Despite the fact that she lived in a male-dominated world, Trudy Dickinson managed to successfully integrate herself in both the worlds of business and science. Dickinson, alongside Jean Thomas, founded Pentex Incorporated, a manufacturing company that was heavily invested in the production of blood proteins. Her company was single-handedly responsible for filling laboratory notebooks with development and research into blood proteins and their application within the healthcare industry.
Originally founded in 1953, Pentex remained an active player in the industry until 1998, when it was purchased by Serological Proteins, Inc. Despite the fact that Dickinson was successful for nearly 40 years, she was an incredibly humble, science-focused woman. Sadly, this remarkable woman passed away in late October 2016, at the age of 93.
Trudy Dickinson’s Life
Dickinson led an incredible life, and not just within the scope of her business. A true lover of innovation, she often pushed for her employees to think outside the box. Although she was a formidable businesswoman, she was a scientist first and foremost, and she never overlooked that fact. Born in June 1923 in Texas, she graduated from high school after spending most of her teenage years picking cotton. Not satisfied with the job, she chose to attend North Texas State University. Dickinson went on to earn a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science, majoring in chemistry, biology, and physics, all at the same time, with little more than a trusty lab notebook at her side.
This is an incredible course load for most people, even in today’s world, but, for Dickinson, it is a special accomplishment simply because of the time period in which she graduated. In 1944’s rough political climate, most women were focusing on administrative work, writing, and other female-dominated tasks, rather than seeking out multiple degrees. She also completed a degree in the midst of WWII—a time when most people were focused on the devastation of war.
After serving in a variety of positions within both the healthcare industry and educational industry, including one where she was responsible for achieving an ISO 9002 Certificate of Compliance for the plant at which she worked, Dickinson became a patent librarian for Standard Oil Company. From there she moved to Cook County Hospital, where she served as Director of Biochemistry. It was here that she became inspired to open Pentex Incorporated.
Awards and Achievements
Dickinson didn’t retire until late 1995, after an illustrious career in science that spanned nearly 50 years. Within that timeframe, she was granted a long list of commendable rewards. Some of her best awards include:
- An Athena Award
- Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year
- Honoree in the Harvard Business School Publication: The Women MBA
- Honorary Doctor of Business Administration at North Central College
- The Olivet Nazarene University Lifetime Achievement
- Reed Institute for Advanced Study of Leadership
- Kankakee Community College 2016 Foundation Visionary Award
In addition to these achievements, she also remained a fixed and steadfast role model for other women who wanted to break into science or business, a constant reminder of what was possible and why women were just as capable as their male counterparts.
Are you a woman in science who looks up to Trudy Dickinson, too? Having the right tools at your side can greatly benefit your research. Visit Scientific Notebook Company for scientific notebooks and other equipment to help make your life’s research much easier.