Engineering Fellow Steven Burdette was once told by his mentor, Engineering Fellow Dr. Bob Thomas, about the importance of discovery in glassmaking and how it is vital to the progress of Corning’s mission. Since that day 26 years ago, Steve has used that advice as a totem for his technical work in the Manufacturing, Technology & Engineering (MT&E) division and as a subject matter expert in mathematical modeling, glass forming, heat transfer, and stress and strength analysis.
Steve is part of the Thermal Processing Engineering group, where he provides technical guidance and detailed technical analysis with an emphasis on engineering fundamentals and modeling. He spends a significant amount of his time running numerical simulations, working in the lab on experiments, consulting with colleagues, visiting plants, and authoring reports.
“Corning is a very special company to work for because its business strategy is based on having unique and superior technology, most of which is developed inside the company,” he said. “Sometimes we get to invent processes or products that are new and change the world in some way. That potential makes Corning a great company for a meaningful and rewarding technical career.”
Steve has played a hand in enabling some of Corning’s technological breakthroughs. He contributed to the development of a system that controls both the speed and tension of a glass sheet throughout the fusion forming process, a revolutionary glass technique that enables a full suite of high-performing flat glasses.
“We had been working on the thermal and mechanical fundamentals of cooling glass ribbons for many years, and it was especially gratifying to be able to use those fundamentals to generate technology of great economic importance,” he said.
What contributes to Steve’s success in the workplace is his recognition of balance, a trait that his advisor taught him in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. “I was interested in the science that underlies production processes,” he said. “I remember that my advisor would emphasize engaging in broad work across many disciplines; this advice became very valuable later in my career at Corning.”
“I was also taught about the importance of establishing a healthy work-life balance. This has been the key for me to remain productive and happy over a lengthy career.”