Dr. Carlos Barrios, a colleague of mine from 3M St. Paul, asked over dinner at the last meeting of the Adhesion Society if I would like to take part in teaching a week-long course in polymers at the leading university in Colombia.

The course took place at Universidad Nacional in Bogota, Colombia. About 50 engineering students and several professional engineers from the community attended.

I taught the course in conjunction with Carlos and Omar Arias (Manager of Technical Service for 3M in Latin America).

We split the course into three segments: I taught “Fundamentals of Surface Energy and Adhesion”; Carlos taught “Recent Advances in the Science of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives”; and Omar taught “3M Solutions through High Performance Pressure Sensitive Adhesives”.

My segment of the class included hands-on experiments that demonstrated the relationships between surface energy and peel strength of pressure sensitive adhesives.

The students were incredibly engaged; as a result, the class lasted for almost 11 hours. The questions were technically very advanced and indicated a wonderful level of interest.

Bogota was a wonderful experience in itself.  Founded by the Spanish Conquistadores in 1538, the old part of the city looks and feels like a medieval Spanish city.

My wife Ligia and I traveled by cable car with our new friends to the top of Monserrate (a local mountain with an elevation of 3,152 meters (10,341 ft)) for dinner and an incredible view of the city.

A few days later I visited Andercol in Medellin, the city where my wife Ligia was born. Andercol is one of the largest manufacturers of chemicals and polymers in South America, and we recognized significant opportunities for collaboration. I made a lot of friends on this trip and identified a lot of opportunities for growth of our business, and I hope to return in another year for a repeat performance.