Joel Rieken (’06, PhD ’11 materials engineering) is a materials engineering innovator and leader on the rise. He’s the vice president of the global atomization division at Linde Advanced Material Technologies, Inc. and an entrepreneur: while still an Iowa State student, he co-founded Iowa Powder Atomization Technologies (IPAT).
Rieken was researching gas atomization and powder metal processing at Ames National Laboratory when he discovered an industry need for producing advanced titanium metal powder at a commercial level. So, Rieken co-founded IPAT, which gained national recognition after winning the John Pappajohn Iowa Business Plan Competition in 2012 and secured additional startup funding. Also in 2012, IPAT was named the prestigious “Next Top Energy Innovator” by the US Department of Energy. Rieken has five patents (with one pending) for his work to improve powder metal processing.
In 2014, IPAT was acquired by Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc. (now Linde Advanced Material Technologies, Inc.), a global Fortune 200 chemical company, where Rieken stayed on in leadership and executive roles. His work upscaling Linde’s titanium powder atomization technology has led to new 3D-printed specialized components for civil aviation, defense, and commercial space applications. Rieken advocates for materials science and STEM education in his current position by funding labs and departments at local Indianapolis schools, supporting a robotics club, and leading engagement with students outside the classroom.