Matrix New World Engineering (Matrix) announced that Dr. Laurie LaPat-Polasko, Vice President and National Director of Remediation, was selected as the Gold Award recipient and named the Woman of the Year — Technology in the 15th Annual Stevie® Awards. More than 1,500 nominations from organizations and individuals in 33 nations were submitted to the awards this year.
An international competition produced by the creators of the prestigious International Business Awards® and American Business Awards®. The Stevie is widely considered to be the world’s premier business award. With more than 500 businesswomen and their guests in attendance, the awards were announced at a gala dinner at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Nations represented at the event included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, U.S.A., United Kingdom, and Vietnam, among others. The presentations were broadcast worldwide.
“It is absolutely thrilling to win GOLD in this competition. I applaud all the other finalists and wish them continued success. This type of recognition is extremely humbling and gratifying,” stated LaPat-Polasko.
LaPat-Polasko was unable to attend the event when a New York area snowstorm caused the cancellation of her flight from Chicago to New York. LaPat-Polasko’s daughter was able to attend and accept the award on her behalf. “My mother has inspired me and shown me how incredible the world, microbes and engineering can be,” said daughter Alex. ‘It is why I am following in her footsteps. Engineering is hard, and it is because it is hard that I want to do it. This award represents all of her hard work and is one more way in which that hard work is validated.”
LaPat-Polasko is an environmental trailblazer, developing innovative solutions to address water and soil contamination issues worldwide. In addition to her environmental work, Laurie also served as the Chief Science Officer for an energy start-up company, where she led the first full-scale bioconversion of coal to produce natural gas. She promotes a creative team approach to problem solving, and connects with peers to solve complex environmental disasters, including her former employer Jacques Cousteau who helped address pollution issues in the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s rare to find someone who admits to loving bacteria or fungi, and maybe just as difficult to believe that these microbes, some of the smallest animals on earth, can have a huge impact on cleaning the environment. Yet, ask Dr. Laurie LaPat-Polasko how she feels, and she enthusiastically responds, “They are my heroes!” Laurie searches the world, discovering and using microbes to biodegrade harmful contaminants in groundwater, surface water, and soil. After isolating a bacterium that now bears her name, the microbe Pseudomonas LP, which biodegrades methylene chloride, a probable human carcinogen in groundwater, Laurie developed a passion for identifying and developing innovative ways to clean our planet.
Combining her knowledge of biology, environmental engineering, and microbiology, she develops and designs an innovative “bioremediation” approach to clean contaminated sites, creating a green, cost-effective method to degrade diverse contaminants, such as chlorinated solvents, explosives, fuel compounds, and emerging contaminants.
In the early 1980s, Laurie was one of 10 people selected into the Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows program sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which led to her affiliation with KTEH Public Television in San Jose, CA. It was there she spent time producing documentaries on the science of communication by interviewing scientists that studied dolphins at Marine World Africa USA and sea lions at California State University Hayward. From this vantage point, she was able to observe and understand why communication skills are so critical to how we interconnect with each other. Laurie earned her B.S. Biology, Chatham U., an Engineers and Masters in Environmental Engineering, Stanford U., and a Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Maryland.
Matrix has enjoyed many award recognitions such as the Inc. 5000 (2014), ‘Business of the Year’ (2010) and one of ‘New Jerseys Finest Companies’ 2004. To speak with Matrix, please contact Amy Delman, Amy Delman Public Relations, LLC, 201.563.4614 or [email protected]