MSU chemical engineering graduate named 2022 Curt Modtland Award Winner

July 15, 2023

Mark “Tony” Robertson, a 1990 MSU chemical engineering alumni, has been awarded the Curt Modtland Award for Excellence in Engineering Fundamentals at Dow.

The annual award is given to the Dow employee who most demonstrates the importance of technical excellence in Dow’s success and fosters its development. The award was named after Curt Modtland, a corporate fellow within Dow. The award honors Modtland’s career-long dedication to advancing science and technology.

“Just being nominated is an accomplishment in and of itself, but for your peers and senior technical experts within the Company to award you the honor is a totally different feeling altogether, and I’m so thankful for it,” Robertson, who is the Process Engineering Director within the Dow Industrial Solutions Technology Center, said.

In addition to his dedication to technical excellence at Dow, Modtland also believed in developing technical expertise through teaching and mentoring. A principle that Modtland and Robertson have in common. Robertson is a huge advocate of mentoring the next generation of engineers. From developing clean coal technologies to facilitating the rapid production of isopropanol during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jackson, Mississippi native has achieved a lot during his career at Dow, but one of the achievements he’s most proud of is mentoring those new to the engineering field.

“Some of my greatest accomplishments involve developing less experienced engineers through teaching and mentorships within Dow but also outside of Dow,” Robertson explained. “When Dr. Julie Jessop, a professor in the Swalm School of Engineering, asked for a seminar related to continual learning, I jumped at the chance to give that seminar.”

During his 31-year career at Dow, Robertson has been awarded 22 Technology Center awards and has authored and co-authored eight confidential research reports. Robertson also has numerous certifications in his field, including the Management Accelerator as part of the Black Leadership Academy, McKinsey & Co., which included problem-solving, business fundamentals and business strategy development. In his position as Process Engineering Director, he works on the technical and personnel sides of engineering. In fact, it’s one of the reasons he’s enjoyed working at Dow for over 30 years.

“There are two things I love about Dow. First, the people create a family atmosphere. Second, Dow gives individuals chances to excel in very complicated but rewarding situations no matter what the experience level,” Robertson said. “I have had challenging assignments since day one and continue to grow my depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise.”

Robertson explained that his chemical engineering education at Mississippi State prepared him for those challenging assignments and his global role at Dow.

“At MSU, I learned there is no substitute for hard work. MSU engineers are known for their work ethic and no-nonsense approach. Also, being grounded in the fundamentals and paying attention to details was drilled into me at MSU,” Robertson explained. “Finally, you never forget the relationships. If you try to complete it alone, you will struggle in college, particularly in engineering. There is strength in leveraging learnings, and that was a lesson I learned early at MSU.”

The Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering is online at www.che.msstate.eduand can be found on Facebook.

The Bagley College of Engineering is online at and can be found on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube at @msuengineering.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

By Camille Carskadon