Principal Research Chemist, Eastman Chemical Co.
Dr. Damon R. Billodeaux was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1977. He spent most of his childhood in Beaumont, Texas and moved back to Baton Rouge at the age of 12. Damon graduated from Scotlandville Magnet High School in 1996 and decided to become a tiger at Louisiana State University. He encountered a turning point very early in his undergraduate career, “I started as a computer science major and after about 2 weeks decided I didn’t want to spend my life ‘coding.’ The training I received from Dr Fronczek and the classes in inorganic chemistry I took from Dr George Stanley and Dr Andy Maverick are what led me down the path to graduate school and organometallic chemistry.” He was the recipient of an LSU Alumni Scholarship from 1996-2000.
Damon appreciated the high quality instruction he received as an undergraduate in the Department of Chemistry. He had the opportunity to work with Dr Frank Fronczek in the X-ray crystallography lab, an experience he truly enjoyed. Damon graduated with his BS degree in Chemistry in 2000 and joined the Inorganic Division at Texas A&M for graduate school. He received a Robert A. Welch Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship from Texas A&M. His research interests include homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, oxidation and hydrogenation processes, and catalyst development. He completed his PhD in 2005.
Damon is currently a Principal Research Chemist for Eastman Chemical Company at their manufacturing and research facility in Longview, TX. His daily schedule consists of supporting the production areas when chemistry problems arise. He is also responsible for managing a portfolio of projects that are designed to deliver breakthrough process innovations for the company’s products. When asked if there is anything he would do differently in his career to date, Damon answered, “not really.”
As far as advice to current chemistry majors, Damon said, “Take advantage of opportunities to do research and work in the lab. Seeing your class work put in action is a great experience and really helps you determine the areas of chemistry that you are most interested in. Consider participating in a summer REU program.”