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For director-at-large: Rodney M. Bennett

by Rodney M. Bennett
September 10, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 33


A photo of Rodney M. Bennett.
Credit: ACS
Rodney M. Bennett

Central North Carolina Section. Winding Trails, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Academic record: Wake Forest University, BS, biology and chemistry, 1979.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2015; ACS Agrochemical Division, fellow, 2005; Royal Australian Institute of Chemists, fellow, 2006; American Institute of Chemists, fellow, 1989; National Certification Commission in Chemistry, certified professional chemist, 1985.

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Winding Trails, principal and owner, 2016–; Critical Path Services, vice president, 2015, business development, 2016–17; Jai Research Foundation America, vice president operations, 2007–15; Cerexagri, group leader, 1999–2007.

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Committees, 2019–21; Committee on Divisional Activities, 2016–18, 2013–18, chair; Committee on Strategic Planning, 2016–18; Council Policy Committee, (nonvoting), 2016–18; Strategic Planning Committee, 2016–18; ACS Safety Special Planning Session, 2017; Advisory Board, Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2003–.

Service in ACS offices: Agrochemicals Division: councilor, 2012–20; alternate councilor, 2009–11, 1997–2001; chair, 2004; chair-elect, 2003; vice chair, 2002. Central North Carolina Section: chair, 2020, 1999; chair-elect, 2019, 1998; secretary, 1997; treasurer, 1996; editor, Triad Chemical Times, 1997. Academic Industrial Matrix, chair, 1995–98. Chemical Society of Washington: secretary, 1994; board member, 1992–94; Editorial Board, The Capital Chemist, 1992–94.

Member: Member of ACS since 1979. American Association for the Advancement of Science; Association of Official Analytical Chemists; American Institute of Chemists; National Association of Independent Crop Consultants; American Society for Testing and Materials; Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; Weed Science Society of America; North American Chemical Residue Workshop Group. ACS Divisions: Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Agrochemicals; Analytical Chemistry; Business Development and Management; Environmental Chemistry; Professional Relations; Small Chemical Businesses.

Related activities: Divisional Officers Caucus, 2001–10.

Bennett’s statement

I am humbled and excited to be nominated for the ACS Board of Directors. Now, more than any other time in history, we have the will and the means to fulfill ACS’s vision of “Improving all people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

The board is the governance portion responsible for listening, acting, and supporting all of ACS by:

Listening to all constituents including ACS staff. The board is responsible for oversight that ensures ACS continues to grow. Governance, ACS staff, and all ACS members have a voice in the programs and activities of the society.

Acting to provide policies and resources of the organization to best serve ACS’s membership. New and current programs must be put into action and reviewed to ensure sustainability.

Supporting the various constituencies on the local, regional, national, and international platforms by building a framework of sustainable and equitable policies that support ACS’s mission and strategic plan at all levels.

What might I add to the ACS Board of Directors?

I see three major opportunities where I may provide a unique and valuable perspective.

1. Having worked in global industrial settings with various cultures and age groups, I have had the wonderful opportunity to learn how to listen not just to the words but the meaning of what is being said. By listening to our members and drawing from their experiences, we are better able to serve our constituents. As we all work toward a common goal of excellence, our understanding and support of each other becomes more critical. We have seen the challenges and opportunities of a virtual network for communicating and social interaction. By reaching more people and investigating their needs, we can adapt ACS for the future. Change is inevitable and is often painful.

2. Understanding how to put words into action is another critical need that ACS has provided and must continue to provide for all its members throughout the world. Over the past 40 years, I have worked with many different societies and cultures. ACS continues to be viewed as an unbiased and authoritative resource for chemistry. As my career transitioned from working at the bench to managing a group and directing a research organization, direct action remains a powerful tool. Recognizing a problem or opportunity is the first step, which includes listening. Formulating an action plan is next, and this will always require support from others (often with specific skills that will provide solutions and improvements). I have seen effective action take place over the past 3 years. Change may be difficult, but it is critical for growth. Our members deserve a flexible and supportive ACS organization. The recent streamlining measures, adopted by the council and the board, emphasize the need to have a flexible and responsive society. The excellent educational resources of ACS are a critical component for developing all of our members and providing support for those who have been marginalized.

3. Understanding the interconnectivity of the ACS organization is one aspect that allows each component to work together at all levels. Support of our overall governance and committee structure must allow for diversity and respect as a natural occurrence. Barriers must be acknowledged and support provided for all segments of our constituency to fully participate. As an author and reviewer, I have a special respect for ACS Publications, which is the engine of our society. We must continue to tap into the intellectual resources of our current and potential members and provide new and innovative ways for our members to access these resources throughout their careers. We must fully utilize our young, middle-career, and senior resources. The K-12 teachers are the first line of essential workers in our science. I want to provide more connectivity and support for K–12, 2- and 4-year colleges and graduate student education. We must not leave out our industrial and government members either. All of these contribute to basic and applied research components that are critical for maintaining a healthy and growing society. Oversight is needed to ensure resources for a clean and sustainable environment.

In closing, I am excited to take on these challenges with your insight, help, and support. Together, we can continue to make the American Chemical Society work for all our constituents and improve our global community. Please put me to work for you as a director-at-large! I ask for your vote to start this journey!

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