February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, kicking off National Women Inventors Month in the United States.
Founded in 2015 and implemented by UNESCO in collaboration institutions and civil society partners, the day is an opportunity to promote equal and full access to and participation in science for girls and women.
WIN@JM, Johns Manville’s diversity and inclusion employee resource group focused on supporting women in the workplace, is celebrating the day – and the month – by recognizing the two dozen women at JM who hold patents.
“As women we tend to nurture even smallest ideas and pay attention to subtle difference which otherwise tend to be overlooked,” says Urna Lester, a research scientist at Johns Manville Technical Center in Littleton, Colorado, who holds a whopping 18 patents. “If you are passionate and patient, everything is possible.”
Lester has made a number of inventions that have been particularly impactful for JM, including a Formaldehyde free, bio-based fiberglass binder, an alpha binder with 95% bio-based carbon content). This binder was awarded the Green Chemistry award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently, she has a patent pending on her 18th invention.
Zeb Sukle, director of innovation and commercialization, says it is “an exciting time to be a woman in the science and engineering fields.”
She holds an impressive 11 patents for inventions related to roofing membrane adhesive, magnetic roof attachment and sheet roofing with pre-taped seams, among others.
“Today’s patents help secure tomorrow’s opportunities,” Sukle said. “I am proud of all the patents that I do have because they are ways for us to continue to make Johns Manville relevant in the market space now and in the future.”