Director’s Note on Our Visit with Citrine Informatics

During our Silicon Valley 2019 summer experience, the 2020 and 2021 EDI Fellows met with NA’03 alumnus Greg Mulholland, the CEO of Citrine Informatics.  Greg shared some of the lessons he learned at Norfolk Academy – lessons, which prepared him for success as a founder and CEO of a startup in a new market.  

Greg’s three take-aways from Norfolk Academy

  • Surround yourself with the best people who give you honest feedback and clearly communicate. 
  • Hone your writing ability.  The Wuthering Heights paper and learning to avoid the passive voice were crucial for writing clear company materials and convincing proposals well. 
  • Be driven and try new things. Greg attributed his ability to try new things and to push himself to teachers at Norfolk Academy like Mr. Tom Duquette and his advanced stats course.  Teachers pushed him, he said to the EDI Fellows, yielding a confidence to try new things.

Standing before the next wave of innovators, Greg encouraged the EDI Fellows to ask about creating an inclusive culture as they meet with professionals from Silicon Valley companies.  In the near future, he predicts that this will be a trait of successful adventures and professionals in Silicon Valley and the tech industry. He urged them to start thinking about how to create an inclusive culture and to learn from people who are most equipped to deal with this issue.   

More Information on Citrine Informatics.  Back in the old days of developing materials, companies relied on ‘the person.’  This person would have the experience, insight, or sheer luck to create a new material in the chemistry lab – a material that had better or desirable properties.  It was a classic chemistry experiment. Greg and a few others saw a way to improve that process with computational analysis, creating a new market. Rather than the person with the ideas, Citrine Informatics aggregates the data and analyzes the past experiments to find the best solution that is multifaceted and yields the greatest improvement.  One success story from Citrine Informatics is helping to discover the first two aluminum alloys that are not only approved for aeronautical use, but are weldable. Learn more here about Citrine Informatics.

Post by Dr. Tenaya Vallery