Cincinnati, OH | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2008
Whether the mission is a better tasting
potato chip or an environmentallyfriendly
laundry detergent, success
follows a proven sequence: Yonas Gizaw
analyzes questions, addresses challenges,
and formulates solutions.
As principal scientist for Procter and
Gamble Co., a $68 billion company with
more than twenty billion-dollar brand
names, Gizaw leads the development of
sustainable and renewable biopolymers
for global laundry and fabric care
“These efforts mean consumers enjoy
our products more — their fabrics feel
and smell better — or a load of laundry
requires only a half-cup of detergent
rather than a full cup,” Gizaw explains.
On corporate and global scales, the
impact of new product formulations
magnifies exponentially — often
significantly reducing the amount of
petroleum-based polymers used in
detergents and softeners and replacing
them with biodegradable, renewable
In 2005, Gizaw received Procter &
Gamble’s Innovation Award for a
reformulation of Downey Fabric Softener,
a process that developed highperforming
biopolymers that serve as
co-actives with the product’s traditional
actives. This breakthrough saved millions
of dollars for P&G, and currently is
modeled in Mexico, China, and Europe.
Throughout his twelve-year career with
Procter & Gamble, Gizaw has spiraled from
a research scientist in the company’s
Snack and Beverage Technology Division
to the Division’s senior research scientist.
His current position combines a keen
knack for integrating technology and
business, with a passion for leadership
“I’ve always sought the biggest
challenge I can face,’ he says. “Solutions
bring me the greatest satisfaction.”
Resolutions have a lighter side as well.
For the past eight years, Gizaw has
volunteered as a Big Brother, relishing
the friendships and successes of two
fortunate young men.
“Academic excellence at Purdue University, a leading
university in carbohydrate research, extended to faculty
willing to mentor beyond the call of duty.
The people and surroundings were conducive to
education and learning as a person.”