D.K. Smith

Lifetime Technical Achievement Award


Smith, Johnson & Associates

Delmont (Dee) K. Smith was raised in Dillon, Montana, receiving his early education there.  Because he had been skipped a class in Grade School, he was able to begin his collegiate study in 1944, majoring in chemistry at Utah state in Logan, Utah, before entering the U.S. Navy during World War II. After discharge from the military service, he returned to Utah State, completing the BS degree in Chemistry in 1949.

With the assistance of a Cottrell Research Grant, he did a Masters Degree at Utah State. This was followed by further graduate study at Purdue University, supported by a Research Fellowship from Purdue Research Foundation. His thesis was in the area of synthetic organic fluorine compounds and he was granted the Ph.D. degree in 1954.

Dr. Smith joined the Research Division of Rayonier Incorporated in Shelton, Washington after graduation, doing research on chemical cellulose and cellulose conversion processes. Two years later, this company established a new Eastern Research Division in Whippany, New Jersey, and Smith, along with three other researchers, was transferred to the East Coast to initiate this new research activity. Three years later, Dr. Smith became head of this new laboratory, with a staff of 95 professional and technical personnel.

In 1961, Smith joined the Johnson & Johnson organization, becoming a researcher in their Chicopee Division, doing research on natural and synthetic fibers, woven and nonwoven textiles. In 1962, he was transferred to the company’s Chicopee Falls (Massachusetts) research laboratory and became director of this Laboratory for one year.

In 1970, he was recalled to the Central Research Division at the corporate headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. At that time, he became Director of Technological Planning, taking over the worldwide technology scouting activities that has previously been carried out by the Vice President-Research. This responsibility involved traveling throughout the world, monitoring science, technological and research developments in nonwoven and woven technology, and other research of interest to the Johnson & Johnson organizations.

During this time he became deeply involved in nonwoven technology on a worldwide basis. He also became very active in INDA, the industry trade group. He served as Chairman of IDEA 76, which was the industry’s largest international exposition and technical conference to that time. Following the success of this activity, he became the first recipient of the INDA Chairman’s Award. He filled various committee assignments within INDA, serving on both the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Marketing Advisory Board (MAB).

In 1985, Dr. Smith took early retirement from the J&J organization and began a worldwide independent consulting activity. This was accompanied by relocation to Mesa, Arizona. The consulting activity continued on a full –time basis until 2001.

Dr. Smith has presented many technical papers at various conferences throughout the world. Many of these papers have been published in various peer-reviewed journals and other publications. He has served as session organizer, chairman and moderator at numerous technical conferences. He has also lectured a t several universities and research institutes. He is the holder of several U.S.  and foreign patents. He has written and edited numerous publications in his role as Technical Editor of Nonwovens Markets, a position he continues at the present time. He is also the co-editor of International Nonwovens Research, the major science and technology journal for this industry. He formerly served as Consulting Editor for this journal. For several years his consulting organization published a monthly newsletter entitled Nonwoven Patent News, which had a worldwide audience.

During his career, Dr. Smith has studied and been involved in several nonwoven technologies, including print bonding, webform processing, various spunbond and spunlace processes, the meltblown process, several aspects of airlaid pulp processing, themobonding and others.  In addition, he has been intimately involved in various conversion and nonwoven converted products and markets, including disposable diapers, sanitary protection products, adult incontinence products, filtration media, various wiping products, medical products and others.

In 2001, Dr. and Mrs. Smith relocated to Provo, Utah as a part of their retirement plans. This allows a somewhat more centralized location to stay close to 12 children and 50 grandchildren.