AOCS Annual Report — 2011
Letter from the President
In my opening address at the 102nd AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo (AM&E) in Cincinnati, I challenged AOCS to adapt to the changing world by creating something new for the good of the community we serve. I am happy to report that we have made significant progress in spite of continuing global and economic uncertainties.
During 2011–2012, we introduced a more flexible governance model that will allow AOCS to act more strategically, decisively, and quickly as key issues and new opportunities emerge. Specifically, within the Governing Board we formed four smaller working groups that will be charged with focusing on targeted issues from a strategic perspective. The redesigned AOCS Governing Board and committee structure includes four Strategic Working Groups (Strategic Planning, Board Operations, Constituent Relations, and Finance Tracking) that will explore select issues and opportunities at a higher level and provide reports to the full Board that will inform decision making.
These smaller working groups have already been assembled and are currently investigating issues and opportunities that are critical to our future. Members of the Constituent Relations Strategic Working Group, for example, are investigating the feasibility of expanding AOCS’ presence in China. They are also considering ways to increase our focus on biobased materials. Meanwhile, members of the Board Operations Strategic Working Group will review the effectiveness of our new governing structure over time by evaluating the Board and Committees and identifying candidates and volunteers on a continual basis. Members of this self-monitoring working group recently recommended a change in the AOCS bylaws that will provide additional opportunities for members to become meaningfully engaged in the organization via a revised volunteer committee structure that centers on our society core competencies: content, networking, and technical services. This new core value committee structure will allow AOCS to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of more members by encouraging volunteers to contribute their knowledge via ad hoc committees. This knowledge will serve as the foundation that drives AOCS’ offerings with respect to networking, technical services, and the content we produce via our journals, inform, the website, meeting programming, books, social networking, and the like.
We similarly reorganized our AM&E program so that participants who have specific requirements or who are pressed for time can more easily attend those portions of the meeting that are of most value to them. The reformulated program, which was launched in Long Beach at the 103rd Annual Meeting, began with general management and business sessions before moving into the technical portions of the program. We hope that such efforts to improve customer service will make it easier for more people to attend our meetings and ultimately help us grow.
Last year also entailed a successful search for a new chief executive officer (CEO) who will set the tone and provide the vision and energy to move these initiatives and drive AOCS forward. It involved a five-person search committee, a four-person contracts committee, and an executive search firm. The AM&E in Long Beach was the first opportunity many of you had to meet our new CEO, Patrick Donnelly, who joined us on January 30, 2012. Patrick brings to AOCS 20 years of senior-level experience in leading private and nonprofit organizations and initiatives, as well as a doctoral degree in reproductive physiology and a passion for science. I would personally like to thank the AOCS staff and members of those two committees for the many hours they spent in helping us recruit the right person.
We made a lot of progress in just a year’s time, but as we look to the future, I would like to emphasize that while our constituent industries have an excellent record when it comes to meeting typical technical challenges, the more recent and pressing challenges we are now facing— preserving our environment, climate change, raw material availability, and sustainability in a wider sense—are of a very different dimension and nature than those we have faced before. These tests will stay with us for a long time and must be addressed globally. Our community could be impacted dramatically in the long term if we do not take the initiative and act accordingly—particularly as it does not look as if politicians will come to any conclusions or agree on constructive actions in time.
The global nature of these issues calls for joint and aligned activities on a multidisciplinary level. Coordinating these activities will require a neutral, global platform, and AOCS is in the best possible position to provide it. Working with regional and local partners, we laid some of the groundwork for that this year by co-organizing events in Turkey, Colombia, and India. We also established new relationships that enabled us to reach out to regions of the world in unprecedented ways. For example, the AOCS European Section was inducted as the 13th member organization of Euro Fed Lipid, a highly respected society that serves European fats and oils interests. We also collaborated with regional organizations in India to produce C3 Science, a publication geared toward home and personal care professionals in India. It debuted in the third quarter of 2012. And we laid plans to reach into the Pan-Pacific region with the first Singapore 2012 World Conference on Fabric and Home Care. Next year, we will build on those connections by creating a global interactive collaboration network that will link us with more than 600 organizations worldwide. To support that bold endeavor, we reviewed and approved a new fundraising campaign that will provide us with the financial resources we need to grow.
As my term as president closes, I am optimistic that AOCS will continue to build on these efforts. It has been both a pleasure and an honor to work with such an enthusiastic board and dedicated group of staff professionals in Urbana, and I am confident that the organization is in good hands with incoming president Deland Myers.
AOCS Governing Board President 2011–2012