Author: Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Profiles in Innovation: Incyte

Profiles in Innovation – An Ongoing Series Highlighting Delaware Innovators


In this series, Delaware leaders noted for innovation share insights on innovation.

Incyte the Delaware-based global biopharma leader has experienced significant growth and expansion over the last two decades in their work to discover, develop and deliver breakthrough medicines for cancer, inflammatory and autoimmunity diseases. President, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board Hervé Hoppenot shares what makes Delaware the ideal place for innovation. He also reflects on the importance of resilience, tenacity and collaboration, especially when it comes to creating a dynamic environment that breeds innovations.

1. Why is Delaware a great state to be an innovator?

HH: At Incyte, we are happy to call Delaware home. Our roots go back to 2002 when we were founded by a small group of scientists who believed Delaware was the right place for drug discovery and development. Over the last two decades, we have received significant support from local leaders, which has helped facilitate our continued growth and expansion in the region, including a new state-of-the-art research facility that was opened this year. As the community in Delaware meaningfully embraces our work, we continue to innovate and are discovering and developing new medicines for patients right here in Wilmington. We are also driven to give back to this community that has given so much to us, and we are proud to have recently announced a five-year extension of the Incyte Cancer Care Assistance Fund for Delaware, which has provided financial assistance for Delaware cancer patients, their caregivers and family members since its inception in 2018.

2. In your view, what qualities should a successful innovator have?

HH: We believe the most powerful innovation comes from resiliency, tenacity and collaboration around a shared purpose. At Incyte, we exist to find meaningful, new solutions for patients around the world living with serious unmet medical needs. Everyone here – the Executive Team, scientists and administrators – all play a role in advancing our ability to find new solutions that can positively affect these patients’ lives. Beyond this, we believe successful innovation requires the sharing of ideas. As our President, Chairman and CEO, Hervé Hoppenot, says, “Innovation happens when people mix.” Our exceptional team of biologists and chemists work side-by-side in our labs each day and are just steps away from colleagues who help ensure our medicines get to patients who need them. This dynamic environment allows our employees to listen to and engage with one another, which helps us all breed innovation.

3. What advice would you give innovators just starting?

HH: Innovators must realize that challenges will come – there will be bad days and setbacks. However, breakthroughs take time and require patience. It is important to always keep the end goal in mind – approaching each day with resiliency and tenacity while seeking to make the world a better place. Additionally, innovators must surround themselves with inspiration and whatever tools are needed to achieve their goals. Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. At Incyte, we try to provide the environment innovators need to succeed. Oftentimes, it requires working cohesively with others toward a common goal.

Hervé Hoppenot, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer


Hervé Hoppenot joined Incyte in 2014 as President and Chief Executive Officer and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2015.

During Mr. Hoppenot’s tenure, the company has tripled the number of clinical candidates in its portfolio, expanding beyond Oncology to include research and development in Inflammation & Autoimmunity. Under his leadership, revenue has increased by nearly 600%. With a goal to deliver medicines to patients worldwide, Incyte has expanded geographically and has operations in North America, Europe and Asia.

Prior to joining Incyte, Mr. Hoppenot was the President of Novartis Oncology. Prior to joining Novartis in 2003, Mr. Hoppenot started his career in 1983 with Rhone Poulenc, later known as Aventis, where he served in several senior roles of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Oncology and Head of the U.S. Oncology business unit. Mr. Hoppenot holds a diploma from ESSEC Business School.

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semiconductor manufacturing delaware dupont

DuPont Expanding in Newark, Delaware

DuPont Chooses Delaware for Expansion of Semiconductor Materials Production


WILMINGTON, Del. (August 22, 2022) – DuPont Semiconductor Technologies, a business unit of DuPont Electronics & Industrial, and a leading producer of specialty materials used in the production of semiconductors, has chosen Glasgow, Delaware, for a $50 million expansion in response to growing industry demand.

Following an extensive site search throughout Northern Delaware and Maryland, DuPont Electronics & Industrial decided to expand its Semiconductor Technologies manufacturing operations into a new 385,000-square-foot facility near its existing Newark, Delaware, location. The new semiconductor manufacturing facility is planned to become the primary work site for more than 70 existing workers and create about 10 new positions in Delaware.

“The DuPont Company has been part of Delaware’s DNA for 220 years. With this expansion of their semiconductor division, the company is showing their commitment to our state and workforce,” said Governor John Carney. “This site will bring with it a new 385,000-square-foot facility and 10 new jobs close to its existing Newark campus at a time when semiconductors are needed more than ever. Thank you to DuPont Electronics & Industrial for continuing to make Delaware a part of the DuPont story.”

DuPont and its innovative technologies have played a key role in Delaware’s economy for over 220 years. Today, DuPont is a premier multi-industrial leader with technology-based materials and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life.

DuPont Semiconductor Manufacturing Ready to Serve  Growing Demand

DuPont Semiconductor Technologies delivers enabling materials for semiconductor fabrication, packaging and assembly. In Delaware, the Semiconductor Technologies team manufactures key materials used in chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), an essential step in modern semiconductor fabrication processes.

Semiconductors are vital parts of the technologies people depend upon daily around the world. Demand for semiconductor chips continues to grow, driven by global trends such as surges in data storage, 5G and other wireless communications, and automotive electronics. Increased reliance on digital technologies for online collaboration and cloud computing also highlight how critical semiconductor chips are to the global economy.

Poised for a decade of growth, the semiconductor industry is projected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030. With its latest investment, DuPont will be well positioned to serve customers in this growing industry from its Delaware facilities.

Supporting DuPont Electronics & Industrial’s investment of $50 million in equipment and fit out costs for the new site are a Jobs Performance Grant of $65,550 and a Capital of Expenditure Grant of $1,578,000 from the Delaware Strategic Fund. Distribution of grants from the Delaware Strategic Fund is dependent on the company meeting commitments as outlined to Delaware’s Council on Development Finance, which reviewed and approved the company’s request for up to $1,643,550 in total grant funding.

“DuPont materials for chemical mechanical planarization are an essential part of the semiconductor supply chain, used by customers around the world in highly sensitive semiconductor chip fabrication,” said John Singer, Vice President, Integrated Operations, DuPont Electronics & Industrial. “As we expand to meet industry growth, we’re pleased to have identified a new facility near our existing CMP manufacturing operations in Delaware, where we can continue to have close collaboration with our experienced colleagues in operations, engineering, quality and other interconnected teams.”

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About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership (choosedelaware.com) leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support employers in place marketing Delaware to potential employees via livelovedelaware.com. The DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.

About DuPont Electronics & Industrial

DuPont Electronics & Industrial is a global supplier of new technologies and performance materials serving the semiconductor, circuit board, display, digital and flexographic printing, healthcare, aerospace, industrial and transportation industries. From advanced technology centers worldwide, teams of talented research scientists and application experts work closely with customers, providing solutions, products and technical service to enable next-generation technologies.

About DuPont

DuPont (NYSE: DD) is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, construction, water, healthcare and worker safety. More information about the company, its businesses and solutions can be found at www.dupont.com. Investors can access information included on the Investor Relations section of the website at investors.dupont.com.

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Versogen chooses Delaware

Versogen Chooses Delaware for Expansion

WILMINGTON, Del. – Versogen, an industry-leading green energy startup, has chosen Delaware as the site for a $4.8 million expansion that includes moving its operations from The Innovation Space in Wilmington, Delaware, to larger, upgraded facilities at FMC Stine Research Center in Newark, Delaware.

Versogen targets deep decarbonization of the sectors of our economy that are not possible by green electricity. The startup is focused on anion-exchange membranes (AEMs) and AEM based electrolyzers to produce low-cost green hydrogen at scale. The company’s systems are engineered to make green hydrogen affordable and sustainable – from the materials used in manufacturing through to the costs of operations.

“Delaware has been a hub for innovation for decades. Versogen is the latest success out of Delaware’s Innovation Space and a great example of the collaborative environment we have for economic development in our state,” said Governor John Carney. “We are excited for Versogen’s expansion, bringing new jobs and important technologies to New Castle County.”

Versogen’s investment includes renovating Stine Building 115 and creating additional lab space at the site, which will be fully operational by 2024. The company’s relocation will accommodate its next level of operations, which includes adding forty-nine new jobs over the next three years to the 16 positions currently staffing the company.

“New Castle County is the ideal place for startup companies like Versogen to create innovative green technologies,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We are proud to welcome Versogen and know that it will find the first-rate talent for employees and further growth.”

Officials from FMC agreed.

“At the FMC Stine Research Center, we work hard to change the world for the better,” said Dr. Kathleen Shelton, FMC executive vice president and chief technology officer. “We are excited to welcome Versogen and applaud them for developing industry-leading green energy technologies. We appreciate Delaware Prosperity Partnership for the continued collaboration and actively building a strong entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in the State of Delaware.”

Versogen officials presented today to Delaware’s Council on Development Finance the company’s application for a Delaware Lab Space Grant of $450,380 and a Jobs Performance Grant of $151,343 from the Delaware Strategic Fund to support the company’s investment of more than $4.8 million. Distribution of grants from the Delaware Strategic Fund are dependent on the company meeting commitments as outlined to the CDF, which reviewed and approved Versogen’s request for up to $601,723 in total grant funding.

“Versogen has been strongly supported by the State of Delaware directly or indirectly from its inception,” said Yushan Yan, Versogen co-founder and CEO. “The grants approved today for Versogen from the Delaware Strategic Fund demonstrate Delaware’s unwavering commitment to building a vibrant entrepreneurial environment for startups and to providing critically needed facilities grants for them to grow.”

Versogen began with research conducted in Yan’s lab in his role as Henry B. du Pont Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. As Yan said, Delaware recognized the startup’s promise right away. So did entities throughout the United States, with numerous supporting the company’s work to bring to market a new class of polymer membranes that will make green hydrogen and fuel cells more economical.

Originally branded as W7 Energy and rebranded as Versogen in 2021, the company has been supported by more than $5 million in grants. These include the prestigious BIRD Project grant in 2020 and selection as one of three startups for the fourth cohort of the Shell GameChanger Accelerator (GCxN) program in 2021.

Earlier this year, Versogen closed a Series A funding round that raised $14.5 million. This investment allows the company to scale development of its low-cost green hydrogen electrolyzer stacks.

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About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support employers in place marketing Delaware to potential employees via livelovedelaware.com. The DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.

About Versogen

Versogen is an industry-leading green energy startup founded by Yushan Yan, the Henry B. du Pont Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. The company’s focus is decarbonizing heavy, hard-to-abate carbon by producing low-cost green hydrogen with its zero-emission AEM electrolyzer that uses natural materials, water and renewable energy to produce hydrogen at scale. Versogen systems are engineered to make green hydrogen affordable and sustainable – from the materials used in manufacturing right through to the costs of operations.

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Delaware site location tool

Zoom Prospector Site Location Tool

WILMINGTON, Del. – Location, location, location – it’s a key factor in a business’s decision about where to locate or grow. But it doesn’t stop with location. Companies also need information on labor force, demographics, infrastructure stats and more. Key information about the benefits of doing business in Delaware is just a few clicks away with Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s innovative Zoom Prospector site location tool.

Powered by geographic information system (GIS) technology, http://delaware.zoomprospector.com is a game-changer for site selectors representing local, national and international companies who are doing preliminary exploration online.

“With more than 97% of site selection research done online, Zoom Prospector allows developers to see aerial and street-level views of locations and offers valuable information about workforce training, community amenities and customer spending patterns,” said Becky Harrington, vice president of Business Development for Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

The tool allows site selectors and companies to scout for office and industrial space and for sites available in Delaware for both sale or lease. It provides important data on whether sites are brownfields, waiting to be redeveloped or completely undeveloped. Zoom Prospector also offers key data on:

  • Demographics and occupational data
  • Transportation network and drive times
  • Utility and broadband availability
  • Brownfields, Opportunity Zones, New Market Tax Credit areas
  • Environmental information

“The tool allows developers to compare available sites within the state and to compare Delaware sites to those elsewhere,” said Harrington. “When employers have ready access to the data and can see Delaware’s value proposition as a global magnet for leading-edge technologies, talent and investment, it makes the business of deciding to locate here a lot easier.”

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About Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware Prosperity Partnership leads Delaware’s economic development efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; to build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and to support employers in place marketing Delaware to potential employees, highlighting Delaware as a great place to work, live and play through its LiveLoveDelaware website. In partnership with economic development partners throughout the state, the DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to spotlight and celebrate successes and connect them with the resources they need to succeed. DPP and its partnerships throughout Delaware support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.

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carbon-capture technology in Delaware

Nemser Team Tackles Carbon-Capture in Plants

Delaware Firm Focuses on Low-cost Carbon Capture Technology


When people talk about climate change, they usually focus on behavior change, clean electricity, driving electric cars and using wind and solar power. But Compact Membrane Systems (CMS) CEO Erica Nemser focuses on carbon capture — reducing emissions from the production of things that we want and need: steel for buildings; plastic production for cars, buildings, and medical equipment; and cement for roads.

A pioneer in separations technology, New Castle-based CMS has launched a long-awaited pilot demonstration of its proprietary Optiperm membrane technology at Braskem’s Marcus Hook petrochemicals facility, laying the groundwork for broader application of its low-cost carbon-capture technology.

“I tell people I work in the planet-friendly, sustainable chemistry space,” Nemser says. “It’s really difficult to move production of the things we depend on every day to clean electricity, so we’re capturing the CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced from those processes before it leaves the smokestack. We’re concentrating that CO2 so that it can be used or sequestered underground, leading to more products and fewer emissions.”

“I don’t think anyone really wants a solution where we have to say no to steel and cement and some of the things that enable us to live the kind of lives we live and develop the medicines and the healthcare and other materials that we use,” she says.

That’s her pitch to the layman, but when Nemser talks to prospective investors or users of her carbon-capturing membranes, they understand the benefits for hard-to-abate industries but want to know what makes CMS special.

The company’s Optiperm technology uses membranes to separate the gases used to create plastics (olefins) from fuels (paraffins). Industry journals have described CMS’s efforts to develop membranes with commercial applications as a process improvement that could “change the world [and] reap great global benefits” through heightened energy efficiency.

Nemser says CMS is a leader in offering membrane technologies for carbon capture.

“There’s an existing commercial technology for carbon capture now; it’s just expensive and difficult to use in a range of applications,” she says. “Many new developments are still [in the lab] and face many technology risks. We’re far, far ahead of those. We believe Optiperm offers benefits from a cost and ease-of-use standpoint and can address the needs of customers that want a carbon capture system — steam methane reformers, plants making blue hydrogen, and steel plants and cement plants.

“At the end of the day, keeping the cost low is important because the CO2 is essentially an emission stream that nobody wants, so they want to do it as inexpensively as possible. We can make applications of all sizes under their operating conditions. Others in our business can’t say that.”

Nemser says CMS has two customers — manufacturing plants…and the planet. Optiperm will help manufacturers meet goals tied to the Paris accords (and others) to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their CO2 footprint over different timelines ranging from 2025 to 2050. Other prospective partners already have underground carbon-capture facilities and need partners like CMS to serve those customers at a more reasonable price.

As for the planet, she says “every molecule of CO2 that we take out of a smokestack and avoid going into the environment is a net gain.”

The Optiperm project with Braskem is the largest demonstration yet of its membrane doing a separation. A scaled-down version of the commercial system that CMS can deliver today, it’s a 500-day project that is already generating data that has the CMS team excited about hitting all its goals.

“We’ll get a lot of data over the next 18 months or so, but we believe we’ll be able to prove what our technology can offer well before that,” Nemser says. “This is not a science project confined to a lab. It’s a significant technology validation and proof point for investors and partners. We’ll be showing them this technology works at a commercial scale and will remove megatons of carbon from the environment.”

The primary metric that determines success is the cost of capture on a per-ton basis.

“The world expects us to be able to capture at least 90% of the CO2 that’s being emitted in a stream and get it to a 95% concentration. We can do that, and we use those as our benchmarks for performance,” she says.

The next step is putting more demonstrations into the field. Nemser remains tight-lipped about timing and locations beyond saying Optiperm can be quickly deployed anywhere.

“We’re looking at a range of different applications in different industries, with the common denominator being that they all have flue gas streams,” she says. “Think of it like the furnace system in your house with a flue that releases the CO2 nitrogen mix out into the atmosphere.”

Carbon Capture Technology in Delaware

Nemser says Delaware is an excellent place for scientific research and development.

“We’re doing cutting-edge work in climate technology,” she says. “Delaware’s history in chemicals has created a baseline and core competency. We’ve seen the evolution to clean chemicals, and now we’re seeing chemicals as energy, hydrogen fuels, solar power, electrolysis, and a variety of other chemical-based technologies. Delaware has a lot to contribute to the future of chemistry being the future of energy and clean energy, and the talent here is second to none in developing this.”

When Nemser joined the company her father Stuart founded in 1993 after leaving DuPont, she started moving it from a domestic science-driven R&D lab to a global commercial organization that constantly generates new intellectual property.

“I thought [our future] would be in petrochemicals and then broadly in industry and carbon capture but probably 10 years later than we’re seeing now,” she says. “In many ways, we see an acceleration in the interest in carbon capture.”

Her father, Nemser says, “thinks it’s amazing that membranes are having their day in the sun. Dad’s vision was always that technologists needed to find a way to stop separations from being one of the largest energy hogs on the planet as they produce the products that we want and prevent them from creating the emissions profile that they now have.”

Nemser says that modular systems like the CMS membrane can be used in both large plants like you see dotting the American landscape as well as new greenfield applications, and even small installations as the world moves towards more decentralized processes and plants.

Nemser says she’s proud of what CMS has accomplished but concedes she always says, ‘let’s do it faster.’ I’m always looking ahead, not behind, at the next mountain to climb.”

“It’s one thing to prove it out in a chemical plant, but the whole point is how do we expand these use cases so that we’re really talking about the next generation of deployments in carbon capture,” she says.

Nemser says Braskem is only the launching point, adding it makes sense that a Delaware company is at the brink of innovation like this.

“The future of chemicals is energy and a clean planet,” she says. “It’s not where we were. It’s where we’re going.”

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Aqua Science success in Delaware

Aqua Science Making a Global Splash

In just two years, the Newark, Delaware, water and soil testing company has sent ripples around the world


The growing need for stricter environmental compliance around the world – and a desire for a more progressive workplace culture – provided the perfect foundation for the creation of Newark, Delaware-based Aqua Science LLC.

The basis of Aqua Science’s business lies in water and soil toxicity testing using bioluminescent reagents that the company manufactures and sells, along with sales of their proprietary luminometer for use alongside its reagent products.

But owner and chief executive officer Iwona Evans notes that her background isn’t in science – environmental or otherwise. It’s in finance, with her undergraduate business degree from Goldey-Beacom College, her MBA from the University of Delaware and a second master’s from Goldey-Beacom in business and management. She was, however, putting those degrees to work for biotech companies and saw, in February 2020, an opportunity to start her own venture with a few fellow employees following along.

“It’s been really sort of unexpected with my finance background,” she said. “I had to learn a lot about science, but it’s been great.”

Aqua Science’s products use a bioluminescent bacteria native to the Pacific Ocean that, during the production process, are freeze-dried to allow for storage and transportation. By reconstituting the bacteria, customers essentially bring it back to life. The healthier the environment, the more light the bacteria give off. The luminometer measures the level of light emitted, gauging the level of toxicity by how much the light output diminishes.

Among the changes Evans and her team have made to the process were to create more stable bacteria, which was a significant improvement, particularly considering the pandemic’s effects on international shipping, she said.

“Shipping suddenly took a lot longer, and the product has to be frozen and shipped in a cooler, so the transit time cannot be too long,” she said. “Our scientists did some additional work, and we were able to make it more stable so the bacteria would survive a longer transit time.”

The new venture bore some similarity to what Evans’ team had been doing at their previous employer. “We saw really great opportunities in the market,” she said, “and we felt they were unfulfilled, that there were changes that could be made.”

Those changes happened fast, and after some initial research and development, the Aqua Science team had a product to market six months after starting the business and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the scientists we have here and their knowledge, our customers told us that really this is the best thing they’ve seen in 20 years,” Evans said. “We have the highest quality of bacteria reagents in the world now.”

In designing their new luminometer, the Aqua Science team’s goal was to take widely used but outdated technology and update it for the 21st century. “We thought we could use the cutting-edge technology that’s available right now to make this process easier and better and at the same time keep our environment – our water and soil – safer,” she said. Evans noted that her engineer husband, who doesn’t work for the company or in a related field, contributed to the design of “an incredibly simple and fully custom user interface” for the device. “It’s something I know he’s proud of, and we’re excited that we got his input.”

From its Newark headquarters, Aqua Science operates internationally. The company provides much of its product and technology to markets in Europe and Mexico, where environmental regulations are tighter than those in the U.S. and water and soil toxicity standards much more stringent.

“We see this technology as a great screening tool that could be used here in the U.S., and we really hope with our new luminometer coming out we’ll be able to reach customers in the U.S. who can use it to do a quick field test and be able to say, ‘Yes, there’s a problem,’ or ‘No, we’re good,’” Evans said. “For us, the passion is really the clean water and soil, so we would like to grow our R&D department and come up with new solutions to the problems not only here in Delaware but that people around the world are facing.”

Delaware Integral to Aqua Science’s Success

Delaware’s strong business foundation has been integral in Aqua Science’s success, she said, not just by providing a home base and a reservoir of talent, but also through direct support like grants and through organizations like Delaware Prosperity Partnership. The company won a Delaware Division of Small Business EDGE Grant in 2021, which Evans said was a crucial turning point in the company’s success.

“It really sort of brought the team together. Everybody was working on it, and we were all excited when we won,” she said. “It was a huge help, especially for a startup company during a pandemic.”

Additionally, the Small Business Development Center helped the firm get a grant for marketing and write a grant proposal for its PFAS project. In view of the environmental challenges being faced globally related to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soil and water, especially in the United States, Aqua Science will be developing a new technology to monitor these “forever chemicals.” PFAS are found in a wide array of manufactured chemicals used in the creation of nonstick coatings, stain-resistant carpets and firefighting foam, among many others, and are detrimental to human health.

Other help came from Export Delaware, which provided assistance working with trade missions to promote Aqua Science’s products globally. As she’s built the company, Evans has benefitted from an almost entirely female team, a marked departure from her other workplaces.

“It’s very important and refreshing at the same time because in my previous career it was exactly the room full of men and I was the only woman, and it wasn’t always the greatest experience,” she said. “This is different, and I like it. I think it’s a different way of thinking.”

Currently, the Aqua Science team of six includes Evans, a native of Poland, and two women who are first-generation immigrants from India and Colombia. This also adds strength to the company, she said.

“To me it’s such a valuable thing having a diverse workforce,” she said. “It’s that the ideas are coming from different perspectives, it’s the different ways we look at problems. It’s really beneficial to the business.”

The team’s structure also allows Aqua Science to break free from old-fashioned corporate practices less suited for both a 21st century and pandemic-era workplace, she said.

“We spend a lot of time at work, and we all have families, we have lives. And one thing I will always tell employees is family comes first,” Evans said. “If something’s going on at home, let me know, take some time, we’ll figure it out. Take care of whatever you need to take care of. And this is something that my employees have expressed many times, that it’s so nice to come to work not having to worry if something happens.”

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