Eric Lorenz, 26
The next time you buy a bottle of Pure Leaf tea, thank Eric Lorenz. He’s the guy who figures out how to brew massive quantities of the product in a way that’s commercially feasible.
“I like to compare it to making a cup of tea,” says Lorenz. “My job is to be able to scale that up to 275 gallons, which adds a lot of complexity.”
Lorenz, who grew up in Briarcliff, attended Johns Hopkins University, earning both a BS in chemical and biomolecular engineering, applied mathematics, and statistics, and an MSE in chemical and biomolecular engineering. “Not many people in my major went into food science,” says Lorenz. “It was a calling; I realized I loved it so much.”
Lorenz joined Valhalla-based PepsiCo as a summer intern in 2013 and came back for a second summer. “As a chemical engineer, it’s fun to be able to play around with materials that aren’t going to be all that harmful for you,” says Lorenz. In 2015, he joined the company full-time and is currently working on getting his PhD in food science at Rutger’s University, taking classes remotely through PepsiCo’s tuition-reimbursement program. Lorenz is also an active member of the firm’s LGBTQ+ group, Equal.
Currently, Lorenz has turned his attention to PepsiCo’s partnership with Suntory, a distributor in Japan. “It’s so different from country to country,” he says. “It’s super-interesting.”