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Comment: Why corporations ‘associate’ with ACS

by Don S. Wardius, chair, ACS Board Committee on Corporation Associates
July 16, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 23


Photo of Don S Wardius.
Credit: Christine Brennan Schmidt
Don S. Wardius

Corporation Associates (CA) is unique among the committees of the American Chemical Society, in that it is composed of legal entities rather than individuals. Companies that have chemistry at the core of their commerce may apply for membership and, once accepted, participate in the committee’s work.

Engagement with CA garners numerous advantages, including the opportunity to be involved in ACS decision-making and a road map to meaningful service. In return, CA provides ACS with a clear voice from industry.

The committee advises ACS on aligning with industry to grow in a mutually beneficial way as it seeks to responsibly address humanity’s needs.

CA’s strategic framework defines its priorities and guides its initiatives. The framework consists of six sections:

Preparing for the changing face of industry
Supporting industry initiatives
Advancing public policy
Fostering innovation
Recruiting and retaining diverse and qualified talent
Building the business case for sustainability

Joining CA gives your company the opportunity to work with ACS within this framework.

Awards that recognize the accomplishments of industrial chemists are an area of focus for CA. The committee conceived and helps administer the annual Heroes of Chemistry Awards. These high-profile awards recognize breakthrough contributions to societal welfare by the chemical enterprise. CA also sponsors two of the society’s national awards: the ACS Award for Team Innovation and the ACS Award for Creative Invention. Both are intended to honor notable accomplishments for the greater good. More information about ACS industry awards can be found at

Grants are another focus for CA. The committee offers seed grants to local sections, divisions, and international chapters with original new initiatives that support CA’s goals. Projects the committee funds include those with an industrial emphasis, those aimed at improving public understanding of the industry, and those targeting enhanced professionalism or safety in the chemistry enterprise.

Safety culture is an important aspect of working in industry, and safety is one of CA’s core values. The committee helps communicate and advocate for safety excellence within ACS; it participated in the 2022 ACS Presidential Safety Summit and advises on other safety initiatives of the society as they arise.

Engagement with CA garners numerous advantages, including the opportunity to be involved in ACS decision-making and a road map to meaningful service.

There is more—even beyond CA’s charge—that ACS should do to support industry and industrial members. This is why CA is enthusiastically supporting the board of director’s newly formed Industry Member Advisory Board. Through this board, the value that ACS brings to industrial members is being articulated and extended. CA sees tremendous potential for this board to achieve results that help individual members from industry grow in their careers and contributions and their employers to derive value from engagement in ACS.

CA has 20 members and is continually looking to grow. Diversity is a strength, and the committee comprises members from companies large, small, and every size in between. Current member companies are in commerce related to ­agriculture, commodity and specialty chemicals, consulting, consumer and industrial goods, drug discovery, energy, knowledge, materials, pharmaceuticals, and polymers. We welcome companies engaged in any field of chemistry to join.

It is exciting to have an inside view of what’s coming at ACS and a role in shaping it for the best outcome for industry and society. I hope you will consider what joining CA can do for your company and what the value of having such a position in the society means. If you have a question or see something to talk about, or to apply to join CA, I would be delighted to hear from you at

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


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