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Antonio Liberatore, BEng '98

Surface innovation with deep impact

It’s easy to assume that the splashiest of today’s innovations – think electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, genetic modification – are the most significant. But lower-profile technologies often result in innovations that touch human health, the environment, poverty and economic development.

It’s a reality that Antonio Liberatore, a 1998 materials engineering grad, knows well.

He was originally attracted to materials engineering because of the number of industries affected by the performance of materials.

Liberatore is now CEO of Whertec Inc., a Florida-based company focused on using materials science to improve surface protection in a practical and “in the field" application manner.

“The problems Whertec solves are truly global,” he says. “The surface coatings and metal claddings we provide allow power plants to run longer in Indonesia, refineries in Italy to save fuel costs, pumps to run more efficiently in India, and pulp and paper mills in the United States to increase their productivity.”

Altering surface material properties can achieve tremendous gains in performance and improve equipment efficiency and reliability, he adds.

Over the last two decades, Liberatore has travelled to more than 25 countries, learning about surface protection practices, and finding ways to further innovate surface coatings.

“Over my career, I've had the opportunity to invent new coatings designed for extreme industrial applications, globally commercialize new coatings, and build a service business that specializes in the installation of these surface materials,” he says. 

His advice to students seeking career success is to “show up every day, do your job and teach yourself the business.”

“Don't rest on your laurels – innovate and be creative at what you do.  Don't fall into the trap of just grinding it out everyday, but learn how to enjoy your job, while maintaining a work life balance.”

 

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