cristina thomas

Senior Director, Corporate R&D, 3M; ACS Fellow; AIChE Fellow


Dr. Cristina Thomas has more than 30 years of technical and leadership experience in research and development organizations including in the Venezuelan oil industry, IBM (New York) and 3M (Minnesota). She has undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. She has had a variety of assignments including Global R&D Services Director, R&D Global Process Owner, Strategy Manager, Laboratory Manager, Commercialization Manager, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Technical Black Belt and Group Leader of the Materials Modeling Group. She became an early leader in chemical engineering’s molecular and materials modeling community (AIChE’s CoMSEF Forum) led the reinvention of the 3M window-film product platform, the design and implementation of new product introduction processes and the incorporation of digital technologies in new connected safety platform. She is a coinventor in more than 20 patents. She persistently nurtures high performance to deliver innovative ideas with combinations of 3M core technologies. Today, her team is responsible for knowledge discovery and analytics, global technical learning and collaboration, government R&D contracts, recruitment and global R&D processes. She received the 2019 AIChE Industry Leadership Award, the 2019 AICHE Management Division Award, and is an ACS fellow and an ACS PMSE fellow. She has a passion for organizations that move new technologies into markets, for institutions that focus on education of underrepresented students and women in science and engineering. She leads 3M Science Encouragement Programs and is a member of the 3M STEM Council, of the 3M Social Justice Work Stream team, of the AIChE Corporate Council & Industry Leader's and the Government University Industry Research Roundtable sponsored by National Academy of Science. She lives in Stillwater, Minn., with her husband and three children.