Committee on Corporation Associates | February 5, 2007 Issue - Vol. 85 Issue 6 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 6 | p. 31
Issue Date: February 5, 2007

Committee on Corporation Associates

Industry member group established to save CAS now focuses on improving education and responding to dramatic growth of small-business employment
Department: ACS News
Credit: Dow Corning
Credit: Dow Corning


Thomas H. Lane, Dow Corning

17 members on executive committee, two unpaid consultants, one ACS staff liaison, five committee liaisons

Special Committee of the Board of Directors

Awards, Finance & Grants; Educational Outreach; Programs; Public Policy

Established by ACS Board of Directors in 1952

IN THE LATE 1940s, technical literature and related publishing costs ballooned. And Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society, had financial problems.

Confronted with the necessity to decrease the extent of its publication program, the ACS Board of Directors appealed to the chemical industry for assistance. The response was Corporation Associates (CA), established in 1952 to provide support and direction to CAS, including revamping the pricing structure and implementing other changes affecting its publications. By the mid-1950s, the board had broadened the committee's purpose to give industry a voice in ACS beyond that of individual members from industry.

CA remains the formal link between ACS and the chemical enterprise, and the Committee on Corporation Associates (CCA) is its executive body. With industry changing dramatically in the past decade, the committee's work has become "dynamic," says committee Chair Thomas H. Lane, who is also the global director for science and technology outreach and a senior research scientist at Dow Corning. He says that two key thrusts for CA right now are addressing the growth of small-business employment and education.

ACS's industry members increasingly work for small companies, including start-up pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, rather than the traditional manufacturing giants such as Dow and DuPont, Lane says. The committee has to figure out how to bring more of those companies to the committee's table, he adds.

More than 60 companies support the profession and science of chemistry through membership in Corporation Associates. Each member company assigns an employee representative and pays annual dues on the basis of its number of employees. Those dues are then used by CA on ACS activities that benefit CA member companies.

Examples include support of new industrially relevant activities by ACS committees, local sections, and divisions; support for Capitol Hill briefings; industry networking opportunities; programs to enhance diversity awareness; and privileged access to market information, technical trends, manufacturing patterns, and market opportunities. The committee works closely with the ACS Office of Industry Member Programs.

CCA is currently composed of 17 representatives. CA convenes at national meetings, and CCA usually meets at other times of the year for strategic sessions. CCA also retains two ACS Board-approved consultants who advise and support its activities.

CCA's mission and objectives are achieved through the work of its four subcommittees.

The Awards, Finance & Grants Subcommittee recognizes industrial chemists and chemical engineers through the ACS awards programs (including national awards, Heroes of Chemistry, and the Regional Industrial Innovation Awards programs) and considers grant proposals for activities related to industrial chemistry.

The Public Policy Subcommittee represents the interests of the industrial enterprise to the various public policy groups within ACS, and the Subcommittee for Educational Outreach represents the industry's educational needs to ACS and leverages the efforts of the society to meet those needs.

Members on the Programs Subcommittee initiate, stimulate, and encourage programming of compelling interest to industrial members of ACS. In addition to programming at national meetings, CCA organizes forums that, for example, give undergraduates an opportunity to speak with chemists working in industry.

Lane says the information gathered from conversations with students is especially helpful to CCA's Educational Outreach and Public Policy Subcommittees. These conversations really help the subcommittees zero in on students' misperceptions about industry, from day-to-day industry operations to bonus and stock-option benefits at individual companies, he adds.

Keeping a viable pipeline of chemists in an age of globalization and increased change for the chemical enterprise is among the committee's future priorities, Lane says. A regular topic of discussion in the committee, he emphasizes, is how to educate future chemists who are technically competent, as well as curious and creative and who know how to collaborate and communicate.

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