Lee H. Latimer
Candidate, Director at Large, 2019-2021
(see September 10, 2018 issue of C&EN)
ACS is an extraordinary professional society of colleagues, fellowship, achievement, and impact in the communities where we live. I am always amazed that we can go virtually anywhere in our country and increasing locations outside the U.S. and easily find chemists through our sections and chapters.
The last two and a half years of serving on the ACS Board of Directors have been illuminating, engaging, challenging, and rewarding in working with a talented team of members and staff toward the mission, vision, and efforts of ACS. I have enjoyed serving on the board and ask for one of your votes to continue the work there.
The first priority of a board member must be the financial stability and sustainability of the society and its businesses. Following that is the strength and effectiveness of the ACS enterprise in serving members, chemistry, and the general public. Running through all the aspects must be both a service-to-members focus and a focus on the success, stability, and effectiveness of the sections and divisions that serve members’ needs and interests.
A key aspect in my work for ACS is on the Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations of the board. The involvement in advocacy in its many forms is critical to the ACS role in the chemical enterprise and in our federally chartered role to Congress. Two of my ACS Comments have directly addressed this area. One focused attention on the actions in progress at ACS offices in response to comments of members wanting more advocacy and regarding advocacy priorities (C&EN, Feb. 13, 2017, page 35). A second ACS Comment encouraged section and division leaders to nominate locations of key advancements for National Historic Chemical Landmarks lest the work fade away with the aging of generations in corporations (C&EN, Feb. 5, 2018, page 33). Included in the latter was a suggestion for local section or divisional landmark programs with the same intent. In both cases, these designations serve to inform the public of important work in chemistry.
When I asked for your vote three years ago (C&EN, Sept. 14, 2015, page 45), I noted some priorities and passions where I would focus my efforts. One is supporting and working with volunteers in local sections, divisions, and regional meetings. As a strong advocate for regional meetings (please see my Comment in C&EN, June 13, 2016, page 37), I’m very impressed by the organizers and enjoy participating in their meetings. I support continuing to find ways to support those organizers in this valuable work.
Primary areas of concern for our members remain finding a long-term job that fully uses their skills, and the general stability of the chemical enterprise in a time of change. The shifting job situation severely challenges our members in industrial positions and gravely concerns our new graduate members. The trends in employment are toward smaller companies, as I’ve experienced in my career. The small-company opinions need to be heard in our conversations, just as with large and medium-sized companies, about their hiring and general environment. The ACS panorama of activities to understand members’ needs is critical. We need continuous development of programs and activities that support the needs of our members to grow and support their careers.
I am particularly pleased that we added safety and ethics to our core values for the society. Having served as a company safety officer for six years, impacting chemical safety is very important. I look forward to increasing the ACS safety footprint.
Change is guaranteed. Managing change and bringing benefit from change to our members, businesses, and the society are essential for the future. My work on the Committee on Local Section Activities and the Council Policy Committee emphasized both the pace and potential scope that change could take while managing and improving the present. Many of the same issues continue to be critical: member engagement and retention, support for strength in our local sections and divisions, the strength of our precollege and university education programs, the opportunities for continuing education, globalization, and the impact on members of our national and regional meetings. All our work to address these issues enhances the value of ACS to members and to the chemical enterprise.
Working and networking with members on the challenges of change and opportunity is a highlight of ACS for me. I’m very grateful for the suggestions, comments, and encouragement from many members. I ask for your vote to continue working on the board for the benefit of all of us.
For more information, please visit www.LHLatimer.com
Lee H. Latimer, Ph.D.
I am grateful for the opportunity to run for a final term as director-at-large and complete my service on the ACS Board of Directors. Throughout my career, mostly in industry, the extraordinary resources and activities of ACS have made a profound difference. I am fortunate to be able to contribute as a volunteer, participate and lead activities. Serving on the ACS Board for the last 5 years allowed me to draw on the 40 years of experience working on ACS projects and committees at local, regional, and national levels.
ACS has an important role in chemistry and needs all of us to contribute in order to be an effective and influential society. The events of the pandemic have challenged us all. The cancellation of one and shift of the last three national meetings to virtual or hybrid meetings has made networking and communication much more difficult. It is a tribute to our science and professionalism to see the resilience, and efforts to capitalize on the challenges (C&EN, Oct. 24, 2020). In the new hybrid format of the August national meeting, Fall regional meetings, and all our meetings in 2022, we will be building a new normal.
Recently, I have been serving as cochair of the Task Force on The Future of Meetings, with broad representation from committees and the Board, which has been charged with envisioning how meetings will change. The Task Force was blindsided by the pandemic. Projections through 2030 suddenly became current and the opportunities for new technology have been exciting to envision (C&EN, Feb. 17, 2020; Aug. 3, 2020). Many recommendations are being implemented, including hybrid meetings. Key foci are retaining networking, the exposition, career activities and opportunities for younger chemists to shine. Change is a guaranteed part of life though sometimes faster than expected!
We must remain focused on jobs (industrial, academic, government and entrepreneurial) and the challenges of the pandemic for the chemical enterprise. While many companies generally weathered the pandemic, I am particularly concerned about our members in small companies where most job growth was occurring through 2019. Being an alumnus of large and small companies and academia, the challenges our members and their employers face today are very high. I am pleased to serve our members as a career consultant. ACS Career Services has risen to the challenge to assist with career shifts, skills development, workshops in technical areas and several new directions for members.
Communication within the chemistry community and about chemistry is crucial. It is exciting to see how local sections and technical divisions are using virtual presentations to grow programs in a time without in-person meetings. This is a particular benefit for all our members—especially seniors and young members— to bring many new faces to our meetings, including those outside the US.
Members have many opportunities to speak to legislators at all levels. As chair of the Public Affairs and Public Relations Committee of the Board (PA&PR), I am pleased ACS and the Board are vigorously building virtual legislator visits to the US Congress. I am a strong advocate of growth in the National Historic Chemical Landmark program, which reports to PA&PR, and am leading a series of local section leaders focused virtual advocacy trainings. The online advocacy-training workshop at ACS.org/advocacy supports our advocacy (C&EN, Feb.8, 2021).
As an advocate for regional meetings (C&EN, June 13, 2016), local sections and divisions, I feel we need to be constantly aware of the impact of external factors like the pandemic and be ready to lead solutions. I am pleased the board has ensured the local section and division allotment levels. The next few years will be a very dramatic period for the society with the new ACS membership levels being introduced this Fall, and maintaining our extensive range of services after the pandemic.
I am proud to be a member of the ACS Board that added safety, ethics, and diversity, equity, inclusion and respect (DEIR) to our core values, and incorporated DEIR as Goal 5 of the society. I also support our society daring to make major changes in the Membership 2.0 programs, and committee structures, and to protect our core units. We are a resilient experimental science community. Thanks to careful financial management of the Board and the successful efforts of our colleagues in CAS and PUBS, we are on a sound footing to lead and exemplify the community of professional science societies.
I appreciate hearing from you directly and at L.Latimer@acs.org and at www.lhlatimer.com with your ideas and thoughts on how we can work ever more successfully for our fellow members. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I ask for your vote to continue my work.
Lee H. Latimer
Candidate, Director at Large, 2016-2018
(see September 14, 2015 issue of C&EN
The ACS has made a critical difference at every phase of my career. Working on challenges for the ACS has been a productive and rewarding opportunity to apply my experience. I want to share with you my focus and enthusiasm and hope to receive one of your votes to take the momentum of my efforts to the Board of Directors.
As a professional society, we have unparalleled volunteer and financial resources to benefit members, chemistry and science. The transformations in the employment landscape for chemists at all stages of their careers are critical issues, both in type of work and location. The ACS provides many opportunities to develop, grow, lead and achieve. With careful resource management, experimentation and vision, the Board can look beyond the moment in meeting the ACS Strategic Plan built with the voices of volunteer leaders and regular members.
A co-worker’s request for help began my ACS career over three decades ago. At each move in my career, I found ACS friends and resources critically important to finding new positions and getting started. I’ve also been able to significantly assist ACS colleagues in finding new positions through my network. My outstanding member benefit has been networking!
I’ve worked in large and small companies that have dissolved beneath me. I now work in a small company, increasingly the path for chemists. The virtual nature of the company and its videoconference style gives me the time flexibility to meet the challenges of serving on the Board.
Throughout my ACS career, involvement at the section, division and national level has been delightful and rewarding. In recent years I’ve worked with the Board and other leaders in critical decision areas as chair of the Committee on Local Section Activities (LSAC) and its subcommittee on Innovative Project Grants (IPGs), and as a member of the Council Policy Committee (CPC) and chair of CPC task forces on travel reimbursements and the divisors. As leader of the Local Section Track in the Leadership Institute, I heard directly about the issues of local sections. These efforts have given me a thorough knowledge of ACS governance, structure and resources, key member issues, local section and division issues and activities. Committee work continues to build the network of members and staff that I am delighted to call friends and collaborators.
Now and in the future, the Board and Council face a changing landscape of substantial issues in information management and publications, education support and development, breadth of access and opportunity for budding scientists in a diverse America, continual turnover/outsourcing of industrial positions, growing jobs in a global environment, and a solid public understanding of science and chemistry and their contributions. The efforts of sections and divisions “on the ground” are critical to success. I believe achieving progress in these and other areas comes incrementally by focus, care and experiment.
I particularly want to work with the Board, Council, members and staff in the following areas. We need greater member engagement in local sections and divisions, especially by our industrial members who make up over half the membership. Successful communication and direct interaction have a major impact on member retention and participation.
Increased communication of our public advocacy to members and the public is a critical need to inform and amplify our messages in STEM, job creation and training. I would also like to see a greater effect externally of our public advocacy through the leverage of 160,000 members.
Education support and engagement are critical to the success of all students, K though career. Besides the substantial efforts in our Education Division, there are many programs in local sections and divisions that support and enhance education. We need to highlight these programs and grow and develop others.
Regional meetings are great achievements in volunteer service and play a critical part in the range of ACS opportunities, often being more accessible than national meetings to many members. I want to focus greater ACS resources to enhance the ability of local sections to host a meeting.
The ACS is about opportunity for its members in so many ways. It has certainly been so for me. I enjoy meeting new challenges and colleagues in teams, and applying my experience to make a difference. I ask for your vote to join the ACS Board of Directors and their work to keep the opportunities flowing.