Skip navigation

New network and learn logo.png


Are you looking for a quick-and-easy way to gather local industry members and industry professionals to network and engage them in your local section activities?


If so, we have the perfect solution: the new ACS Network & Learn program!


Under the program, we provide an exclusive, free video on an industry-relevant topic that can serve as a centerpiece for your networking events. The 30-minute presentation provides information, tips, and resources aimed at helping business professionals to streamline their processes, bolster business growth, and reduce regulatory pitfalls.


You provide the space, invite your guests from your local business community, and we will provide the content and promotional and support materials to help you build a complete program. It’s that easy!


Register now to receive the first video, which will be released in early May:


“Network & Learn: Consultants Tackle Your EPA Questions”

Register now at:


The video will feature three consultants who answer commonly asked questions related to Environmental Protection Agency regulation:


--Keith Belton, founder and principal of Pareto Policy Solutions in Washington, D.C.

--Marie Maks, founder of Marie Maks Regulatory Consulting in Wilmington, Del.

--Tony Noce, principal consultant at Haley & Aldrich in Bedford, N.H.


As you know, compliance with regulation is critical to any business, especially small businesses. For them, one fine alone could be enough to make them close their doors.  In this video, these consultants talk about how chemical businesses most run afoul of EPA, and offer tips and advice for remaining compliant within the complex regulatory system.


In addition to the video, we will provide a promotional flyer that you can easily customize. Also included is a list of tips for hosting a successful event, including inviting a local expert to lead a live, post-video discussion.


The Network & Learn program is sponsored by Procter & Gamble with support from ACS Immediate Past President Dr. Diane Grob Schmidt.


Questions? Please contact me!


Susan J. Ainsworth

Manager, Industry Member Programs

American Chemical Society


Hurrah! was my first response when learning that the proposed Pfizer/Allegan merger deal had been cancelled.  Of course, there were fewer cheers in Wall Street, where advisers to the deal will lose more than $200m of potential fees.  And Pfizer itself stands to lose up to $400m to Allergan in break-up fees. But overall, the end of the deal is excellent news for anyone concerned with the long-term health of Pfizer itself, and of course for everyone who works in the pharma industry. 


The very size of these fees confirms the flawed logic of the deal.  Think how much real value could have been created if the Pfizer board had chosen to invest these sums in building its own business.  The fact that around $600m was at play in a deal that was solely about tax savings, tells its own story.  And politically, the deal was clearly most unwise, given that it was unanimously denounced by those across the political spectrum. It succeeded in uniting Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in opposition, creating a rare moment of bi-partisan harmony in the otherwise bitter primary campaign. 


But why was it left to the U.S. Treasury Department to step in and stop the deal, in order to protect the public purse?  In my post last November, I had hoped that the eminent scientists on Pfizer’s board would have been the ones to veto it.  After all, as John LaMattina, Pfizer’s former head of R&D, had warned, the company’s current research activity would almost certainly have been targeted for major cost savings, given that Allergan’s CEO seemed set to take charge of new drug research and development:


“It is hard to believe that Pfizer, a company with a long history of discovering many of its own products, would put someone in charge with an avowed distaste for the challenges of drug research,” LaMattina said.


The question now, of course, is: what will the deal’s termination mean for Pfizer employees and for the future of its research activity? The good news is that the redundancies that were inevitable if the merger had gone ahead will not now happen.  But worryingly, it seems that financial engineering is still the main focus for Pfizer’s CEO, Ian Read.  Now that the merger with Allergan has failed, he has already indicated that he intends to break-up the company by selling off those businesses focused on low-cost drugs. It seems he wants to continue to pursue a high-margin strategy, as described by Forbes magazine, which reported last year that “34% of Pfizer’s revenue growth over the past 3 years has come from increasing prices on existing drugs.”


Surely, it is obvious that this strategy is taking Pfizer in entirely the wrong direction? 


The tax-inversion deal itself was an oxymoron.  It makes no sense at all for a company like Pfizer to spend so much effort on trying to artificially reduce its tax bill, when it depends on public funding for much of its revenue?  “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” is surely the sensible positioning in this area?


The strategy of aiming to grow profit by raising prices – for no additional public benefit - is similarly misconceived.  Surely, Pfizer’s board members have realised that the goose which has laid the golden egg for this type of approach is nearing the end of its useful life?  U.S. tax revenues, like those of most developed countries, are already coming under major pressure from population ageing. As we have discussed in my  ‘Chemistry & the Economy’ webinars, which run every six months, U.S. and other state-funded medical systems face a major cash crunch in coming years. 


The Trustees of the Medicare program have already warned that funding for hospital benefits will run out in just 15 years’ time.  And their latest report says they are now assuming “a substantial reduction in per capita health expenditure growth rates relative to historical experience.”  Other wealthy countries are equally cash-strapped.  The U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), already requires physicians to offer treatment based on cost effectiveness.  


The failure of the Allergan deal needs to be a wake-up call for Pfizer’s top management.  Any approach that is effectively based on milking the tax-payer is doomed to failure in today’s marketplace.  Instead, affordability and value-for-money will be the critical success factors for the future.


Pfizer needs to bring in new strategy advisers, immediately, who are more attuned to this real world.  The company needs advisers who will tell the board that selling off the lower-margin generics business is exactly the wrong move to make.  The current focus on high-priced niche markets is never likely to prove a recipe for success, given Pfizer’s position as the world’s largest pharma company. Rather, it risks confirming the old adage - namely that the easiest way of creating a small company, is to start with a large one.



Paul Hodges is chairman of International eChem (, trusted advisers to the chemical industry and its investment community. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Industrial Council on chemicals, advanced materials and biotechnology, and presents the ACS ‘Chemistry & the Economy’ webinars.

The ACS What Chemists Do short videos profile chemists and the diversity of careers in the scientific profession.


Hans Plugge, S.M., is a senior database toxicologist at 3E Company. Plugge explains his day-to-day responsibilities and shares his tips about fundamental courses that are helpful for students interested in toxicology.



Visit to discover the various industry member programs at the American Chemical Society.  What Chemists Do is produced by ACS Webinars.

The following multipart blog series was inspired by a conversation among a few friends about scientific communication, the current state of education in science and scientific integrity. To adequately cover such a broad topic, I’ve chosen to break it up into smaller, connected parts.


In the first entry of this series, I discussed scientific integrity and its vital role in changing the atmosphere of mistrust in corporate science. My second post explored the importance of clear and honest communication with the general public. I would like to wrap up the series exploring scientific literacy in the internet age and the interrelatedness of these topics in elevating the scientific public discourse.


In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet suggesting a link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Although the science in the paper was relatively soon shown to be complete bunk and the original paper retracted by the journal editors, the conclusions had already spread throughout the Internet and the pseudoscience community. Anti-vaccination campaigns spread across the western world. One of the biggest perpetuators of this false link between vaccinations and autism was talk show hostess, Jenny McCarthy, whose own son is autistic. Her very public platform led to the propagation of anti-vaccine websites and blogs across the Internet. Mothers in search of information would turn to the Internet and see more and more postings from other mothers with anecdotes of how their child developed signs of autism after receiving a vaccination. Even a current leading Presidential candidate has perpetuated the myth. The very real outcome of this pseudoscience is a decrease in vaccination rates and resurgence in diseases that were once under control in the developed world. In 2015, the US had its first death from measles in twelve years due to an outbreak that originated at Disneyland in late 2014.



So, where did we go so horribly wrong? The information age brought about by the explosion of the Internet has been a blessing and a curse. What used to be considered the body of knowledge existed in the form of encyclopedias on the bookshelf in your room. Now, most people carry orders of magnitude more information at their fingertips in the form of the smart phone in their pocket. The answer to most questions can be found with a swipe and a click. Unfortunately, that virtual bookshelf is also full of misguided opinion and misinformation. Google University does not make us all Ph.D.’s. In fact, we most often use the Internet to find information that supports our own preconceived notions. This phenomenon is known as confirmation bias and is well documented. We tend to search and find information that supports our already conceived opinions. Worse, social media algorithms tend to show us links that support our views based on our online activities. In short, we are surrounded by a world that wants to confirm our beliefs for us in spite of data contrary to those views. Far too often when found swimming in a sea of data, we fall back to the familiar and the trusted. We seek out the opinions of friends or family. Worse, we hear something from an adored celebrity and take it as fact.



In a world of information overload, critical thinking is crucial to sorting the truth from the noise. This is especially true in science. As parents and scientists, it is imperative that we teach our children critical thinking skills. We should be willing to go to schools on career days, volunteer in science classrooms, and engage in ways that promote critical thinking skills in our children. We need to actively work to raise the level of STEM literacy in this country so that in this massive alphabet soup of information, society will be able to sort through the bytes and influence public discourse based on facts and logic.


Science-based industries must play their part in defending their science against biased misinformation in the name of social and political agendas. If companies will not stand up for themselves, then the informed public will not likely stand up for them. But companies alone will not be successful in dispelling scientific misinformation. As individuals it is critical for us to engage our friends, families, and acquaintances when we see them propagating unsound science. In addition to promoting critical thinking, as discussed previously, we must always be acting ethically in our science; but we must also communicate with our audiences factually using language that is clearly understood by our audiences. The key to making all of these things work is trust. When we behave with integrity, communicate openly and clearly, and use defensible fact-based arguments, we create an atmosphere where our audience will listen with an open mind. Having increased critical thinking and scientific literacy, we will have created a field that is fertile for the seeds of science to germinate and grow. It is with this approach and in this environment that we have our best hope for removing “shill” from the scientific lexicon.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------


Jeff Seale is a Science Fellow at Monsanto where he has worked for 18 years building world-class protein engineering platforms and developing the next generation of science leaders. Outside of work he enjoys watching his children's artistic and athletic endeavors, sailing with friends and working to end extreme global poverty with the ONE Campaign. (The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Monsanto.)

We’d like to start off by thanking everyone who attended the San Diego National Meeting.  The National Meeting featured a smorgasbord of activities for industry members, as pointed out by Mark Jones.  Now that the San Diego National Meeting is over, we would like to reflect on some of those industry-focused events and thank their attendees and the partners who helped put the programs together.


2016 National Chemical Technician Award Luncheon

IMG_5497.JPGThe National Chemical Technician Award was established in 1989 to recognize outstanding career achievements of exceptional technicians.  The award is administered by the ACS Committee on Technician Affairs (CTA). This year, it was presented to Brian McCauley of DuPont at CTA's spring luncheon in San Diego. The award luncheon was held at the 2016 ACS spring national meeting in San Diego, California.  “I have always felt at home in the lab,” said McCauley, during his acceptance speech, “and I am truly pleased that work I enjoy can have such an important impact on the world.”


McCauley is an associate investigator in the Corporate Center for Analytical Sciences group of DuPont Science & Innovation. Based at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del., he is responsible for new method development for new materials, and product and project development support. He joined DuPont in 2009. McCauley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Colorado School of Mines. 


Industry Networking Event


Thank you to everyone who attended for making the night a success. Over 150 people attended the Industry Networking Event at the Harbor House Restaurant in Seaport Village, including ACS Executive Director and CEO Tom Connelly and Corporation Associates Committee Chair and ACS Immediate Past President Diane Grob Schmidt.  Diane addressed and welcomed the crowd before David Harwell, Assistant Director of Industry Member Programs, introduced the 2016 NCTA winner.


The event, which featured food, drink, and a raffle, was cosponsored by Corporation Associates (CA) and the Polymer Division’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB). Special thanks to Travis Baughman of DSM, Diana Gerbi of 3M, Michael Hunt of Polymaterials, and Mike Abrams of Arkema, who organized the event. 


Your EPA Questions Recorded For May Network & Learn Event

IMG_6989.JPGIf you saw a video crew filming people posing Environmental Protection Agency-related questions in San Diego, you may have been witnessing preparations for the upcoming Industry Member Programs Network & Learn program.  IMP manager Susan Ainsworth and the ACS Webinars team have been preparing a video that will feature a cadre of chemical industry consultants answering questions that are commonly asked about EPA regulations.


The video will be available in May, and will serve as a centerpiece for networking events that we invite you to host across the U.S. You provide the space, invite your guests from your local business community, and any local regulatory experts, and we will provide the content and support materials.  It’s that easy! Stay tuned for more information.




Photographs: From left to right, NCTA story: Kara Allen, Chair of CTA; Alexa Dembek, Director, Science & Innovation, DuPont; Brian McCauley, 2016 NCTA Winner, Dupont; John Gavenonis, Ph.D., CSCP Technical Manager, Dupont; and Douglas Muzyka, Senior VP and Chief Science & Technology Officer, Dupont. Industry Networking Event: Diana Gerbi, Vice-Chair of POLY and Senior Technical Manager, 3M; David Harwell, Assistant Director of Industry Member Programs, ACS; Diane Grob Schmidt, ACS Immediate Past President and Chair of Committee on Corporation Associates; and ACS Executive Director and CEO Tom Connely; N&L Filming: Michael David, ACS Webinars; Susan Ainsworth, ACS IMP Manager; and James Chao, retired IBM chemist and ACS Fellow.