Midwest Research Institute Announces Reorganization

KANSAS CITY, MO /PRNewswire/ -- A reorganization of Midwest Research Institute's Research Operations was announced by Michael Helmstetter, PhD, senior vice president and director of research operations at MRI, a leading, not-for-profit research institute that conducts scientific research for government and industry.

"Our reorganization reflects the significant growth that MRI's Research Operations has experienced in recent years and aligns the institute's technical capabilities with business strategies and new programs that will support future growth in our key market areas of national security and defense, life sciences, and energy," Helmstetter said.

Through leadership direction and strategic planning, MRI has generated steady growth over the past several years, with a projected doubling of Research Operations project revenue from $42 million in fiscal year 2002 to $87 million forecast for fiscal year 2007.

"We have focused our efforts on markets and clients where we could recognize sustainable growth while addressing society's greatest science and technology challenges," Helmstetter added.

In the reorganization, MRI will restructure its three current Kansas City technical divisions into five divisions that will be named Midwest Operations. Thomas Sack, Ph.D., is promoted to regional vice president of the Midwest Operations; he was previously director of the Chemical Division. The five new technical divisions are:

  • Chemical Detection Division has expertise in chemical materials and is responsible for projects and programs involved with chemical threat agent analysis. Focus areas include detecting chemicals in the environment, developing analytical methods using mass spectrometry and chromatography, and continued development of chemical demilitarization programs.


  • Life Sciences Division is responsible for research focused on human and animal health and has expertise in biological threats, vaccine development and research, toxicology, proteomics and methods development for pathogen detection, and infectious diseases.


  • Product Sciences Division will focus on research supporting product development, including expertise in agricultural research, product chemistry and analysis, and chemical synthesis. Programs will include plant research, drug/chemical development, seed coatings, and herbicide and pesticide product analysis.


  • Special Programs Division is responsible for and has expertise in developing novel systems for counterterrorism, handling biological and chemical testing in the field, design and development of mobile laboratories, and staffing of field laboratories, as well as designing and conducting comprehensive field tests and studies.


  • Engineering Division is responsible for the design and prototype development for a variety of engineering applications in the defense, life sciences, and energy businesses, including collection devices, triggers, and sensors, as well as associated software development. MRI's Transportation Research Center will continue to report to the Engineering Division.

The promotion of directors for each of the new divisions was also announced. The directors, who will report to Sack, are:

  • Barry Astroff, PhD, is named director of life sciences; he was principal advisor of science in life sciences.


  • Robert Barton, PhD, is named director of engineering; he was deputy director of the Applied Engineering Division.


  • Roger Harris, PhD, is named director of product sciences; he was section manager of the Agriculture Sciences Group.


  • Daniel Kuchynka, PhD, is named director of chemical detection; he was section manager of chemical demilitarization in the Chemical Sciences Division.


  • Gil Radolovich, MS, is named director of special programs; he was principal advisor for chemistry.

Rich Brown is appointed chief advisor for science, a newly created position critical for providing strategic guidance on opportunities in the fast-growing biotech and product chemistry industries. Brown was previously director of the former Life Sciences Division and will report to Sack.

The reorganization also includes the creation of a new Strategic and Emerging Program Development Group in MRI's Research Operations. Roger Starnes, MS, MBA, formerly director of MRI's Applied Engineering Division, has been promoted to group vice president of strategic and emerging program development. Starnes will guide MRI's efforts in the development of large, integrated initiatives, new business areas, regional expansions, and other efforts with a longer-term focus. "This new group will further strengthen our ability to predict, analyze, and shape emerging markets and to pursue broad, integrated programs," Helmstetter said.

John Stanley, PhD, will continue as group vice president of business development for MRI Research Operations with a focus on MRI's existing client base and core business areas and programs. Stanley and Starnes report to Helmstetter.

The personnel appointments are effective immediately, while the reorganization will evolve over the next several months under the direction of the Research Operations leadership team.

MRI Research Operations administrative groups and operations on the East Coast are not affected by this reorganization and will continue to report to Helmstetter.

About Midwest Research Institute
Midwest Research Institute (MRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research institute that has conducted scientific research for government and industry since 1944. Programs span the areas of national/homeland security and defense, life sciences, energy, engineering, and agriculture and food safety. MRI has managed and operated the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the Department of Energy since 1977. Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, MRI has additional laboratories in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. More information is available on the company's Web site.

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