My watch began in 2007 just when the financial markets were on the verge of collapse and the Great Recession was about to commence.
Working closely with ACS management, the board of directors had to take immediate action guided by the ACS finance department. Those were difficult days that required hard choices such as freezing the defined contribution retirement plan, capping the society’s financial contributions to the retiree medical plan, calling for a hiring freeze along with a workforce reduction, and eliminating open requisitions for new hires. Without these difficult steps, the society would have become technically insolvent in 2008 to 2009.
As employment in the chemical industry began to track the downward spiral in the general economy, we ramped up the many services for unemployed chemists and established an entrepreneurial initiative to help members interested in chemically based start-ups.
Fortunately, those challenging years are largely behind us, allowing for a laser focus on all the wonderful programs that ACS offers.It's not clear to me that 1) services for unemployed chemists were significantly ramped up, or that spending on these services was dramatically increased and 2) that these challenging years are largely behind us. Naturally, people are going to point to the lower ACS Salary Survey unemployment rates, and I am going to point back to the fact that the median ACS member salary has stagnated when measured against inflation. 'Twas ever thus, including senior ACS volunteer leadership patting themselves on the back for unclear outcomes and NOT preparing the Society's domestic members for the next recession.
*It is AMAZING to me that the only nod to enabling member careers is about entrepreneurship in Chair Confalone's 21 Board accomplishments and responsibilities. If the answer from the American Chemical Society's Board to "help me with my career in chemistry" is "make your own job", then what's the point of the ACS?