A Partnership in the Making: Polymer College Welcomes Delegation from Malaysia


Mr. Redza Rafiq (CEO of NCIA)

October 2nd was not just another Monday at The University of Akron. UA hosted a delegation of six representatives from Malaysia, all of whom are part of the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA). The NCIA is an organization dedicated to facilitating socio-economic growth in Malaysia, and now they are tasked with building what will be called “The Rubber City” on a 1,254-acre plot of land near the border of Malaysia and Thailand.

While the project was in its planning stages in 2016, the NCIA had sent another group to Akron to consult with local businesses and professionals at the university. Now, the project has progressed to the point where they hope to begin construction as soon as 2018, and bring in businesses and programs in 2019. This year’s visit will allow UA and NCIA to explore the possibility of partnership both on this project and in the future.

Fostering relationships like these, especially internationally, is extremely important to the growth and development of the industry both here at home and worldwide. And with the aim to support rubber business, where better to visit than Akron?

Dr. Wan Rahaman (NCIA)

And so on Monday morning CPSPE’s Director of Outreach Dr. Paula Watt, accompanied by Jim Currie, Manager for Testing and Training at Akron Polymer Technology Services, greeted the six Malaysian representatives at the Goodyear Polymer Center. The delegation was comprised of Mr. Rafiq, CEO of NCIA and the leader of the previous delegation in 2016, Mr. Zainal, NCIA Council Member and advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia regarding NCIA matters, Miss Najwa, assistant to Mr. Rafiq, and NCIA members Rahaman, Loo, and Hasan.

Dr. Watt gave a short welcome speech and a few short presentations were delivered by Ed Miller, who spoke about The Rubber Division, ACS, and Sam DeShazior, who provided a brief overview of the city of Akron and its history in rubber. Dr. Watt provided background information about the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, while Sue Dollinger spoke about The University of Akron and its relationship with the local rubber industry over time.

The NCIA presented their project to UA officials, explaining development plans for 2018 as well as what relationships they may be interested in developing as they proceed with the project. After a short presentation by Dr. Sadhan Jana, the delegation received a tour of CPSPE’s top of the line facilities, including the National Polymer Innovation Center and Akron Polymer Training Center.

Our renowned programs attract many international students, which is part of why CPSPE loves connecting with educators and industry professionals from around the world. But these relationships aren’t only important to our college. Partnerships like these foster growth in our local industry, in our city, and in programs like ours in nations around the world. Thanks to all the people involved who made this visit possible.