Hello everybody and greetings from Spain; I would like to wish you all merry Christmas and a happy new year.
This is the xmas tree my neighborhood has put this year, and at its side, yes!, it is me with my favorite thing in Christmas, the Santa hat; you wear it and suddenly you are like in a party wherever you are.
I would like to share with you a funny experience from this Christmas; in my family we don’t have presents in Christmas, we receive them the 6th of January. However last year and influenced by my girlfriend’s opinion I gave my family their presents the 25th of December. They got a little mad, just a little, for receiving their presents when they had not even bought presents themselves.
This year it has been the opposite, I haven’t bought a single present for my family (only for my girlfriend), but I have received presents from everybody and it makes you feel a little strange when you have nothing to give them in exchange, like if you have done something wrong. I have to admit that this is all my fault for what I did last year.
Well, at least I can wear my Santa hat and sing xmas songs to contribute to the joyful atmosphere.
Merry Christmas to everybody again, hope you all have a happy new year.
Over a year ago I participated in the SIKA experience and was lucky enough to be able to propose a charity to which SIKA subsequently donated some money. Ikamva is a really interesting charity which has had a long history of challenging, but successful projects in providing people with the tools to uplift themselves and their communities. My particular interest was in helping develop tools for economic self sufficiency, and in particular educating young people. However one of the biggest stumbling blocks to this is the basic access to healthcare and food which either prevents kids from attending school as they have to travel far with their sick relatives to find them treatment, or they cannot concentrate due to hunger.
Ikamva used the funds to develop their food program and basic health care programs further and their report clearly indicates the impact that the SIKA money has had. Check it out for yourself on the link attached (below).
Cheers and have a wonderful Christmas!!!
Ikamva Labantu report to Sika December 2011
Dear bloggers and followers,
As the year is coming to an end I would like to thank you all for the efforts you made for and with Sika Experience.
It was a pleasure to read all these big and small stories which you wrote from so many places around the world. Whether you are in Chile, Zurich or Malaysia – it is great to participate a little bit in your lives via the blog and understand what moves you.
Keep up the great spirit in 2012 – there will be more goodies to come for students and young professionals e.g. a new Sika Concrete Experience (jippie!) - but I will not disclose more now. But before we plunge into 2012 enjoy some good days in the old year and see you soon! Stay tuned!
Best regards from snowy Switzerland,
A bit more than a year ago I was looking up the Matterhorn, Switzerland with great bliss. All of a sudden I’d been selected as a participant of the Sika Solar Experience, which consisted in visiting PV solar energy-related facilities throughout Germany, Italy and Switzerland, along with amazing leisure activities organized by the folks at Sika. As you can imagine, together with the other three participants from around the world we had a blast and learnt a lot from Sika and their contribution to the development of renewable energies, such as solar. Definitely an unforgettable experience!
But time flies by, and a lot has changed in a year. I finished my masters, started teaching at the Computer Science department of one of the top universities in Chile (my home country) and founded my own company. Although solar energy is not my core knowledge, I’ve always found the way to converge around such a powerful technology. For example, in our company we are using solar panels to power several hardware, such as remote measurement stations and irrigation systems. We are designing innovative power meters for grid integration of residential solar energy generation. Sika adhesives are also playing a role: most of the bonding products we are using are from Sika. So ever since, that trip has always been a part of me.
Looking back, I realize that the Sika Experience trip influenced me in a personal and professional level. But my biggest takeaway is the fact that we are all called upon making an impact in this world, specially towards our planet needs.
Jose L. Honorato, Chile
Sika Solar Experience participant, September 2010
We are very proud to announce that this year’s Sika award has been granted to Benedikt Wanner a student of ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland). He has written the best master thesis in Polymerchemistry and Organic Synthesis in 2011 at the ETH!
Are you ready to go into details why Benedikt’s thesis was so outstanding?
The topic of Benedikt’s winning Master Thesis is the development of a catalytic, enantioselective synthesis of dihydropyridones from simple, widely available starting materials. These products are highly sought as scaffolds for the synthesis of bioactive compounds. It proved critical to have the correct enantiomer and to prepare enantioenriched variants. Surprisingly, and against the conventional wisdom, Mr. Wanner found that he could do this reaction best without protecting groups on the nitrogen. The products can be synthesized in two steps, therefore, they are directly amenable to further elaboration. This project, from conception to publication, was accomplished in less than three months! Wow!
In the picture below you see myself congratulating this promising young scientist.
The Sika Award 2011 goes to the student who wrote the best master thesis in Polymerchemistry and Organic Synthesis in 2011. The Sika Master Award is endowed with CHF 2’000 and is the highest endowed price for a master thesis in this department. Such prices are enormously important to young scientists as they support young people in their career start. Congratulations to Benedikt!
My Colombian experience has been so far so good. Time flies and it is now over three weeks and I have gathered lots of experiences since then. I have been travelling back and forth between Bogotá and Fúquene in the past fortnight. My task is to communicate with three local communities or their representatives with regard to the needs of the communities in relation to waste water. These settlements, namely San Miguel de Sema, Saboyá and Cucunubá are situated in the vicinity of Fúquene, each within a 30 minute drive from the other. Data collection which mainly entails census data of these communities are to be collected and then analysed along side our proposed constructed wetland project. This is to ensure our proposal accommodates to the needs of the three communities without causing any detrimental effects to the environment or the livelihood of the communities.
Prior to the third Fúquene trip, Felipe (my partner in this project), Sandra (a colleague from Fundación Humedales) and myself made a trip to assist the local community in Fúquene set up Christmas decorations at their little handicraft stall. Their craft are made out of water lilies obtained from the Fúquene Lake (Laguna Fúquene). It was amazing as they were overjoyed with all the Christmas decorations ranging from the quintessential Christmas element – the Christmas tree, Christmas lights, table runners and all the other minute details which brings a sense of festive cheer to the local folk. Putting a smile on their faces was the best thing I could have ever done on that day!
On the downside, I sustained a cut where I was domiciled in Fúquene from a protruding door latch left ajar. A flu then followed and I am on the path to recovery as I blog. Nevertheless, everything I have done, lived, experienced and more has been absolutely fantastic. One I shall cherish in years to come.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates. My sincere apologies for any delays in blogging due to the limited internet accessibility in Fúquene.
Till then, take care!
Last year, one of our YES (Youth Encounter on Sustainability) seminars in Japan had to be cancelled because of the Tsunami and the nuclear disaster. Now in 2012, again in March, YES will hold their next course in Japan at the Hosei University in Tokio.
During the two weeks course young academics get the opportunity to deepen their knowledge concerning sustainability topics. A group work consists of evaluating whether and how Sika is seen in the media presentations as a sustainable thinking and behaving organization. This includes a visit to Sika’s factory in Hiratsuka. If you are a university student and interested in susainable development you can apply for this program on http.//www.actis-education.ch
Find out more what YES is and why Sika is supporting it.
Its been a very busy time over here in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. I have done so much in just a year and there is more to come. Here is a special project I did for the Vice President of the Untied States, I made these samples of our parking deck system with aggregate on for a non-slip surface.
These are some samples I made of our textured sealant next to brick, our sales team and Home Depot use these so much to show our customers the finished look.
These are some samples that were made of our sealants on different substrates such as wood, marble, glass, plastic, aluminum, brick and roofing material. We are comparing our product to the competitors, our products are doing great.
Will keep updated with other great projects!!! :-)
Our interdisciplinary Sika Experience Jury has had the difficult job to agree on the best candidates out of a big number of suitable applicants. After some hard discussions the jury nominated the winners for the Sika Experience Trip *Fascination Glass* which will start on January 22, 2012! We would like to congratulate Jihyun Yoo, Alexandros, Lenka and Rahul for winning this extraordinary trip to Zurich, Switzerland with visits to other places in Germany, Austria, Italy and maybe also France. The four successful students with different study subjects come from South Korea, Greece, Czech Republic and India. We are currently finalizing the program and I can tell you, there will be some wonderful candies!
We are looking forward to welcoming you soon in Zurich!
It has been more than a month now that this year’s Concrete Experience took place, but my experience with Sika did not stop there. Once I was back at my home town I received an invitation to visit the main facilities of Sika Mexicana in Queretaro from the manager of BU Concrete; Carlo Rocha. I could not say no to this inquiry, since I was interested in knowing how the company works in my country. So, this past Wednesday I hopped on a bus and traveled 7 hours to Queretaro.
The very next day Mr. Rocha picked me up from my hotel and took me to Sika Mexicana. I was warmly welcomed by the staff there and afterwards I was shown a brief presentation of how the company has developed since it was established here in Mexico almost 50 years ago. Later on I received a guided tour through the main production plant which is quite an impressive one. I saw firsthand how the additives are mixed, stored and bottled in one simple process. On the afternoon I had the chance to visit the marketing department. This department is pretty extense and very important for the development of the company here in Mexico. I got to meet the creators of Sikaman; a comic super hero, whose main enemies are water leaks and humidity. lol.
During my visit I also had the opportunity to see how the R & D department works on adapting the composition of certain products to the local materials. This is quite an exhausting process, because Mexico is an extense country and the materials vary within its territory.
On the evening I was given a short tour of Queretaro’s downtown. I was impressed by the colonial architecture of the historical buildings which gave birth to this beautiful city. I got to stand right in front of the house of “La Corregidora” which was the place where the Mexican Independence from Spain started.
On the second day of my visit to Sika Mexicana I went to the Concrete Testing lab. This is where all of the new and existing concrete related products are tested. The people there work pretty intense around the clock, because everything has to be tested and confirmed before it’s presented to the client as a possible solution.
To finish off I would like to thank all of the Staff at Sika Mexico who made this short experience possible. It was nice to see how Sika keeps the same positive and enjoyable atmosphere even in its subsidiaries.
Enrique I. Ochoa