For District I Director: D. Richard Cobb | September 7, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 36 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 36 | p. 79
Issue Date: September 7, 2009

For District I Director: D. Richard Cobb

Department: ACS News
Keywords: American Chemical Society, candidates, Election Statements

D. Richard Cobb

Rochester Section. Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y.

Born: 1949

Honors: Northeast Region ACS Volunteer Award, 2006; Special Recognition Award, ACS Division of Chemical Technicians, 2005, 2002; ACS Rochester Section Award, 2005, 2001; Salutes to Excellence Award, ACS Rochester Section, 2004

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Eastman Kodak Co., senior research associate, 1969 to date

Service in ACS national offices: Council Policy Committee (nonvoting), 2008–09; Committee on Membership Affairs, 2008–09, chair, 2008–09, committee associate, 2007; Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members, 2008–09; Committee on Admissions, 2002–07, consultant, 2008, chair, 2003–05, committee associate, 2000–01; Committee on Technician Affairs, 1998–2003, chair, 2000–02, committee associate, 1997; ACS Governance Review Task Force, 2005; Board Oversight Group on Leadership Development, 2005–2009

Service in ACS offices: Member of ACS since 1994. Rochester Section: councilor, 2008–10, 1999–2003; chair, 2007; chair-elect, 2006; secretary, 2005; alternate councilor, 2004, 1998–99; treasurer, 1995–97. Division of Chemical Technicians: councilor, 2007–09; chair, 1997; chair-elect, 1996; Membership Committee, chair, 1998. Northeast Regional Meeting: general chair, 2004. Northeast Region Board of Directors: vice chair, 2007 to date

Member: ACS Divisions: Chemical Health & Safety and Chemical Technicians


Cobb's Statement

As a candidate for the ACS Board of Directors, District I, I know this may not be the easiest time to serve on the board. However, the situation does not deter me; I look upon it as a challenge to blend my ACS experience and 40 years' experience in the industrial sector to ensure that we emerge stronger, with a firm foundation in place for the future. My focus is on the ongoing sustainability of the membership and members' benefits within ACS—and of the society as a whole. We need to ensure that ACS is economically strong, but we cannot build that foundation solely on the backs of our own membership through increased costs and lost benefits. I have seen enough of that and can guarantee that it neither fosters ownership nor builds sustainability.

With the recent amendment to the ACS Constitution & Bylaws (fall 2008), we have opened the doors of membership wider than ever before. At the same time, the business aspect of the society has changed how programs are run and how business is transacted. However, we cannot lose the focal point upon which our society was built—the individual member. As chair of the Committee on Membership Affairs, I am truly focused on providing the best benefits to our members for their dollar. As a member of the board, I would ensure we do not lose sight of the individual member while ensuring the stability of the economic foundation of the society.

Yes, times are tough. In the past 10 years, I have watched fellow workers be told that they are no longer of value. I have seen them drained of color, with tears in their eyes, demoralized by lost confidence and dignity. ACS needs to rise to the occasion more than ever before. I intend to be a watchdog for our unemployed members, to retain our current benefits for them, and to champion new concepts for all members—such as portable benefits for chemical workers—to help future chemists who will eventually see hard times again. We need to expand the use of our Legislative Action Network (LAN), not only to respond to legislation but also to promote ideas that can ensure quality of life for chemical professionals.

We are experiencing a time that no doubt resonates with many of our older members, touches some of the baby boomers, and is certainly new to our younger members. Many chemical professionals are finding their careers interrupted, and ACS itself has had to address budgetary concerns and contingencies. We now know there are things we need to do better and more efficiently for our members and for the sustainability of the society as a whole.

Leadership in the society requires a delicate balance between industry and academia, local sections and divisions, retired chemists and students, professors and technicians, the board and the council, old member and new. In my ACS career, I have been privileged to serve as a division leader (chair and councilor) as well as a local section leader (secretary, treasurer, chair, and councilor). I have chaired a regional meeting and three national ACS committees. But again, even with years of volunteer experience, I see the wisdom of Shunryu Suzuki, who said: "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind, there are few." We need to be open to the ideas that come from the next generation of ACS members. I am willing and able to walk the line to ensure that the balance is right, to help us move forward—together.

My pledge to you, as your director, is to be your eyes and ears on the ACS Board of Directors: to not only inform you about decisions the board has made but also to listen to you before those decisions are made. To do this, I will establish a District I Member Advisory Group, composed of one member from every section within the district, to provide input on issues and to help me communicate back to all members.

My vision for ACS is to be able to move into tomorrow with a society that is built on a firm foundation of membership value and opportunity, working directly with as many members and councilors from District I as possible to ensure that no one is told they're not of value. This is my pledge to you as I seek your support in this District I election.



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