Advocating Women in Engineering Award
Tracy L. Young
For driving innovation and breakthrough technology; for advocacy of women engineers on a global scale; and for being a strategic, intentional champion of diversity and inclusion.
Tracy L. Young is a global research and development (R&D) director for the Construction Chemicals business at Dow Inc. and a member of the Industrial Intermediates and Infrastructure division leadership team. She is responsible for leading innovation and product development to grow a billion-dollar business by advancing new chemistry and material science solutions for the building and infrastructure sector. As a global leader for WALOCEL™ cellulose ethers for the construction industry, Young’s team developed and launched breakthrough new chemistry in 2020, receiving IChemE and R&D 100 awards finalist recognition. In 2019, her team launched a high-performance PRIMAL™ acrylic-urethane adhesive binder for elastomeric roof coatings and received the Business Intelligence Group (BIG) Sustainability Award.
Prior to this role, Young was core R&D program director for the Consumer and Infrastructure Solutions division, leading research to advance executive-level customer partnerships and innovation across 10 business units. Previously, she was growth technologies R&D director for Dow’s Water and Process Solutions business, leading research and driving new product launches, including breakthrough reverse osmosis membranes to receive the R&D 100 Award. In 2011, she led the build and startup of Dow’s Global Water Technology Pilot Research Center in Spain.
Throughout her career, Young has advanced diversity and inclusion (D&I), particularly for women, across Dow, the engineering community, universities, and industry associations. An active mentor and role model, she led a grassroots effort to advance women’s hiring, retention, and career development later adopted across Dow’s global technology workforce. She instituted engineering controls specifying female diversity in the division, leading to the adoption of the new policy across all of Dow’s 35,700 employees. Young also sponsored “stay interviews,” focused on exploring career aspirations and work/life balance priorities to survey employee satisfaction and address the retention of women.
Young’s success can be seen in the numbers: The attrition of women and underrepresented minorities at Dow has decreased 50% in three years; participation in employee resource groups that foster diversity has increased from 20% to 80%; and employment of women has increased from 26% to 29%.
She is actively engaged with Dow’s Women’s Innovation Network, Growing R&D Opportunities for Women, and Sponsor to Success mentorship programs. In 2019, she was a Dow keynote speaker at the Ernst & Young POWER Up Forum to advance the empowerment and development of women. A SWE member, Young has been an active mentor and networking contact, attending the SWE-sponsored Smith College-Dartmouth Executive Leadership for Women training in 2016.
Young is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has served in high-level leadership positions with the International Society for Water Solutions, the Institute for Sustainability, and the International Congress on Sustainability Science and Engineering. She is a member of the National Association of Women in Construction, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and past industrial advisory board member at the University of Arizona Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center. Young has been a sponsor for engineering recruiting at Michigan State University for more than a decade.
She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. The mother of two college-aged children pursuing engineering degrees, Young enjoys international travel, boating, photography, and spending time with family.