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TACNY Names Amidon College Educator of Year

Award honors professor for contributions in technology education

Dr. Thomas Amidon, a professor in the ESF Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, has received the Technology Alliance of Central New York's (TACNY) 2015 College Technology Educator of the Year award.

The award honors an educator who has made outstanding contributions in technology education at the college level in Central New York.

ESF had another link to the TACNY awards through the Save the Rain Harbor Book Wetlands Treatment System project. The college was part of the team that contributed to a stormwater management approach to reduce pollution caused by combined sewer overflows. The project received a technology award.

Amidon earned his doctorate from ESF in 1974 and had a 23-year career with International Paper, ending his career as a laboratory manager for the company's corporate research center in Tuxedo, N.Y. He returned to the college in 2000 as chair of what was then called the Department of Paper Science and Engineering. As chair, he led the development of a bioprocess engineering curriculum and helped develop a SUNY advanced certificate in bioprocessing.

Since stepping down as chair, he has served as academic advisor for a certificate in radiation curing of coatings, paints and inks. He also opened up a new research area in paper science, evaluating novel approaches for the disassembly of woody materials with the aim of preserving current profitable uses while making new raw materials available. He worked with the American Forest and Paper Association to develop a research area called new forest-based materials. He is the U.S. expert in the area and has presented to House Science Committee staff and numerous international gatherings.

In New York state, Amidon has been an advocate for companies to adopt the biorefinery concept. He is leading a consortium of New York companies to commercialize green chemistry technology developed by ESF faculty and students. This technology uses water and membrane systems to create a sugar solution from wood that can be fermented into biofuels, such as ethanol or butanol, or used to create biodegradable plastics and other products.

Amidon received the award during the TACNY awards banquet March 23.