Cindi Hoover, PhD 1995

Director of Applications R&D, Praxair, Inc.

I have three main areas of focus: safety, people and technology. 

A day in the life as an Executive Research and Development Director at a Fortune 500 company:

I have three main areas of focus: Safety, People and Technology. Safety is first. I need to make sure that everything I do and my team does is safe. I spend time proactively identifying and addressing potential safety risks, such as 1. monthly lab inspections, 2. having an annual Safety Commitment Day and 3. maintaining an active safety Top 5 Priorities list.  

From a people perspective, I focus on having an actively engaged, innovative and diverse team that feels empowered to make a difference every day. I meet with my management team regularly to make sure we are recognizing appropriate contributions and I also talk directly with employees to discuss their career development. I ensure they have an opportunity to showcase their contributions and that they have the appropriate resources to accomplish their goals. Additionally, I am involved in interviewing potential new team members. Having a strong team is what makes us successful.  

From a technology perspective, I spend a significant amount of time developing and implementing strategic plans supporting Praxair’s growth. We have team meetings where we discuss new technologies that can help solve customer needs, determining the best ways to manage risk and assessing progress/prioritizing resources to ensure we meet our commitments. I also spend time with our customers making sure that the solutions we are developing will meet/exceed their requirements. I also work with “joint development” partners to ensure our developments are on track. I communicate technical challenges  we  face to project stakeholders and look to give them confidence that we are on the right path to address them. I also work with other parts of our organization to ensure they are prepared to commercialize new technology once it has been proven out. I keep my eyes open to developing new technologies and keep our pipeline full through patent reviews, technology announcements, employee ideas, external technology reviews, and customer/vendor visits. Every day is different, and in the end, I get to interact with many smart people and make a positive contribution to Praxair and our customers.