Sandra Thompson, SBN Member of the Month, September 2009
Name: Dr. Sandra P. Thompson
Company: Buchalter Nemer
Address: 18400 Von Karman Ave., Suite 800, Irvine, CA 92612
Years of employment with current company?
Years spent working in the automotive aftermarket?
How did you first begin to work in the automotive aftermarket?
My first introduction to the automotive aftermarket was through my work with biofuels, fuel cell design and battery design. In the process of working with inventors on these technologies in order to protect their patentable inventions, I became intensely interested in the automotive aftermarket, along with component function and design issues. During this time, I started working with a group of inventors who are designing and building electric motors for vintage cars, along with designing kits to convert original internal combustion engines into hybrid engines. I was hooked! Now, I read everything I can get my hands on related to the design and function of cars and motorcycles, along with continuing to work with aftermarket companies in their innovative efforts.
Did you have a mentor in the industry?
If yes, and you’re comfortable sharing, who?
Johnathan Goodwin, www.lincvolt.com
What is the most satisfying aspect about your work?
By far, the most satifying and rewarding part of my work is being around the creative minds in the industry. Inventors are the most creative people on the planet - and it's my job to expand their vision, by suggesting other applications for their inventions, other materials to use and methods of production in conjunction with using my creative spirit to draft their patent applications.
What are your major professional accomplishments, memberships, areas of service?
My PhD work was a significant professional accomplishment, in that it was a "real world" application - how to clean indoor air after the introduction of volatile organic compounds, such as those that come from new carpet, paint or fumes from the loading dock (which is oddly enough - usually right next to the building air intake system). Through this work I also fell in love with green technology and the prospect of completely redesigning the automobile to have size and power, while at the same time reducing or eliminating emissions, developing new fuels and breaking the dependence on fossil fuels. After starting my career as an intellectual property attorney, I continued to be active in leadership with the American Chemical Society - both on national and local levels, Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Society of Women Engineers. I'm a regular contributor to Industrial Biotechnology by addressing issues and discussing patents related to biofuels and biofuel development. I also work with the LARTA Institute, which is an independent, private nonprofit corporation that mentors innovators and small companies, connects them with investors and universities and provides assistance with commercialization issues.
(Optional) Personal information regarding marriage, children, interests:
In my free time, I am training for the 2009 Long Beach Half-Marathon and the 2010 OC Marathon. I am active in the community, including sitting on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Orange County, California. I enjoy spending time with my husband Jock, who is a baseball writer, reading, going to Angels games, reviewing and writing about green technologies, and listening to music.