Today’s for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations are faced with the need to accomplish multiple strategic priorities to achieve their goals for revenue, membership involvement, and longevity. A concept underlying all these priorities is growth. Without growth, any organization will stagnate, regress, and possibly jeopardize its mission. AIChE is no exception.
These strategic priorities for our members, our profession, and society have led the Institute to pursue new ventures and opportunities for growth in order to expand our offerings for AIChE members and other stakeholders.
AIChE has come a long way in the first decade of the 21st century. The Institute reached its 100th anniversary in 2008 after stabilizing its financial position and embracing many new initiatives. The Institute has grown its finances for the last several years, and expanded its member benefits. It is now time to turn our attention to a new era that we might call the “Growth Century” for AIChE. Our leadership, staff, and volunteers recognize that it is imperative to adopt a rigorous growth platform.
We have made great strides since our 100th anniversary, setting us on this new course. AIChE has expanded its online educational offerings through webinars and the ChemE on Demand digital library, and added to its continuous learning opportunities (including the relaunch this fall of AIChE-sponsored instructor-led training courses). It has added new industry technology groups and technical forums to provide more focused activities for stakeholders in growth areas such as sustainable engineering, nanoscale science, energy, water, and upstream engineering and flow assurance. Recently, our Board of Directors began an effort to initiate even more new and collaborative endeavors. These include new centers of excellence such as our International Society for Water Solutions, the launching of partnerships that will help our members capitalize on their expertise, and the championing of safety education in the undergraduate curriculum and beyond.
The chemical engineering profession, and society at large, will benefit from AIChE’s growth. AIChE is reaching out to the global family of chemical engineering, including new audiences in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. We are providing needed process safety information in developing countries, partnering with international petrochemical manufacturers, and welcoming practitioners in the upstream oil and gas enterprises.
This is not the AIChE of times past. It is an AIChE that leverages social networking — through the virtual local section, the ChEnected blog, and other online media — to achieve its outreach mission. We are engaged in K–12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) outreach by connecting member engineers to local schools and students. We are supporting young professionals with technical training, professional development, mentoring, and networking opportunities as they start their careers.
We know that the future of chemical engineering depends on AIChE’s ability to engage with and address the new century’s grand challenges: energy, the environment, water, and healthcare. Our members make us aware that yesterday’s solutions must make way for innovative answers to address these societal needs. In the coming years, you will see more AIChE niche groups and programs encompassing the grand challenges; new tools for achieving sustainability; better representation to the general public of the important contributions of chemical engineering; support for smart manufacturing techniques; and an AIChE organization dedicated to providing value to members and constituents through essential programs and services.
It is that value that attracts AIChE’s members and stakeholders. However, organizations such as ours cannot rely strictly on a membership-based structure. Our portfolio must grow through the diverse offerings referenced above, which will build new value and a broader, more solid foundation.
This is a new century for AIChE. Growth is our imperative. Serving our members by providing a professional home is our mission. Answering the grand challenges is how we will benefit our world. This will be an exciting time for all of us.
- David Rosenthal
AIChE 2012 President