When I took the helm as ACS president in January, one of the areas I promised to focus on was bolstering ACS’s role within industry. Over the past nine months, I have worked to communicate with chemical industry leaders about the value ACS brings to their employees, and ultimately their operations. Because I have been on both sides of the fence--both as a senior scientist and section head with Procter & Gamble and a 10-year veteran of the ACS Board of Directors--I know ACS has a lot to offer industry.
And over the past months, I’ve supported the development of additional programs and resources to help ACS become an even more highly valued asset for its industrial members.
Working with ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Tom Connelly, I helped to organize a Chemical Sciences Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Summit to facilitate the exchange of views among CTOs on precompetitive subjects. It took place Sept. 23-24. Tom and I also kicked off a series of visits with CEOs and CTOs at several companies ranging from large to small, including DuPont, Eli Lilly, P&G, Arkema, Chemtura, and Nova Biomedical. Our aim: to listen and better understand the challenges facing chemical industry CEOs and CTOs and explore how ACS can help address those challenges.
Next year, I will continue to work to ensure that the issues addressed by the CTOs that will benefit our members are put into place. Now that the inaugural CTO Summit has concluded, we are looking to implement new offerings that improve the career paths of our industrial members.
Recognizing the important role the chemical enterprise plays in driving U.S. innovation, job creation, and economic growth, I have encouraged ACS to partner with other organizations—including the American Chemistry Council--to find common areas of interest in the advocacy arena.
Immediate Past President Tom Barton and I established a Presidential Task Force on Addressing Workforce Needs through Industry/Two-Year College Partnerships. The Task Force is examining the workforce needs of the chemical industry and the capabilities of two-year colleges to meet those needs. The Task Force is identifying successful programs where partnerships between local industry and two-year institutions have produced an increasing number of graduates with the skills needed to meet the workforce demands of local industry. By December 31, 2015, the Task Force will produce a concise report that summarizes the workforce development issues addressed and articulates the strategies needed to create partnerships that will better meet the workforce needs of the chemical industry at the two-year college level. The Task Force will make recommendations for action by an Implementation Task Force in 2016.
I am working closely with the ACS Office of Public Affairs to search for ways to develop, introduce, and support congressional and executive branch actions based on effective, commonsense principles that support and advance U.S. innovation. I encourage all members to help advance the ACS agenda on Capitol Hill by advocating on behalf of our priorities.
On another front, I applaud the Committee on Corporation Associates (CA) and its chair, Dawn Mason, in implementing CA’s new two-year strategic plan. CA’s mission is to influence ACS programs, products, and services to meet the needs of chemistry-based companies and provide a business and corporate voice to the ACS Board of Directors and across ACS.
Acting on the results of recent studies and surveys of industry members, we have been working to focus on items most important to industry members: topics related to their current job, training that provides new information and boosts productivity, resources for networking and collaboration, and ways of improving company processes.
Together, we have been working with ACS staff to tackle many projects, including building a new website for industry at www.acs.org/industry, revamping the Industry Insights newsletter, and creating this Industry Voices blog to provide timely information and stories related to life in industry. We encourage you to contribute to the conversation.
To help industry members get more out of national meetings, CA has hosted additional networking events, developed industry-relevant programming and symposia, urged ACS staff to better publicize specialized content, and continued to honor industry teams through the Heroes of Chemistry gala event.
Throughout the year, I have worked with the ACS Webinars team along with the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists to produce the 2015 Drug Design & Delivery Symposium for industrial chemists. In addition, in partnership with the divisions on Professional Relations, Small Chemical Business, and Business Management & Development, as well as the Committee on Chemical Health & Safety, we launched the ACS Program in a Box webinar series for industry. And we have teamed up with the Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs and our Career Consultants to present ACS Career Pathways workshops, professional training courses, and leadership courses for all members through the ACS Career Navigator.
Staying true to the theme of my presidency, “Inspiring and Innovating for Tomorrow,” I am proud to be a champion for the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, which ACS launched roughly a year ago. I’m also proud to be a strong proponent of the ACS Scholars program , which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. These programs both help to grow a strong pipeline of future chemists who will be needed to solve the challenges of sustainability and many other global problems going forward.
I’ve also continued to highlight and support ACS programs that help chemists bond better with the public. Those include the Chemistry Ambassadors initiative, the “Reactions” online video series, and the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program.
It’s been a busy year so far, but we’re not done yet. In the remaining months of my presidency and beyond, I’m continuing to work with so many others to ensure that ACS will become an even more highly valued asset for its industrial members and the entire chemistry enterprise in the years to come.
If you have feedback or suggestions, I encourage you to share them with me at email@example.com.
Diane Grob Schmidt is President of the American Chemical Society 2015. Diane is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received an M.S. from the University of Tennessee, and a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati in Organic Chemistry. Immediately after finishing her Ph.D., she joined the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), where she served as Section Head with responsibility for safety and regulatory affairs before retiring in 2014.