AOCS Annual Report — 2010
Letter from the President
In my opening address at the 101st AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, I made some observations on the change occurring around us and the reality that AOCS must adapt to those changes in order to meet the needs of its worldwide membership in multiple disciplines. We continue our transition and evolution to match the prevailing environment and to anticipate where we need to adapt to meet future needs.
In 2010, we focused on five areas to improve AOCS and ensure a future of innovation and growth:
1. Financial Health and Responsible Fiscal Management
I’m pleased to report that we continue to show financial stability, and, in fact, we are showing some growth. AOCS has met or exceeded the forecast for the last five years. The resulting reserves have been well invested by our financial advisors to the extent that they are now contributing nicely to our income. In an economic world of too many negative economic surprises, that was a pleasantly positive one.
Worthy of note is our decision years ago to outsource publishing of our journals to Springer Science+Business Media. This continues to be a major success with much wider distribution than we could have achieved independently. It’s a classic example of where it makes sense to outsource. In this case, when we asked, “What business are we in?” the correct answer is clearly knowledge transfer and networks. It causes us to consider where that model of focusing on our core competencies can be reapplied. The sales function has also been recently outsourced to enhance the identification of global opportunities for our products.
On the practical side, our fiscal strength has allowed us to pay down the mortgage on our new building such that it will be paid off in the next 18 months.
2. Increase Communication, Knowledge Management, and Networking Tools Across Membership
In the communication area, 2010 saw considerable progress with the complete redesign of our website to be more member-friendly. The project was funded by the AOCS Foundation. With an upgraded platform now in place, we are working on our ultimate goals — building member networking and opening innovation capability, hosting education programs developed through universities around the world, implementing page-flipping software, and launching a blog. In addition, the AOCS Foundation is funding the hardware to upgrade the staff email and server infrastructure. We recognize that virtual communication is a major part of our future.
3. Streamline the Governing Board
We continue to streamline the structure and operation of the AOCS Governing Board. Our goals are to reduce its size, balance representation to represent membership, and focus the Board on strategic issues. We completed the first year of a new election and nominations process specifically designed to result in a more deliberate set of competencies and representation. Additionally, the number of at-large members will be decreased by natural attrition as terms expire. In parallel, we are taking guidance from governance consultants on possible operational structure options. This is still a work in progress.
4. Increase Global Reach
Several initiatives have focused on extending our global reach. In partnership with the Indian Home & Personal Care Industry Association (IHPCIA), AOCS will begin publishing C3 Science, a quarterly features magazine for professionals working in Indian personal care, cleaning, and cosmetics industries. The inaugural issue will be distributed to nearly 15,000 recipients.
5. Continuous Improvement in Major Scientific Meetings and Technical Services
It was a successful year for our big meetings. Following an excellent annual meeting in Phoenix, the Montreux 2010 meeting was a major success in every respect. Attendance including exhibitors was nearly 900, and there’s no doubt that attracting the CEOs of Procter & Gamble, Henkel, and Unilever as speakers was well received and drew attendance and interest from around the globe. As is usual for this convention site, which provides excellent exhibit access, feedback from exhibitors was positive.
The success of the Montreux meeting, combined with the rapid development of the surfactant and detergent industry in Asia has led us to assess the possibility of a Singapore-based event of similar stature in 2012.
A core competence that shows continual growth and contribution to our fi nancials is our Technical Services Department, and we are looking for ways to extend our reach. In this vein, we are following up on contacts with the Standard Methods for the Examination of Waste Water who are interested in the determination of surfactants and oils in waste water. We will be canvassing membership in these businesses for engagement in this Expert Panel. This a classic example where our core competence can be an outsourcing option to others.
It’s been a year of progress, growth, and transition as we move forward with our eyes firmly focused on the future and our place in it to serve our ever-diversifying membership.
It’s been a pleasure and honor to serve as your president, and in particular to work with the dedicated set of professional staff in Urbana-Champaign. I hand off the AOCS leadership with a sense of optimism that AOCS will continue its growth.