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Adjunct Professor, Chemical Engineering
Ricardo Levy is an executive and entrepreneur whose career spans more than three decades of founding and building successful businesses. Born and raised in South America to a European immigrant family, he completed engineering studies in the United States at Stanford and Princeton before returning to South America to run a family business. In 1969 he sold the business and returned to the United States to complete his Ph.D. at Stanford in the field of catalytic chemistry. In 1974, after a number of years in the petroleum and petrochemical industry, he co-founded his first entrepreneurial venture, Catalytica, a research and development firm serving the chemical, pharmaceutical, and clean energy industries. The firm’s discoveries resulted in over one hundred patents and led to the formation of three companies, one of which became, under Levy’s leadership, the largest supplier to the pharmaceutical industry in North America and was sold to European firm DSM in 2000. He has served on several public and private Boards, is Lead Director of the Board of a private analytics software company, and serves on the Board of Aquarius Energy, Inc. From 2010 to 2016 served on the Advisory Board of the Santa Clara University Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, a global incubator of social entrepreneurs. He continues to be a mentor for that program. He is a Lecturer at the Stanford University Chemical Engineering Department, where he teaches a course on entrepreneurship, leadership and new venture creation. He is the author of the book “Letters to a Young Entrepreneur: Succeeding in Business Without Losing at Life – A Leader’s Ongoing Journey” published in 2015. Throughout his life, Dr. Levy has pursued a keen interest in spirituality and personal growth and his conviction that a person’s inner beliefs and purpose are deeply linked to business success. He has continually applied his diverse studies to his roles as a business leader, mentor and teacher.