In 2016, Crystal Leach accepted the newly created position of Director of Industry Collaborations at the University of Georgia. She works with faculty and administration to build industry partnerships that align with UGA’s research capabilities and strategic priorities. Crystal is actively engaged in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at UGA, including serving as a business mentor for the University’s recently awarded NSF Innovation Corps program.
Crystal earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering from The University of Akron, then she went on to earn her doctorate in textiles and polymer science at Clemson University. She spent 18 years in R&D at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 health and hygiene company. As a Research Director there, she managed the innovation and technology development portfolios for both the Health Care and Professional sectors. During this time, she led teams of engineers and scientists that were responsible for bringing over 25 medical products to market globally.
Crystal holds six U.S. and European patents, has presented at numerous conferences, and in 2005, was named The University of Akron’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Society for Biomaterials and the Southeastern Medical Device Association. In 2018, she was elected as a fellow to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.