Polymer Pioneer Receives Engineering's Highest

On October 31st, 2019, George A. (Sandy) Thomson, the founder of Thordon Bearings and a pioneer in the development of advanced polymer materials, was presented with the 2019 Elmer A. Sperry Award in recognition of “leading the innovation in water-lubricated propeller shaft bearings” in marine transportation through the use of polymeric compounds.

The award was presented to Mr. Thomson at the SNAME Maritime Convention, in Tacoma, USA, by the Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), Mr. Richard Vie, a long-time friend and collaborator.

As Carnival Corporation’s former Vice-President, Technical Development and Quality Assurance – Shipbuilding, Mr. Vie was instrumental in promoting the use of water-lubricated polymer shaft bearings in the cruise industry, with the sector’s first application installed aboard the Grand Princess, in 1998.

Mr. Vie said: “The Elmer A. Sperry Award for Advancing the Art of Transportation is one of the highest accolades given for an individual’s contribution to transportation engineering. I am truly honored and privileged to hand this award over to a friend, a collaborator and a true pioneer.

“There is no better example of an individual’s commitment to marine environmental sustainability than Sandy. His passion for and commitment to ocean conservation has been visionary, although not without its challenges. There was growing concern for the marine environment when Sandy’s oil- and grease-free polymer be....

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