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UC alumnus finds passion for manufacturing at Therma-Tru Doors

Zeman headshot

UC chemical engineering alumnus Roland Zeman. Photo/Provided

Almost anything physical in our daily lives requires chemical engineering. The foam armrests, plastic legs and metal bolts of an office chair didn’t just materialize from nature; it took teams of skilled chemical engineers and countless hours of research and development to get to this point.

“When you think about an industry like chemical engineering, just because the end product isn’t a chemical product doesn’t mean chemicals or chemical processes aren’t used to make that product,” says Roland Zeman (chemical engineering ’18).

Zeman is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s chemical engineering program and currently works as the associate process engineer for foam at Therma-Tru Doors in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a process engineer at Therma-Tru, Zeman is responsible for supporting production for thousands of doors each day.

These aren’t your typical bedroom or bathroom doors. Therma-Tru is famous for its fiberglass entry doors. These doors keep in heat, serving as great insulators because of their construction: two fiberglass slabs, with either a composite or wood frame separating the slabs, and a polyurethane foam core.

Zeman oversees the filling of this foam core, which gives the door this insulation, as well as provides it with structure. This job isn’t without its difficulties, and one of Zeman’s biggest responsibilities is exercising problem solving and critical thinking skills on the fly while still having the foresight to address long-term challenges, like preparing for growth and increasing storage capacities.

Zeman originally came to UC because of its nationally renowned cooperative education program, and that program is what ultimately unfurled his love for manufacturing. Zeman had several co-op rotations with different industries before completing his final two rotations with Therma-Tru, eventually leading to a full-time job.

Getting that real-world work experience before starting a job not only helps you get a job post-graduation, but it really gives you a head start at that job.

Roland Zeman UC alumnus

“Co-op was a great way for me to rotate through different industries and learn what I really wanted to do with my degree,” says Zeman. “Getting that real-world work experience before starting a job not only helps you get a job post-graduation, but it really gives you a head start at that job.”

Currently, Zeman is expanding his knowledge of manufacturing through his full-time position at Therma-Tru, as well as certification programs such as Six Sigma. He hopes to expand his technical skills in quality assurance and data analysis and his leadership skills in project management and teamwork. 

After completing five years of education and co-op at UC, Zeman reflects on how he got to this point: “Engineering requires a lot of dedication and hard work,” he says. “But if you’re truly passionate about it, the hard work truly pays off in the end.”

Featured image at top: At Therma-Tru Doors, Zeman works with manufacturing fiberglass entryway doors. Photo/Landon Martin/Unsplash

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