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Greetings from the 4th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress!  I am an ACS travel award winner and traveled to the conference to present my research.  Thanks to the ACS for this wonderful opportunity.

In my experience, the first day of a new conference is dedicated to meeting an assortment of new people; this conference was no different.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other travel award winners and fellow ACS members. These contacts might develop into useful collaborations down the road.  However, my favorite part of talking to new people is listening to their stories.

The most inspiring story so far has been that of a scientist from Milwaukee, Wis., where I currently reside.  Alfred Bader, founder of Aldrich Chemical Company, fled Austria at the age of 14 to escape Nazi persecution.  He attended Queen’s University, receiving his BS and MSc, before attending Harvard for his PhD.  After some time at Pittsburg Plate Glass Co, Bader recognized a need in the marketplace for additional research chemical suppliers, prompting him to start Aldrich while working out of his basement and garage.  After merging with Sigma Chemical Corporation, Bader would later serve as president and chairman of the joint company Sigma-Aldrich.

Stories like this illustrate the reality of entrepreneurship as a viable career path.  Leveraging knowledge and taking a calculated risk when opportunity presents itself can be the makings of an exceptional company.