Heather Estes, M.S.


Heather Estes

Materials Research Scientist

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety


B.S., Biology, Florida Institute of Technology

M.S., Chemistry, University of North Carolina-Wilmington

At the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety in South Carolina, Heather Estes specializes in material identification to provide a better understanding of the performance of residential and commercial construction materials. Her research in full-scale wind tunnels and how materials respond to forces of high winds, rain, hail and wildfire exposure helps manufacturers develop cost-effective, high performance building materials.

Work environment:

The environment is pretty fast-paced, but people are collegial and do their best to work together. Because we are conducting cutting-edge research, we all wear different hats and work together to get the job done.

Travel schedule:

I split my time between the office and the lab. During the spring, I travel to the field to gather ground-truth data for hail.

What you like most about your job:

I like that there is something new every day. Some days I miss being away from the bench, but I enjoy not conducting monotonous research.

Best career advice you’ve received:

Networking opportunities are all around you. You never know what door may open by making a new connection.

And always remember to have fun! You will spend a large amount of your time at work and in your research, so try to find something you are passionate about.

Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:

I enjoy multi-tasking, and I'm very detail orientated. I enjoy making an impact on my industryand being a part of the changing environment.


Following ACS on Twitter. I love the infographics about different materials.

How you've benefited from being an ACS member:

I have become more involved with local chemists and have been able to talk to several student groups about getting involved.