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Honoring the 2023 CBE Distinguished Alumni


2023 Awardees (left to right): John O'Quinn, Herbert Hooper, Trent Carrier, Lindsey Robinson, Amanda Taylor
2023 Awardees (left to right): John O’Quinn, Herbert Hooper, Trent Carrier, Lindsey Robinson, Amanda Taylor

On December 1, 2023, the department hosted a luncheon to honor four of our graduates with CBE Distinguished Alumni Awards and one graduate with the CBE Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Established in 2016, the awards are intended to celebrate and recognize the exemplary contributions recipients have made to their profession, their community, and our department, college or university. All graduates of the department, including deceased graduates, are eligible for consideration.

The 2023 Distinguished Alumni are Trent A. Carrier, Herbert H. Hooper, John C. O’Quinn, and Amanda Monroe Taylor.

Each year, the department also recognizes a CBE graduate who received his or her degree within the previous 15 years. Lindsey E. Robinson was the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Trent A CarrierTrent A. Carrier

A native of Charlotte, NC, earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from NC State in 1994 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998. Carrier started his career at Merck as a process scientist and quickly was promoted to associate director of Vaccine Technology. In 2005, he moved to Life Technologies as senior director, Bioprocess Development and Cellular Medicine. During his time at Life Technologies, Carrier took business courses at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business earning an MBA in 2010.

Carrier then took a number of corporate executive roles including chief business officer at Biologics Consulting Group (2011), vice president of Vaccine Technology and Engineering at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (2014), CEO at CytoSen Therapeutics (2018) and senior
vice president at Kiadis Pharma (2019). Carrier is currently COO at L7 Informatics, a global provider of scientific software for research, development, manufacturing and quality control for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Carrier established the Richard M. Felder Teaching Excellence Endowment at NC State and worked with classmates and other alumni resulting in commitments of more than $275,000. Carrier and his wife, Melissa, live in Raleigh, NC, and they have three sons: Alex, Evan and Zach.

Herbert HooperHerbert H. Hooper

A native of New Bern, NC, earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from NC State in 1985 and a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990. Hooper started his career as a research scientist at Air Products and Chemicals. He left Air Products in 1993 to co-found ACLARA Biosciences with the goal of developing novel tools for protein and DNA analysis. He took ACLARA public in an IPO in 2000 and he joined Ampersand Capital Partners, a private equity firm, in 2002.

Hooper is currently the managing general partner at Ampersand, a middle market private equity firm focused on growth equity investments in the healthcare sector with $3 billion of assets under management. He has over 30 years of experience working with healthcare companies, first as an entrepreneur and later as an investor. Hooper is an expert in technical fields such as molecular diagnostics, drug development services, life science research products, diagnostic instruments, and specialty pharmaceuticals; moreover, he is skilled in entrepreneurship, business and investing. He has served as a director of over 20 companies including Alcami, Arranta Bio, Avista Pharma, Brammer Bio, Genoptix and Nexelis.

Hooper and his wife, Leila, established the Herbert and Leila Hooper Scholarship at NC State for students studying chemical engineering. They live in Weston, Mass., and they have four children: Sammy, Noah, Alina and Jason.

John O'QuinnJohn C. O’Quinn

A native of Fuquay-Varina, NC, earned two degrees at NC State in 1996, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and valedictorian: a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.A. in multidisciplinary studies. As a Fulbright Scholar, O’Quinn received a M.Sc. from the University of Oxford in the UK. As an NSF Fellow, he received a M.S in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2001, where he received the Fay Diploma in recognition for graduating first in his class. O’Quinn also served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

After law school, O’Quinn clerked for Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. From 2003 to 2006 O’Quinn worked for Kirkland & Ellis as an associate. He then served in the U.S. Department of Justice as deputy associate attorney general and later deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Federal Programs Branch, where he was responsible for helping to oversee much of the government’s civil litigation and supervised more than 100 attorneys charged with defending the constitutionality of federal statutes and regulations. O’Quinn personally argued more than a dozen cases involving the national security interests of the United States.

O’Quinn rejoined Kirkland & Ellis in 2009 as a partner, where his practice focuses on litigation, including intellectual property disputes, regulatory matters, commercial litigation and other complex litigation matters at the trial and appellate levels. Today, he is the senior appellate litigator at Kirkland & Ellis, where he headlines the firm’s intellectual property appellate practice. He has argued nearly 100 appeals in courts across the country — including over 50 appeals in cases involving patents, copyrights and trade secrets.

O’Quinn and his wife, Amy, live in McLean, Va., and they have three children: Alexander, Lauren, and Lydia.

Lindsey RobinsonLindsey E. Robinson

A native of Spanish Fort, Ala., came to NC State as a Park Scholar and earned a B.S. in chemical engineering summa cum laude in 2008. She started her career with Merck in its two-year leadership development rotational program. Robinson’s three rotational assignments consisted of: 1) Engineer in Viral Vaccine Technology & Engineering working on bulk vaccine processes and support of their technical operations, 2) Project engineer in Viral Vaccine Manufacturing working lean six sigma initiatives for various vaccine operations areas, and 3) Analyst in Product Source Management leading cross-functional teams of technical, regulatory, quality and procurement.

In 2010, Robinson took her first full-time assignment in a specialist position that involved designing, developing and executing experimental plans on pilot equipment and scaling up to commercial scale. In this role, she focused on cardiovascular and hepatitis C therapeutic areas and earned her lean six sigma black belt. She was promoted to senior specialist in 2015 taking on a global technical operations role supporting the vaccine franchise.

Robinson was selected as associate director of Engineering in 2017 becoming the cross- functional leader for strategic bulk and form/fill projects. Her roles have taken her across the globe supporting many manufacturing sites and including an overseas assignment in Europe.
In these roles, she also supported commercial manufacturing site readiness. In 2020, she was named director of Engineering as the tech transfer leader in new product introductions and in-line commercial products across multiple sites spanning drug substance and drug
product vaccine manufacturing.

Robinson lives in Conshohocken, Penn., and hails from a long line of NC State graduates including her grandfather, father, uncle and two sisters!

Amanda TaylorAmanda Monroe Taylor

A native of Trinity, NC, earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from NC State in 1990. She started her career as an engineer at Dow Chemical in Dalton, Ga. In 1991, Taylor moved to Merck in Elkton, Va., as an engineer and was quickly promoted to senior engineer (1994). She then became a project engineer in Environmental Engineering (1999) working on reducing the plant’s environmental footprint.

Taylor next moved into operations management as a maintenance superintendent (2001) followed by director of maintenance (2005) with responsibilities for mechanical equipment, facilities engineering and site services. She then was selected for plant production roles as director, Biotechnology IPT Leader (2007) followed by director, Biologicals IPT Leader (2009) and director, Vaccine Operations (2011).

In 2016, Taylor was named executive director in West Point, Penn., with responsibility for fermentation and purification production, vial and syringe filling. She was then selected as plant manager at the Wilson, NC, site (2019) with responsibility for all manufacturing functions such as production, quality assurance, maintenance, environmental, health and safety, plant engineering and human resources. Currently she is vice president — plant manager at the Durham, NC, site, a position she has held since 2020.

Taylor and her husband, Rodney, live in Roxboro and they have two children: Andrew and Shelby.

Learn more about previous recipients of the CBE Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Young Alumni Award Award

Congratulations to this fine group of alumni! You are a true inspiration to the next generation of Wolfpack chemical engineers.