UMass Amherst and College of Engineering Alumnus Barry Bahram Siadat was the recipient of a University of Massachusetts Distinguished Achievement Award at the university’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 9, in McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Dr. Siadat earned his M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1979 from UMass Amherst. He is the co-founder, president and managing director of SK Capital Partners. His career as a scientist, business leader, and investor comprises senior leadership in both privately held and major public corporations. Dr. Siadat is author of over 25 scientific publications and over 20 patents.
As a dedicated supporter of UMass Amherst, Dr. Siadat and his wife Afsaneh Siadat established the Early Career Faculty Development Award in the UMass Chemical Engineering Department in 2012. They are also creating a high-profile professorship in the Chemical Engineering Department. In 2012 Dr. Siadat was selected by the College of Engineering to receive its Outstanding Senior Alumni Award.
Professionally, Dr. Siadat is chairman of the board of Ascend Performance Materials, as well as chairman of Aristech Acrylics, Addivant corporation, Archroma, and Calabrian Corporation - all components of SK Capital's $8-billion portfolio of chemical businesses. Dr. Siadat also serves on the boards of Mount Sinai Medical Center, TPC Group, and IBA Molecular.
Prior to founding SK Capital partners in 2007, Dr. Siadat co-founded Arsenal Capital Partners in January of 2001. In that capacity, he built a $1-billion portfolio of chemical and related businesses and served as the chairman of the board of Rutherford Chemicals, Reilly Industries, Sermatech International, and Velsicol Chemical Corporation.
Prior to Arsenal, Dr. Siadat held senior management positions at AlliedSignal/Honeywell International, a $24-billion aerospace and chemicals company, serving as corporate vice president and Chief Growth Officer, vice president of technology and engineering, and president of Honeywell's Avient Technologies subsidiary. Prior to AlliedSignal, Dr. Siadat was vice president of corporate technology at W.R. Grace, a $7.5-billion specialty chemicals and healthcare company.
Dr. Siadat has also proven himself to be a dedicated friend and benefactor of the College of Engineering. In 2012 Dr. Siadat and his wife created the Barry and Afsaneh Siadat Early Career Faculty Development Award in Chemical Engineering at UMass Amherst. The couple pledged $150,000 over a five-year period to establish the award for supporting the research program of an untenured faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department. The Siadat Award provides critical early support for a junior faculty member who demonstrates promise in establishing a nationally visible, externally funded, research program.
Dr. Shelly Peyton was chosen as the first Barry and Afsaneh Siadat Early Career Development Faculty Fellow. Among other research projects, she engineers authentic replicas of brain, lung, bone, liver, and other organs from synthetic polymers in her lab and uses these “tissue mimics” to test her new theory for the deadly problem of why breast-cancer cells metastasize to certain organs. Then she studies how to block cancer cells from spreading in this way.
“As an alumnus of the UMass Chemical Engineering Department, I am gratified by the level of talent and the quality of the work of the early career faculty in the department,” said Dr. Siadat when he and his wife established their award. “Afsaneh and I are hopeful that the establishment of the Siadat award would further accelerate the success of this talented group of faculty members.”
For his many accomplishments, Dr. Siadat was presented with the 2012 College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Alumni Award. Recipients of this award have brought recognition and honor to the College of Engineering through their professional achievements, leadership, and service to the profession, university, and society.
Dr. Siadat and Afsaneh Siadat have joined with John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst and the College of Engineering to establish a prestigious professorship to be named the Armstrong/Siadat Endowed Professorship in Materials Science. The purpose of the fund will be to appoint an endowed professorship in the area of Materials Science in the Department of Chemical Engineering within the College of Engineering. (May 2014)