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Sidhu promoted to Executive Director


Sukh Sidhu

UDRI’s new ED brings leadership skills, experience at all organizational levels

By Pamela Gregg, Communication Administrator, 937-229-3268

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s new executive director, Sukh Sidhu, joined UDRI in the fall of 1992 as a postdoctoral researcher—the “lowest of the low” among research positions, he said. But the fact that he has grown his career through the ranks to executive director is a testament to the entrepreneurial climate UDRI provides its employees, Sidhu added, and it’s an environment he’s intent on preserving, even as the Research Institute continues to grow in size, research scope and location.

"UDRI has always fostered employee development by allowing employees to pursue the work that fits their talents and that interests them. It’s a unique business model that has proven highly successful for our employees and our organization, which is based entirely on sponsored research programs,” Sidhu said.

Since its formation at the University of Dayton in 1956, the Research Institute has grown from $1 million in annual revenue to $170 million in 2020, and from a handful of researchers on campus to 730 professional researchers, technicians and administrative staff in Dayton and at Wright-Patterson, Eglin (Florida) and Robins (Georgia) Air Force bases.

“Regardless of how much we grow, it’s important to recognize that our people are our most important asset. If we treat them fairly, treat them with respect, and provide the opportunities and support necessary for them to advance their careers, then we’ve set the framework for our success as an organization.”

As a researcher, Sidhu was promoted to distinguished research scientist, group leader and division head, keeping his focus on developing technologies to reduce pollution created during energy generation, reduce energy consumption, and advance green energy technologies. He simultaneously taught undergraduate and graduate courses in these same areas in UD’s School of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences.

Sidhu was promoted to Director of Business Development in 2016 and in 2019 to Director of Research and Development, where he was responsible for leading and growing sponsored programs in addition to developing new business. During his career at UDRI, Sidhu led successful proposals with ceilings totaling more than $800 million.

“Early on Sukh demonstrated a knack for developing mutually beneficial partnerships with other talented researchers to pursue and successfully execute increasingly larger programs, which led to progressively greater responsibilities,” said John Leland, vice president for research at UD.

“As a director, Sukh has done an outstanding job of pulling together multi-divisional teams whose experts in various technologies have allowed us to pursue significantly larger and more complex programs and in new areas of business. I’m confident we’ll see an increasing number of collaborative programs and new technology growth under his direction.”

Leland also said Sidhu’s leadership strengths and experience were key factors in his selection to serve as executive director. “I can’t imagine anyone better qualified to lead an organization than someone who has worked at every level within it.”

Sidhu is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the Combustion Institute and the Sigma Xi Research Society. He holds a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago.

May 18, 2021


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