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Creating value for industry chemists and entrepreneurs

by H. N. Cheng, ACS immediate past president
February 7, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 5


H. N. Cheng.
Credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng
H. N. Cheng

I am excited to announce the launch of ACS In-Person Connect. This will be a new, free feature on the expo floor at the ACS Spring 2022 meeting intended to address the needs of our industry attendees, academic inventors, entrepreneurs, service providers, investors, and consultants, and specifically to facilitate meetings and collaboration among them.

As part of ACS Spring 2022 registration, attendees will be able to schedule face-to-face meetings with one another to share career advice, discuss new technology and products, tackle business challenges, collaborate, make deals, and more. This is not just another networking event; rather, ACS In-Person Connect participants will be able to have deeper, more meaningful conversations and make progress toward tangible business outcomes. The ACS In-Person Connect space in the expo hall will provide dedicated areas for attendees to meet and connect.

ACS In-Person Connect has been created to address the needs of our industry attendees, academic inventors, and entrepreneurs.

The following are some examples of how you might use ACS In-Person Connect at ACS Spring 2022:

Demonstrate your innovation for a prospective investor or corporate partner.


Forge partnerships between academia, industry, and government, relating to technology transfer, collaborative projects, or student internships.

Find consultants and service providers to help with your work or partners to outsource custom synthesis, manufacturing, analytical, or marketing needs.

Seek insights from peers and mentors across industry to help guide a career decision.

Interview a promising candidate for a position at your company.

Explore a new business idea with feedback from a key stakeholder.

Reconnect with a colleague to share updates about the business climate.

Exchange information about trends impacting your work with a colleague, business partner, or client.

It’s my hope that participants will emerge from ACS In-Person Connect with fresh ideas to solve their business challenges and momentum to pursue new opportunities. Of course, the contacts you make will help build relationships, perhaps bringing in new partners, clients, business, and career opportunities to your enterprise. To participate in the program, you need to schedule an in-person connection as part of the meeting registration.

This program reflects the goal for my 2021 ACS presidency to ensure that members’ views are expressed and taken into consideration so that ACS can provide innovative programming to meet member needs and to strengthen member value.

Working with the ACS Membership Division, we have focused on a few ways to enhance member value with ACS offerings, including:

strengthening the bond between ACS and its members by responding to member needs

enhancing value for all chemistry professionals

supporting innovation, collaboration, and career programs

We have been especially interested in how ACS can enhance the probability of success for entrepreneurs and corporate managers across the chemistry enterprise and build a community of ACS members and colleagues interested in innovation, entrepreneurship, business management, consulting, academic-industry-government collaboration, and networking.

These areas of focus dovetail with recent member feedback—especially from divisions like Small Chemical Businesses and Business Development and Management—and insights gathered through in-depth interviews with ACS Fall 2021 attendees in Atlanta about what our industry members are seeking from ACS for professional advancement and for meeting new business challenges.

Through these and other feedback mechanisms, we’ve heard that members from industry value the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and opportunities to collaborate toward innovative and practical solutions for business, as well as dedicated resources for professional advancement in industry.

It’s with this vital feedback, and the pillars of my platform as 2021 ACS president in mind, that ACS In-Person Connect has been created to address the needs of our industry attendees, academic inventors, and entrepreneurs.

As I continue my year as 2022 ACS immediate past president, I’m pleased with the progress ACS has made in its commitment to growth, collaboration, and advocacy, not just to benefit the chemical enterprise writ large but also as it pertains to the services, opportunities, and benefits ACS offers its members. ACS In-Person Connect is one of many recent examples of ACS developing innovative programming in direct response to member feedback—something I’m excited to see continue under our strong ACS presidential succession.

I plan to continue to listen to what our members want and collaborate with ACS leadership to implement impactful initiatives that benefit our members. I invite you to connect with me and share your ideas to enhance the value of ACS membership. You can reach me at

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


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