UK alumna Rebecca Liebert, executive vice president of PPG Industries, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Membership in the NAE is one of the highest professional distinctions given to an engineer.
Liebert, who graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1990, donated more than $6 million to establish the Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean’s Fund. The fund provides scholarships to undergraduate students from Eastern Kentucky — emphasizing support for female students and those who would strengthen UK’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Liebert was elected to the NAE in recognition of her leadership in developing and executing innovative initiatives to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing industry. NAE membership honors those who have made major advancements in engineering fields, like Liebert has, as well as those who have developed new fields, implemented innovative approaches to engineering education or made outstanding contributions to engineering literature through research, practice or education.
She is one of 111 U.S. members and 22 international members of the 2022 NAE class. This class will be formally inducted later this year during NAE's Annual Meeting. The new appointments bring NAE total membership in the U.S. to 2,338 and internationally to 310.
“Dr. Liebert’s achievements are an inspiration to Kentucky students who want to make an impact on the world,” said Rudy Buchheit. “She also reminds us of the important contributions of women leaders in our field and the need to continue to strengthen diversity.”
After graduating from UK, Liebert received a doctorate in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In 2004, Liebert became president of Alcoa’s Reynolds Food Packaging and Kama divisions. She remained with Alcoa until 2006, when she joined Honeywell to become vice president and general manager of the electronic materials business. In 2012, Liebert was made senior vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP. In 2016, she was named president and CEO of the division.
In 2018, Liebert joined PPG as senior vice president. She assumed her current role as executive vice president in 2019. At PPG, she focuses on engineering the best paints and coatings for the global automotive industry and the company’s mobility initiatives. Liebert also leads global operations for the industrial segment, the procurement function and the Asia Pacific region.
In 2021, Automotive News named Liebert one of the 100 leading women in the North American automotive industry.