Dr. David Pensak

Leading Innovator – Author – Speaker
Newest Innovation
Aroma You Can Taste

Dr. David Pensak is one of our country’s most prolific and successful innovators.  He recently founded Vaporiety after a distinguished 30-year career at DuPont, where he held myriad senior research positions and served as a corporate technology growth champion, providing guidance for and managing advanced computer-technology explorations and development and advanced materials.

This past October, 2011 Vaporiety was named one of 50 most Innovative Startups in the World by the Kaufmann Foundation.

David Pensak does not drink coffee, preferring tea, but his wife and children are coffee drinkers, and they frequently complained about how go-cups of all designs, while keeping coffee hot and preventing it from sloshing and spilling, mangle its taste.

Pensak conducted extensive research into coffee, into the science of aromas and tastes and into membrane technology and came to the conclusion that certain properly designed, food –friendly membranes would allow vapors or aromas to pass through the membranes freely while preventing the hot liquid from seeping or spilling.  This vapor passing through the membrane is crucial, as aromas are well- known to be critical to taste.  Lack of these aromas emanating from conventional cup lids causes the taste of coffee to dampen or otherwise change. 

Pensak invented various beta lids, both for permanent go cups and for disposable ones, and did preliminary consumer tests and focus groups of coffee in cups with conventional lids versus the same coffee in cups with the membrane-technology lids.  Consumers, including Pensak’s family, much preferred the new lids because they provided more and better coffee tastes.

Accordingly, Pensak worked extensively with an intellectual properties expert and consequently filed for patent in January 2011 to cover the membrane lid technology for beverage containers and many other potential applications.

In February 2011, Pensak, Roger Morris, a marketing consultant who also writes extensively on wine and other beverages, and John Fox, who has had extensive executive experience with information technology companies, decided to form The Vaporiety Company, which will now have ownership of the vapor flow lid patent.  The three also agreed that the first objective of The Vaporiety Company is to bring to market the application of its membrane technology, TasteTop Lids® for hot beverages, using the proprietary slogan, “Aromas you can taste.”™

During development of the technology, Pensak has had various conversations with private and trade organizations in the United States and other countries, and it is the intent of Vaporiety to work with a partner or partners in licensing the TasteTop Lids® technology to beverage companies worldwide. This product undoubtedly will be a huge success and allow consumers to really enjoy their coffee!

Dr. Pensak also runs the Pensak Innovation Institute, which is commercializing some of his chemical inventions.

He was the founder and inventor of technology for three successful information security companies. Raptor Systems provided the first commercial Internet firewalls for business and industry. The company’s rapid growth, commercial success and eventual acquisition by AXENT Technologies (now Symantec) led to technical and financial recognition. Subsequently, he founded Authentica (acquired by EMC in February 2006), a recognized leader in the enterprise digital rights management market space, and then Vi Laboratories, a leader in piracy prevention software.  He has acted as an adviser for the U.S. Department of Energy, the Clinton Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

After retiring from DuPont, he joined the faculty at the Wharton School of Business.   He is currently on the faculties of George Washington University School of Law and the University of Delaware Business School.  He holds an AB from Princeton in Chemistry and an AM and PhD from Harvard, both in Chemistry.

Pensak authored the critically acclaimed book, Innovation for Underdogs. He illustrates in Innovation for Underdogs real-world examples that illuminate how to transform an idea into a reality in the marketplace.

A review stated,

“Dr. Pensak’s book makes innovation easy and explainable. It opens your eyes to a really simple process of stretching your mind to unlock its creative capabilities. His belief that the most successful companies listen to their employees and customers is right on. If you are going to have a successful company in these tough economic times, management must foster an environment that lets people be more creative than they ever have been in their lives and then reward them for it. “

Another hot new area Pensak is working on is computational linguistics – which will assess the credibility of the written message (i.e. is a CEO exaggerating when he is describing the state of the company and its prospects) and, by extension, a dynamically changing multi-level index/table of contents for a book.   The latter will start by telling you from a purely analytic perspective which sections of a book are most relevant to your stated interest.   As you drill down through those sections, the index will be dynamically updated to tell you where to go next and if you go in an unexpected direction because you have discovered something unanticipated, the index will adapt in real time.

I’m just finalizing the formation of a consulting business to help the legal and financial communities get a better handle on the flood of paper they have to consume.   Already I have demonstrated that there are subtle (and sometimes very important) messages which are only detectable when you do a detailed study across a number of documents – messages which will not be detectable no matter how closely you read a single document,”  stated Pensak.

Pensak is also experimenting with radically new additives to improve the lifetime of concrete structures.   About 50 years ago it was discovered that if you leave a little air in concrete it improves the weathering as the little bubbles can soften the stresses of expansion and contraction due to changes in temperature.   The problem is that these little bubbles leave a way for air and water to ultimately get into the middle of the concrete where they hasten the decomposition of the reinforcing metal rods (hence the rust stains we are seeing more and more on buildings and bridges).  The early results (moving hockey puck sized samples of concrete with my secret sauce back and forth between the freezer and a toaster oven) are very encouraging.

This brilliant innovator has been working with a class of materials which hold temperature stable for long periods.  He has built some new devices and containers for the food and beverage industry which will enable new paradigms for event catering while improving food sanitation and safety (no open flames, steam tables, etc).   These should be coming to market in the spring.   Pensak has extended the properties of the materials and their transport system to have application in emergency medicine and in the transport of temperature sensitive materials.

Through the Pensak Innovation Institute he is working with a major chemical company to find new uses for existing products.  There is no question that the commodity chemicals market is being depressed by foreign competition which is not subject to the same environmental regulations and has a lower wage rate.   Given the recent changes in US Patent Law there are a number of ways to move quickly and lock up new industrial and commercial opportunities to make the playing field more level.

Last, but certainly not least, Pensak has been  working with the US Government and some of their major contractors to find ways to get small companies and individual innovators more effectively engaged to speed up the movement of emerging technologies from the bench top to the battlefield.   Lives are lost when this does not happen as quickly as it might (the procedures that the government has in place are there for a reason, but sometimes you need to invoke new reasons or ignore old ones).

Due to reader request, Pensak is writing a follow up book to Innovation for Underdogs,

Innovation: From Evolution to Execution.  Release date to be announced.

In spite of all his successful endeavors Dr.  Pensak spends time working with schools across the country.  “Children are indeed our future, he stated.  If we can teach them not just to have no fear of innovation, but to embrace it and get rewarded for it, we will be producing a generation qualified and wise enough to solve some enormously complex problems which could jeopardize the future of the human race.

Dr Pensak spends his free-time with his wife, his son, 3 daughters and 6 Bichon’s!

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Information on Dr. Pensak