Alumni Profile: Charles Lancelot '62

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Charles Lancelot, Ph.D. has spent almost his entire career in the plastics industry, and is recognized as an expert in the field of plastics recyclability and biodegradability.

 

Lancelot worked for more than three decades in research and development and also commercial development at Ansell International, Rubbermaid and Mobil Chemical before starting his Atlanta-based firm XCaliber Associates, Inc. His company provides consulting as well as contract research and development to plastic material suppliers and end users. Lancelot works closely with a number of organizations that perform all of his clients’ testing and analysis, including the

Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

Lancelot’s long experience with the highly competitive plastics end-user sector has shown him the economic realities surrounding the use of recycled plastics without sacrificing performance. This is where a disconnect exists with respect to the recycling community, according to Lancelot. “You don’t come at it from a recycling angle, you come at it from a plastics reuse economics angle,” he says. “Recycling will never be truly sustainable unless it’s profitable. The recycled materials must be pulled through without cost penalty or subsidies.” He’s learned this isn’t a popular statement with many activists, but after three decades in the industry he says he understands how to pull strings, not push issues.

 

Lancelot, however, isn’t all work and no play. In his spare time he plays concert piano, having studied organ performance at Notre Dame in addition to chemistry. And at age 47 he started a new-to- him hobby: running. He ran seven marathons in his 50s and continues to run all distances, traveling across the country for races. In addition to English, he’s also fluent in Spanish, and has spent 15 years as the pianist/organist for the Hispanic Choir at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Cumming, Georgia. In 2017 he helped form a Hispanic children’s choir. “I am truly astonished at how rapidly these kids learn to sing and play mandolins, guitars, flutes, etc. They are fully bilingual and handle our bilingual Masses as well.” Lancelot says it’s difficult to pinpoint his biggest takeaway from his undergraduate education at Notre Dame, but “I guess if I had to pick one, it was learning balance and perspective when dealing with a multitude of high-intensity priorities.”

 

He enjoys returning to campus for every alumni reunion, singing in the Reunion and Community Choirs and running the Sunburst 10K race. “Notre Dame was a very challenging place, and still to me represents a marriage of spiritual essentials and professional excellence,” Lancelot says. “Rushing across the campus from the Sunburst finish line to the dorm and back to CoMo (Coleman-Morse) in time for Reunion Choir practice is not much of a different drill than it was half a century ago.”

 

Lancelot earned his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Princeton University in 1971.