Michael Silver (CEO)

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Michael N. Silver
Michael Silver American Elements CEO.jpg
Born (1955-05-10)May 10, 1955
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Metals & Chemicals Industry Entrepreneur
Organization President & CEO, American Elements
Known for Founder of American Elements
Materials Science Pioneer
Rare Earths & Inner Mongolian Mining
Spouse(s) Diane Nebolon Silver (m. 1993)

Michael Nathan Silver (born May 10, 1955) is a metals and chemicals industry business executive, philanthropist, commentator, and the founder and CEO of American Elements,[1] a global high technology materials manufacturer with one of the largest advanced materials catalogs. He was instrumental in establishing the post cold war rare earth supply chain from Inner Mongolia to the U.S. and Europe. His philanthropy includes sponsoring several hundred materials science and green technology conferences [2] and educational television programs on high technology. He writes and speaks on issues affecting the global high technology industry,[3] science education[4] and Sino-American relations.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Michael Silver was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) receiving a B.A. degree in Psychobiology in 1978 and then attended USC’s JD/MBA dual degree program graduating in 1982. He practiced corporate law for 10 years, specializing in mergers & acquisitions.[2]

Business career[edit]

Silver with UCLA delegation in Inner Mongolia in 2011

In the mid 90s Silver founded American Elements as a chemical manufacturer and metals refiner of rare earths and other critical metals serving the U.S. mining industry. Upon the near simultaneous closing of the Unocal/Molycorp rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California and the Rhodia rare earth refinery in Freeport, Texas, ending U.S. rare earths metal production, he flew to Baotou, Inner Mongolia and established one of the first post-cold war supply chains from Inner Mongolian mines directly to industrial end users in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Over the next 15 years he built American Elements facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah; Monterrey, Mexico; Baotou, China; and Manchester, England and expanded production to include newly discovered elemental forms of advanced materials such as nanoparticles,[6] green technology & alternative energy materials [7] and advanced military alloys.[8] By 2011, the company's materials catalog had grown to include over 10,000 items.

Philanthropic activities[edit]

Silver established the not for profit American Elements' Academics & Periodicals Department in 2006 to support high school, college and graduate school education in high technology and materials science.[2] Since its founding, the Department has sponsored over 400 academic and industry conferences in 25 countries in fields such as space exploration,[9] nanotechnology,[10] green technologies,[11] solar energy[11] and robotics.[12] In 2011, it co-sponsored with the National Science Foundation a four-part PBS TV series on NOVA entitled "Making Stuff" examining the world of materials science.[13] Silver funded and hosted a delegation in 2011 from the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California to the Inner Mongolian Medical Teaching College in Baotou, China which has led to student and teacher exchanges and the development of a joint AIDS program. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and donates material support to the artist-in-residence program at the UCLA Hammer Museum and the conservation departments at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Institute. He has also made in-kind donations of artwork to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.[14]

Writing and speeches[edit]

Silver writes and speaks on several topics including:

  • American Global Competitiveness in High Technology
  • The Physical and Geo-Political Scarcity of Critical Metals
  • Environmentalism and Green Technology
  • Ways to Promote Better Sino-American Relations

In 2010, Silver coined the phrases “Innovation Distortion” [15] to describe efforts to avoid the use of a given element solely because of concerns that it may be hoarded by nations with resource control of that material and “The Environmentalism Catch-22” to describe the dilemma faced by the environmental movement which both supports a green technology future reliant on solar energy, wind power, electric cars and fuel cells and concurrently opposes the mining of the critical metals from which these technologies are manufactured.[16] In October 2014, Silver's editorial discussing these ideas was published in the Wall Street Journal.[17]

Silver coined the phrase "Sovereign Monopolies" to describe nations that have a sufficient percent of the world's reserves of a given metal or mineral that they can dictate its cost and force industries requiring the metal to move production to their country to obtain preferential pricing.[18]


  1. ^ Bloommberg (2014-08-08). "Bloomberg West, Interview with Corey Johnson, August 8, 2014". Bloomberg. 
  2. ^ a b c "OSA Executive Series, Steve Jacobs interviews Michael Silver". Osa.org. June 27, 2012. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  3. ^ "American Elements CEO Commenting on WTO Rare Earth Action". Ntdtv.com. 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Larry O'Connor Show - Mike Silver Interview". Blogtalkradio.com. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  5. ^ "Rare Earth Junior Miners Should Applaud China". Community.nasdaq.com. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  6. ^ "American Elements announces I-MITE™ Indium nanoparticles for next generation transparent anti-static packaging and coatings," MicroNews - September 2008, Issue No. 72[dead link]
  7. ^ RenewableEnergyWorld.com (2007-03-16). "American Elements announces new AE Solar Energy™ Product Group, Renewable Energy World - March 16, 2007". Renewableenergyworld.com. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  8. ^ "American Elements announces new technological advance in precious metal foil manufacturing," Industrial Manufacturing News - May 4, 2007 Archived May 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ ISROS Sponsors Archived April 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "NanoMed Sponsors". Nanomed.uk.com. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  11. ^ a b "SPIE Sponsors". Asmeconferences.org. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  12. ^ Magnesium 2012 Sponsors
  13. ^ "NOVA | Making Stuff: Series Overview". Pbs.org. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  14. ^ "ICA LA Announces Inaugural Gala Bruncheon Honoring Carrie Mae Weems, A Capital Campaign Milestone and Three New Board Members". ICA LA. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  15. ^ "Chris, Cann. "Critical materials issues cut both ways." ''Mining Journal'' (28 Mar. 2014): 6. Mining Journal. Web. 04 Apr. 2014". Mining-journal.com. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  16. ^ "Critical Metals & American Jobs in the 21st Century". Americanelements.com. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  17. ^ "The Environmentalist’s Catch-22". online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  18. ^ "WTO Rules Against China On Rare Earths Export Restrictions". Bloomberg BNA International Trade Reporter. Bna.com. March 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 

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