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September 12, 2011
Volume 89, Number 37
pp. 30 - 31

ACS Elections: Candidates' Election Statements And Backgrounds

For President-Elect: Dennis Chamot

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Chemical Society of Washington Section. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Academic record: Polytechnic University, B.S., M.S., 1964; University of Illinois, Ph.D., 1969; University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, M.B.A., 1974

Honors: Henry A. Hill Award, Division of Professional Relations, ACS, 1992; Charles Gordon Award, Chemical Society of Washington Section, ACS, 1986; Phi Kappa Phi; Sigma Xi; Phi Lambda Upsilon; fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professional positions (for past 10 years): National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Division on Engineering & Physical Sciences, associate executive director, 2001– ; Commission on Engineering & Technical Systems, deputy executive director, 1999–2000, associate executive director, 1994–99

Service in ACS national offices: Board of Directors, director-at-large, 2002–12; councilor ex officio, 2002–12; Executive Committee, 2004; Committee on Budget & Finance, 2005–12, chair, 2007–09, committee associate, 2004; Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members, 2004–12; Committee on Planning, 2007–08, 2004; Committee on Executive Compensation, 2009–11, chair, 2011; Committee on Professional & Member Relations, 2006–10, 2003, Globalization Task Force, chair, 2007; Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations, 2003–05; Council Policy Committee (nonvoting), 2007–09, 2001–02, (voting), 1999–2000; Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs, 2001–02, 1995–98, chair, 2001–02; Committee on Project SEED, chair, 1992–94; Committee on Professional Relations, 1988–91, secretary, 1988–89, consultant, 1992–93, committee associate, 1984–86, 1976–77; Committee on Economic Status, 1978–86; Younger Chemists Committee, 1973–74, task force chair, 1973; Professional Programs Planning & Coordinating Committee (PROPPACC), 1982; Member Advisory Board, chair, 1973; Presidential Task Force To Study & Make Recommendations on Issues Concerning Women in Chemical Professions, 2000–02; Task Force on Council Committee Size, 2000–01; Task Force on Occupational Safety & Health, 1987–94

Service in ACS offices: Member of ACS since 1965. Division of Professional Relations: councilor, 1975–02; chair, 1982; chair-elect, 1981; Executive Committee, 1972–02; Editor, Professional Relations Bulletin, 1972–2008. Chemical Society of Washington Section: Publicity Committee, 1988–90. Delaware Section: alternate councilor, 1973–74; Younger Chemists Committee chair, 1971; Editor, Del-Chem Bulletin, 1972–74

Member: American Association for the Advancement of Science; Alpha Chi Sigma. ACS Division: Professional Relations

Related activities: National Science Foundation Advisory Council, member, 1984–89; Informal Science Education Oversight Committee, National Science Foundation, chair, 1985–86; Society for Occupational Environmental Health, secretary-treasurer, 1978–82; chaired several ACS symposia; served on study and advisory committees at the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, Competitiveness Policy Council, U.S. Department of Labor, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment



These are great times for chemistry, but not for many chemical professionals. Great advances are being made at the atomic, molecular, and nano levels leading to major scientific advances, new materials, improved and highly sophisticated approaches in medicine, wonderful new devices in a whole range of applications, and yet

◾ The unemployment rate among chemists is the highest in memory.

◾ Industry R&D has been moving offshore.

◾ Budgets for state colleges and universities are being slashed.


We can talk about improving K–12 education, but how do we do that in the face of decreasing resources? We can talk about increasing support for R&D, but where are the domestic industry or government funding increases going to come from? We can talk about job creation, but where are these jobs going to come from in the short term?

ACS is a great institution, and it offers many services to both employed members and job seekers. These efforts need to be continued and expanded, but we need to do much more to work with those in a position to affect the problems we identify. It is not enough to tell chemists to be flexible or to seek employment overseas (not a viable option for many).

We cannot reverse these trends overnight, but we can work more proactively with industry, government, and academic leadership to change direction. I seek the presidency of ACS to lead this effort and to put my experience and talents to full use for the members of the society.


As president, I will seek

◾ To engage in direct discussions with corporate and political leaders to promote actions that would make the U.S. a more attractive place for corporate investment. As some of the disincentives for offshoring become more pronounced—for example, rising wage rates in developing countries, long product transit times, uncertain supply chains, and lack of access to scarce materials—the time is ripe to shift the discussion to the advantages of doing more domestically.

◾ To increase interaction with our governors and state legislators to promote support of educational institutions within their states as necessary investments in their futures.

◾ To expand our efforts with Congress and the federal executive agencies to promote not only increased research budgets but also development of programs that will create expanded job opportunities beyond the laboratory.


I have for several years been an active and influential member of the ACS Board of Directors and Council, always stressing the interests of our members. The Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA) began its examination of globalization and its effects under my chairmanship; I was one of the founders of the Division of Professional Relations and served as one of its councilors for many years; I chaired the ACS Budget & Finance Committee through the bleak years of 2008–09, guiding successful efforts to preserve the financial health of ACS; I was appointed chair of the Committee on Project SEED when that program, designed to introduce economically disadvantaged high school students to the world of chemistry, was in danger of collapsing, and I left it healthy and on the path to growth. In my “day job” at the National Academy of Sciences, I meet frequently with government officials and corporate executives. For more information, see


Diminished resources for education result not only in challenges for our faculty and students but also in widespread lack of science literacy among the public and our political leaders. Shifting corporate investments offshore diminishes job opportunities at home. Gridlock in government, combined with economic uncertainties in Europe and elsewhere, prevents funding of major new initiatives.

The problems we face are great, but so is the opportunity to make a difference. I have spent most of my career, both within ACS and outside, studying and dealing with these issues. This is not a time for empty rhetoric. I make no promises I cannot keep, but I keep the promises I make.

The strength of ACS is its members. If we do what is best for our members, we will be doing what is best for ACS and for chemistry. I am honored to have been chosen as a candidate for president-elect—a great opportunity to make a difference. I seek your support so that I may work with you to make things better!

For more information, see

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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