Heidelberg announces speakers for 2013-14 lecture series

May 15, 2013

An auto industry researcher whose concern is creating and implementing sustainable solutions and the founder, former CEO and president of Cheryl & Co., the gourmet dessert and gift retailer, will be the keynote speakers during Heidelberg University’s 2013-14 Patricia Adams Lecture Series, the university has announced.

On Oct. 3, Heidelberg will welcome Dr. Deborah Mielewski, technical leader of the Plastics Research Group at Ford Motor Co.’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich. Mielewski has been with Ford for more than 25 years, having worked in automotive paints, polymer processing and materials development.

Mielewski initiated the biomaterials program in 2001, and her all-women team was the first to demonstrate soy-based foam that met all the requirements for automotive seating. Today, every Ford vehicle and more than 75 percent of the headrests in North American autos feature bio-based foam. Her group continues to pioneer the development of sustainable plastic materials that meet stringent automotive requirements. She is passionate about the work she does to improve Ford’s environmental footprint.

The author of more than 30 refereed journal publications and 10 U.S. patents, Mielewski received her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.

The second-semester speaker, who will be at Heidelberg on April 10, is Cheryl Krueger, who founded the multi-million-dollar gourmet cookie and gift company in 1985. When she sold the business to 1-800-FLOWERS.COM in 2005, Krueger had grown the operation into a $34 million corporation.

In 2009, she founded KRUEGER+CO. Consulting Inc. and serves as its CEO. The firm’s primary focus is to help companies develop creative marketing and sales strategies as well as evaluate product development pipelines, operations, logistics and financial performance. Additionally, she has served on the Bob Evans Farm Board of directors since 1993. In 1999, she was named the top female entrepreneur of the year by Working Women Magazine. She served as the Foundation Board Past President of the Arthur James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University, and also serves on the OSU Foundation Board.

Krueger graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in business and home economics, and has lectured in numerous university classes.

The Patricia Adams Lecture Series, entering its fourth year in the fall, was created by The John and Patricia Adams Foundation to bring to campus exceptional female leaders from a broad spectrum of personal and professional backgrounds.

Through the series, Heidelberg students are exposed to outstanding female executives who have had a significant impact in their careers and communities. Each of the guests has opportunities to interact with students in formal and informal settings, and their visit culminates in a keynote address. While the lecture series emanates from the Heidelberg School of Business, it touches every discipline and has expanded to include prospective students and the broader local community.