy hardening agents that enable manufacturers to make fully recyclable products. “We have specially-engineered hardener molecules that can be used with any epoxy resin to create an epoxy thermoset,” says Pastine, chief technology officer of ConNora. “The process is easy enough that it should be able to be carried out with specialized equipment by manufacturers on site.”

ConNora is taking slow, deliberate steps to market Recyclamine. While the technology is not yet available in commercial quantities,ConNora is currently demonstrating it to interested companies. Pastine shows how a surfboard made from resins can be recycled and the fiberglass turned into a surfboard fin. “I believe in our mission,” says Pastine. “Recycling can be a valuable source for raw materials.”