2017 Distinguished Alumni: Meet Paul Kayser
Unlike most RIT students, Paul Kayser ’93 (mechanical engineering) first set foot on RIT’s campus not as a prospective student or freshman, but as a toddler in 1973. That was the year his father accepted a position as a photography professor, laying the foundation for Kayser’s RIT connections to grow for years to come.
“I grew up on the campus. My earliest memories of RIT were playing on the playground at the Riverknoll student housing,” said Kayser. “Enrolling as a student was a foregone conclusion.”
A couple months into his freshman year, Kayser further cemented his RIT roots when he met his future wife, Shelly Coddington-Kayser ’91, during a fire drill.
After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Kayser left RIT and embarked on his career, becoming a leader in the packaging industry. In 2005, he founded Nypro Packaging, growing the company to become a global provider of manufactured precision plastic products. He then left Nypro in 2016, when he was named president and chief executive officer of Pretium Packaging, one of North America’s leading manufacturers of plastic containers and closures. RIT was never far from his mind, though.
“RIT taught me how to solve problems. How to take assumptions, build mental models, set objectives and model your way to a solution. I think those are absolutely invaluable skills that I apply to this very day,” he said.
Kayser has continued his RIT connection in more concrete ways, as well. He has created RIT co-op programs and recently began working with RIT’s packaging science department in an effort to bring more innovative products to Pretium.
“I take advantage of the technical expertise, the infrastructure, the systems and capabilities that RIT has,” said Kayser. “Every time I come back to Rochester, I visit the school. I like to stay connected.”
Kayser will be honored as the Kate Gleason College of Engineering 2017 Distinguished Alumnus on Oct. 13 at the Presidents’ Alumni Ball.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession; or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic, or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements.
April 24, 2019
Running in Circles: Engineering students build Human Hamster Wheel
The big wheel will turn, but the hamsters will be humans instead. Students in RIT’s Engineering House built a Human Hamster Wheel, and instead of running in circles, as the cliché goes, their 7-foot wheel will produce electricity. Open to children and adults, the wheel will be one of many interactive exhibits featured at this year’s Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival on April 27.
April 23, 2019
Drones are coming soon to a farm near you
Drones are adding a new level of precision to agriculture, giving farmers digital tools for cultivating better and more profitable crops.
April 23, 2019
Packaging solutions improve product shelf life and sustainability
Images of plastic bags and bottles clogging beaches and oceans have some calling for a ban on all such products. But packaging experts say it’s not that easy to eliminate a highly effective material. Instead, researchers at RIT are looking to strike a balance: Find a way to produce plastics that retain their best qualities and yet are more environmentally friendly.
April 23, 2019
The Story Behind the 2019 TIME 100 Covers
Time features Pari Dukovic ’06 (professional photographic illustration), who shot the covers of the 2019 Time 100 issue.