Our experts share their thoughts on asphalt sustainability, innovation, safety and creating a culture of care.


Sumer Lucas has been an important part of the Polyco R&D team since 2012. She’s a team player who wears many hats. Sumer was recently appointed to a new director position at Polyco, where she’ll continue to be a key researcher while stepping into a more formal leadership role. We spoke with Sumer about what she likes most about working in the research field and what excites her the most about working at Polyco.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Polyco. 

It’s been pretty amazing coming up with Polyco for the last ten years and the insane amount of growth that’s taking place in the last decade. What’s even more awesome, is that I’ve had the amazing opportunity to grow and advance with Polyco. My position at the company entails development of all roofing and paving product formulations. I specifically study asphalt chemistry and its behavior with different polymers. For example, I’m in charge of the current and future development of the Sigmabond formulation. To make it perform even better, we’re diversifying our technologies and manipulating chemistries of asphalt and non-asphalt materials. The goal is to satisfy the needs of our customers while making everything renewable, recycled and sustainable.  

Basically, I’m a big nerd. I love to learn, tinker with stuff, ask questions about everything and never assume anything is where it should be, which is why my position at Polyco is so perfect for me because I can be continuously curious. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

My biggest love is scuba diving. I became an assistant instructor of scuba diving in college, and now, I’m a rescue diver and a master diver. Along with scuba diving, I love exercising. I love lifting weights, running, hiking — really anything that allows me to be active or outside. Whenever I’m out in the wilderness and see things like moss or cool creatures, it takes me back to my biology background.

I also enjoy an active lifestyle with my kids. I have two kids who are autistic, and they’re both amazing. They’re the coolest kids on the planet, and I think that autism makes them that much more creative, interesting and unique. They have brilliant little minds. So, that’s pretty much all I do — try to find time to vacation, scuba dive, be outside, hike, travel and be with my kids.

What does a typical day look like for you at Polyco? 

Every day is different — that’s one of the fun things about work. The day-to-day ultimately revolves around manipulating the technology and the mechanisms we currently have to make them even better, coming up with a new thing to create, or fixing something that’s not working.  

What’s your favorite part about working at Polyco? 

My favorite part about working at Polyco has always been the technology piece and the fact that we are never satisfied with just achieving a goal that we set for that year; we want to do more. So we constantly strive to get better and better, and we are technologically driven. We are all curious people who are never content, making people who are super nerdy, like me, very happy!  

What did you do before you joined Polyco? 

I knew I wanted to do something in science or research since I was four years old. I developed a love for  insects, so I initially wanted to become a field researcher. But then I found chemistry and fell in love with it. I then started to study the chemical mechanisms that happen in insects and became absolutely obsessed with the adaptations of chemicals that insects have that evolved from natural selection. I was also really excited about chemistry in general, with all the different mechanisms of organic chemistry. 

Anything else you want to add about your professional experience? 

I’m working on my MBA right now with a concentration on energy management, so I’ll be able to learn about laws and regulations concerning green technology. It’s been really rewarding so far.

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