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Corporation Associates: Honoring the past and looking to the future

by Diane Grob Schmidt, Chair, Corporation Associates
October 24, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 42

Diane Grob Schmidt
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Corporation Associates (CA), an American Chemical Society committee of the ACS Board of Directors, will soon be celebrating a milestone: 2017 marks its 65th anniversary. Although CA has changed in its composition and functionality over the years, it remains the formal link between ACS and chemical and allied industries.

If you work in industry and your employer is not already a member of CA, it is my hope that this article will spark your interest in the committee and that you will encourage your company to join CA. CA meets at every national meeting in an open meeting. I encourage you to attend.

Serving industry was a key reason why ACS received its federal charter in 1937. The objects of the charter call on ACS to aid “the development of our industries.” Industry members and their employers are a fundamental part of ACS’s past, present, and future. Simply stated, CA is a critical part of the fulfillment of our federal charter.

CA’s mission is to influence ACS programs, products, and services to meet the needs of chemistry-based enterprises, while providing a business and corporate voice to the ACS Board and across ACS

CA’s mission is to influence ACS programs, products, and services to meet the needs of chemistry-based enterprises, while providing a business and corporate voice to the ACS Board and across ACS.

CA was originally formed in 1952 as a vehicle to provide financial support and direction to CAS, which is a division of ACS, and ACS journals. Between 1952 and 1953, the number of organizations enrolled in CA grew from 293 to 361 companies from many different facets of the chemical enterprise.

Eventually, to deal with the growth of the chemical literature and the rising costs of operations, ACS adopted a new pricing policy to further support ACS journals. Funds contributed by CA member companies shifted to support other ACS activities.

In 1967, CA took on a role that more closely resembles the one that it has today. The ACS Board formed a special committee on CA made up of 16 industry leaders.

The committee was responsible “for the official relationship between corporations and the society,” as documented in an April 1967 article in C&EN. Up to that time, although companies supported ACS through the CA program, they had virtually no active link with the society except through their individual members. The new committee was charged to offer advice to the board on society matters relating to industry, suggest appropriate ACS activities for industry involvement, and develop recommendations on sources and uses of income from CA.

However, a short time later, some within CA questioned whether it was playing an appropriate role within ACS. In 1973, Richard Roberts, then-immediate past-chair of CA, stated in a comment in C&EN, “From time to time, an organization needs to take stock of itself, look at its purposes and the manner in which it is operating, and make some conscious choices among the alternatives it faces.” CA stepped up its efforts “to participate in every appropriate way in society activities” and “provide a viewpoint of fundamental importance” on matters that were key to industry.

Today, CA continues to follow that path. CA is composed of subcommittees that manage the business before the committee. The current subcommittees are Strategic Investments & Awards, Public Policy, Relations, and Member Value. The collective work of these subcommittees includes

• supporting the Heroes of Chemistry program (;

• reviewing, approving, and funding local section/international science chapter grant proposals and seed grants;

• acting as a conduit for member companies to obtain information and providing feedback on the society’s official positions on public affairs and outreach to Congress and other levels of government;

• supporting industry networking events at national meetings and helping to grow CA membership;

• supporting programs that benefit industry members; and

• participating in Partnering to Integrate Sustainability into the Chemical Enterprise Strategically (PISCES), which has the goal of providing indispensable resources to and becoming partners with industry in all areas of sustainability.

Even as it makes great strides in these areas, CA is looking to continue to grow and evolve, and it has begun laying the groundwork for its strategic planning retreat early next year.

In addition, CA is part of the current ACS governance effort that aims to modernize ACS and “streamline and simplify” the work that is done by the society (C&EN, Aug. 15/22, page 53). As we embark on this journey, CA will increase its capability to enable the society’s industry members, their employers, and the chemistry enterprise.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, we encourage you to get involved. If your company is not a member of CA, we invite you to join. Also, find out if your division or local section has an industrial advisory board, or IAB, or similar industry-focused unit. Look for ways to become more active in its programming and industry-focused events. CA seeks to increase its collaboration with industry members across the society and the chemistry enterprise.

I hope you will join us in celebrating our 65th anniversary next year as we honor our past and look ahead to the future.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.



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