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Thompson to Serve as Interim Director of Mississippi Polymer Institute

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 09:46am | By: Van Arnold

The Mississippi Polymer Institute (MPI) will enter a transition phase at the conclusion of this year with the departure of Director Dr. Bryan Brister, who has accepted a position as chief operating officer with Voltea, an international water purification company. MPI Operations Leader Robert Thompson will assume the role of interim director.

Brister came to MPI in 2010 as director and during that time has helped lead the institute to five-fold growth. The Gulfport, Miss., native spent eight years with General Electric, including service on GE's Corporate Audit Staff and a business leadership role in GE Water and Process Technologies. In January 2007 he became a founding member of Seven Seas Water and served as Vice President – Operations through the company's start-up phase.

“The chance to work for a global company like Voltea is a wonderful career opportunity for me,” said Brister, who will begin his new job on Jan. 2. “And I feel much better about leaving at this time, knowing that MPI is in a far stronger position now than when I first came aboard. No one has more intricate knowledge about MPI than Robert Thompson, and he is the perfect person to step in as director during this transition period.”

Thompson has more than 20 years industrial experience and has been a driving force in the growth of the Mississippi Polymer Institute the past 16 years. He has served as a technical service provider, operating manager and assisted in defining the strategic mission of the institute.

“My objective will be to continue the momentum we have developed here at MPI and keep looking for ways to stimulate high-tech business growth across the state,” said Thompson. “I have pretty much held every position within MPI at one time or another, so I am comfortable serving as interim director. I am extremely excited about what we have accomplished and where we are going at MPI.”

Voltea, with headquarters in Sassenheim, the Netherlands, aims to help people and businesses access clean, potable water while reducing environmental impact. Voltea utilizes patented CapDI systems to provide desalinated brackish water at a lower economic and environmental cost.

While energized by the idea of leading a massive overseas company, Brister acknowledges that his heart will always belong to Mississippi.

“My sincere hope is to return someday to my home state and use the experience I've gained to help benefit the state of Mississippi in whatever capacity that might present itself,” said Brister.  

The Mississippi Polymer Institute was established in 1993 with a goal of growing high-tech polymer and polymer-related industries in the state. Serving as the industrial outreach arm of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at The University of Southern Mississippi, MPI has played a key role in growing the state's multi-billion-dollar-per-year, high-tech polymer industry, and has directly assisted in the creation of thousands of jobs.

For more information about MPI, call 601.266.4607 or visit: