ARE YOU A TECHNICIAN analyst, operator, or other applied chemical technology professional? Do you work with, supervise, or mentor applied chemical technology professionals? Do you educate the next generation or volunteer with applied chemical technology professionals in your local section or division?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have a unique opportunity to make an impact in this time of change.
THE CHANGES This year is a milestone for applied chemical technology professionals in ACS. The recent changes in membership categories, which go into effect in June, mean that virtually all applied chemical technology professionals will be eligible for ACS membership, regardless of their work experience.
There are more than 350,000 applied chemical technology professionals working in the U.S. In December, the Committee on Technician Affairs (CTA) cosponsored the Applied Chemical Technology Professionals Summit to identify ways ACS can best engage this community.
The summit was sponsored and organized by the Division of Chemical Technicians (TECH). Participants in the summit discussed the role of technicians in industry, both past and present, and predicted their roles in the future. They discussed the needs of applied chemical technology professionals, the resources available, and what resources are still needed. A complete report of the summit is available on the CTA website.
One of the more interesting findings was that 93% of ACS members who identified themselves as technicians on their ACS membership applications belong to technical divisions other than TECH. Clearly, technicians and other applied chemical technology professionals have found their homes in ACS.
Since TECH is no longer the primary home for applied chemical technology professionals, it has proposed to dissolve. Many of TECH's activities, such as the National Chemical Technician Award, can be taken up by CTA. TECH and CTA are working with other ACS bodies to ensure that the remaining activities can be integrated into existing ACS programs, products, and services.
THE OPPORTUNITY The summit helped demonstrate a wealth of ACS resources for applied chemical technology professionals, yet many technician members and their employers still believe ACS has little to offer this vital segment of the chemical enterprise. CTA needs your help to address this disconnect.
There are many opportunities for you to make an impact. Here are a few:
◾Reach out in your technical division. Technicians and other applied chemical technology professionals have been presenting technical papers at ACS meetings for decades, usually in symposia organized in CTA or TECH. However, it makes more sense for technicians to present in symposia organized by the divisions to which they belong.
◾Encourage applied chemical technology professionals in your division to present. Develop technician-oriented symposia or integrate them into other symposia. Promote active involvement of applied chemical professionals in division leadership roles. Also, review your division's offerings and find out what resources are most appropriate for applied chemical technology professional members.
◾Encourage volunteers in your local section. Technicians and applied chemical technology professionals are action-oriented and make great volunteers. Encourage them to participate in local section activities, as well as to run for elected offices. If your local section has a technician affiliate group, collaborate on activities with its members. If your local section does not have a technician affiliate group, then consider starting one.
◾Partner with CTA. While committee members are appointed, the vast majority of CTA members are ACS members who expressed an interest in amplifying the voice of the applied chemical technology community within ACS governance. Serving on CTA is your chance to contribute to that voice. Additionally, CTA is always looking for collaboration opportunities. If you are involved in an activity that could enhance the educational or professional development options available to the applied chemical technology community, please let us know about it.
◾Get a member. Encourage the applied chemical technology professionals you know to join ACS through the Member-Get-A-Member campaign. The more applied chemical technology professional members we have, the greater their voice in ACS.
The celebration. In 2009, CTA will celebrate its 45th anniversary. Join CTA's celebration at the fall 2009 ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C. CTA will cosponsor a symposium with the current and past ACS presidents reflecting on the huge contributions of technicians to their careers.
CTA will also host a reception to honor influential people in its past, mark the incredible changes in effect now, and look to the opportunities of the future. Everyone who is concerned about the interests of the applied chemical technology community is invited.
This is an exciting year for applied chemical technology professionals in ACS. Embrace the changes, take advantage of the opportunities, and help us make ACS the preeminent global community for applied chemical technology professionals.
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.