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John K. Borchardt

by Susan J. Ainsworth
February 25, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 8

John K. Borchardt, 66, an oil and energy consultant, technical writer, and ACS career consultant, died on Jan. 25 while attending an ACS Leadership Institute meeting in Dallas.

A native of Chicago, Borchardt earned a B.S. in chemistry from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1968 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Rochester in 1973.

He worked at Halliburton Services from 1977 until 1984, when he moved to Shell Chemical. In 1999, he moved to Tomah Products, where he served as a technical manager for three years.

Borchardt is credited with 30 U.S. patents and more than 125 international patents; he was the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers related to his work as an industrial chemist.

In 2005, he began working as a technical writer and volunteer career consultant with ACS. He authored the ACS/Oxford University Press book “Career Management for Scientists and Engineers” and authored or coauthored more than 1,500 career-oriented articles published in magazines, newspapers, and encyclopedias.

He became a member of ACS in 1969 and was active in the Wichita Falls-Duncan Section, serving as its councilor. Later, he was a councilor of the Division of Professional Relations, which presented the Henry Hill Award to him in 2003.

“John had an enormous impact in the lives of hundreds of students and chemists,” says David Harwell, assistant director for career management at ACS. “He devoted himself to service and was a foundational and ever-present volunteer,” he adds.

Borchardt is survived by two brothers, Steve and Jerry.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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