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For Director-At-Large: Kent J. Voorhees

by Kent J. Voorhees
September 6, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 36


Kent J. Voorhees

Colorado Section. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.

Academic record: Utah State University, B.S., 1965, M.S., 1968, Ph.D., 1970

Honors:Marvin Goldberg Service Award, ACS Colorado Section, 2006; ACS Colorado Section Award, 1995; Dean’s Excellence Award, Colorado School of Mines, 2003; Chemistry Alumni Award, Utah State University, 2001; R&D 100 Award, 2000, 2010; Faculty Fellowship Award, Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education (ORISE), 1995; American Men & Women of Science; Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in the World

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Colorado School of Mines, professor, 1986 to date; National Center for Toxicological Research, visiting scientist, 1995; ORISE, visiting scientist, 1995

Service in ACS national offices: Board of Directors, director-at-large, 2004–10; councilor ex officio, 2004–10; Committee on Professional & Member Relations, 2004–10, chair, 2006–07; Committee on Public Relations & Public Affairs, 2007; ACS Green Chemistry Institute Governing Board, 2007–10; Committee on Grants & Awards, 2009–10, 2004–05, chair, 2010; Council Policy Committee (voting), 1999–2004; Committee on Committees, 1993–98; Committee on Nominations & Elections, 1988–90; Committee on Chemical Abstracts Service, committee associate, 1999; Committee on Meetings & Expositions, 1983–88; Appointment of ACS Governing Board for Publishing Task Force, 2005–07; Board Goals Committee, 2005–06; International Strategic Planning Group, 2007; Electronic Dissemination of Meeting Content Task Force, 2008, 2010

Service in ACS offices: Member of ACS since 1968. Colorado Section: councilor, 1982–2004; secretary, 1980–81; Executive Committee, 1980–2004. Salt Lake Section: chair-elect, 1978; secretary-treasurer, 1975–76

Member: American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Related activities: Journal of Analytical & Applied Pyrolysis, editor, 2001 to date, Editorial Board, 1987–2000; Colorado School of Mines, Faculty Senate, 2004–06, 2008–11, Center for Advanced Biodetection, director, 2008–10, Chemistry Department Management Team, 2006–07; Utah State University College of Science Dean’s Advisory Board, 2008–10; ACS Green Chemistry Summer School, Organizing Committee, 2008–10, chair, 2008–09; International Symposium on Analytical Pyrolysis, Organizing Committee, 2004, 2006; National Research Council, Committee on EPA Safe Buildings, 2003; ACS meetings, symposia chair for New York City, Denver, and Cancún meetings; Gordon Research Conference on Applied Pyrolysis, chair, 1991; National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Flammability of Materials Used in Transportation, 1986–89; 5th International Symposium on Analytical Pyrolysis, chair, 1982; Petrex Inc., founder, 1985; MicroPhage Inc., founder, 2004, chief scientific officer, 2002–04; published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, edited one book, and hold seven patents

Voorhees’s Statement


There are few guarantees in life, but one thing that you can count on is that the world and, specifically, the chemical enterprise are ever-changing. It is necessary to have visionary ACS leadership to ensure that chemistry remains the foundation for the basic sciences. We must answer challenges with new ideas, using forward thinking, and have a firm commitment to action. I offer you my continued service to the ACS Board of Directors and my longtime dedication to local and national activities to reach this goal.

Challenges. The three areas that require board leadership are the following:

  • The image of chemistry
  • ACS membership value
  • Employment and globalization

Image of Chemistry. Chemistry’s lackluster image is at the root of a decreasing number of students pursuing chemical careers. It is also responsible for a lack of congressional support for chemical research. The best defense is an aggressive offense in counteracting negative press. We must remind both Congress and the general population of the numerous benefits chemistry has provided and continues to provide to their everyday lives. Innovative programs in areas such as green chemistry provide an opportunity to improve the public’s perception of chemistry. This is where 160,000 members can make a difference in promoting the benefits of chemistry.

Our strategic plan promotes the value of the chemical sciences and technologies to the quality of human life. The plan provides a tremendous platform, but it is the board’s obligation to ensure its implementation.

Membership Value. I chaired the Committee on Professional & Member Relations (P&MR), which has the responsibility of providing its members with the highest quality products to help develop their professional lives. Future ACS member programs and services will undoubtedly be more Web-based, and we must be ready to deploy them. To that end, the society has recently initiated two critical infrastructure projects: the Web Reinvention and the ACS Network.

I support these initiatives, and I have led the groundbreaking effort to make national meeting content available through the Web. Knowledge is power, and rapid communication is the fuel that drives and inspires innovation. Surveys from three national meetings have found that Internet access to national meeting content is considered an important membership benefit.

Employment and Globalization. ACS cannot create jobs, but it can help members through world-class tools for professional development and job searching. Our members deserve the best support during times of unemployment. By expanding our Web capabilities through the Office of Career Management & Development and the ACS Network, the society will become a global clearinghouse for chemical employment, including small businesses, where an increasing number of jobs are found.

Globalization is here to stay. Therefore, ACS must catalyze greater understanding of the global market for science by creating better dialogue on globalization among members, ACS committees, and staff at ACS’s headquarters. By connecting our members with chemical scientists around the world, the ACS Network puts the society in a unique position to advance global opportunities for itself and its members.

Furthermore, ACS needs to be the advocate for promoting the value of domestic research facilities for U.S. competitiveness. Innovation is research applied to human need, and by necessity it will drive our economy in a cost-competitive world. Industry and government can be our partners in encouraging bright, motivated students to select chemistry. In turn, those students can bring innovation to domestic industry and academia.

Solutions. All of our challenges have evolved over time, and we, as ACS members, must face them to leave the society in an improved position. We must be committed to rallying and educating the present and future generations of diverse and visionary chemical professionals. As a continuing director-at-large, I will provide direction for the society, and by working with you, I will be a sounding board for councilors. Satisfaction with our society increases if members’ views are truly heard.

My Experience and Pledge. I have worked continuously to improve ACS for the benefit of our members and profession:

  • Councilor for 28 years
  • Director-at-large for seven years
  • Member and chair of regular, elected council, and board committees

I have gained a broad perspective on the society’s finances and operations and will use my expertise for a balanced, transparent approach to maintaining stability. I pledge to continue using my talents to further the ACS strategic goals and to strengthen the position of its members. I ask for your support and would be honored to continue as a director-at-large for my last constitutional term.


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