Staying Connected through AIChE's Local Sections

Did you know that there are over 90 AIChE local sections worldwide?  And all of them exist to serve members like you! The AIChE website introduces local sections with the tagline “Stay Connected Close to Home.” Local sections are truly the medium through which chemical engineers can connect and network locally. 

As the number of AIChE local sections has grown, the need to create a cohesive vision statement to guide all local sections has become apparent. This past year, the President’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Local Sections crafted a local section vision statement in order to unite all local sections, throughout the world, under specific guiding principles.

AIChE Local Section Vision

“AIChE Local Sections serve as the lifelong professional home for AIChE members in all sectors of chemical engineering anywhere in the world.  Each AIChE member is affiliated with one or more Local Sections, and for many, the Local Section is the most personal and accessible point of contact for professional support from AIChE.  Local Sections, with the oversight and guidance of the Local Section Committee, exist to provide support in the areas of career and leadership development, continuing education, networking, and supporting the local community. Every Local Section provides the best support possible by taking into account the local interests and needs of its members. In turn, Local Sections depend on dedicated volunteers to support programming and pay dues. With this support, Local Sections can remain active and thriving and provide benefits to members that far outweigh the costs of membership such that all AIChE members will participate in Local Sections.  As Local Sections continue to grow, all Local Sections will strive to be self-sustaining, highly relevant to all AIChE Members, and advanced in the use of information technology (web and social media) to reach more members with more value.”

Voices from Local Sections

Although the vision is new, many currently active Local Sections are a testament to this vision. Emily Ferner, a young professional and the current chair of the Kansas City Local Section, has been involved with AIChE for the past three years.  She is currently a process engineer at Burns & McDonnell, an engineering consulting firm, headquartered in Kansas City.  Here is the testimony she has generously offered to explain about how her Local Section is already living the vision.

“The Kansas City local section keeps me connected to the profession.  At our local AIChE meetings, the industry in the area is represented well, and I get to network with other ChemEs and gain exposure to different sectors of the industry. We have people from all across town coming to our meetings, from companies such as DuPont and Bayer, and I don’t think I would have the opportunity to meet these people if not for our local section. In KC, we tailor to our members particularly well and are always trying to increase the amount of people we reach.  Last year, we were successful in planning a speaker series focusing on non-technical professional development, which attracted a diverse group of ChemEs. I see great value in being involved with my local section, and I feel like my local section dues pay off every year. Those members paying dues get reduced pricing at meetings, and experienced professionals can get PDH credits at many of our meetings. In the end, you just can’t put a price on personal or professional development and making connections in the industry.”

Josh Segura, a young professional and the current co-chair of the Central Savannah River Local Section, has been involved with AIChE for the past two years.  He is currently a shift technical engineer for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the operating contractor for the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, in Aiken, SC.  Here is what he had to say about how his local section is living the vision.

“I was invited to my first meeting by several colleagues. It wasn’t too long after attending my first meeting that Dan Lambert encouraged me to become more involved as a leader. I would have never attended a national meeting at all if Bond Calloway hadn’t taken me along with him. My fellow Local Section members are the whole reason I became involved with AIChE in the first place and encourage me to stay involved. Though there are a lot of great meetings/conferences, divisions, committees, and initiatives to get take part in at the national level, sometimes it’s difficult to attend these events and maintain contact. Conversely, our Local Section’s activities are much more accessible and keep me rooted in AIChE. Not working in a traditional chemical engineering field, it would be easy to lose touch with my chemical engineering background without staying involved with AIChE. I feel that I have benefited from AIChE and would like to help others do the same as well by bolstering our Local Section. Volunteering as a leader is also a great way to learn more about AIChE and stay abreast of what is going on at the national level.

These testimonials offer the opinions of just two Local Section members.  Many Local Sections are already operating under the vision’s guiding principles, and the hope going forward is that all Local Sections, in the U.S. and abroad, will operate under these principles and strive to continuously improve.  We will try to add a similar testimonial to each future Local Section committee newsletters.  Send any comments or your testimonial to Joe Deneault or Dan Lambert.  And feel free to add your comments to this post, because we would like to hear your thoughts about your Local Section.

For any questions about the Local Section Vision, contact Joe Deneault or Dan Lambert.

Interested in becoming involved with a Local Section?  Please contact Brian Daly or Monica Stowe.


Daniel Gong's picture

Is there any local section in China now? if not, I am intreseted to set up one section.

John Vasko's picture

Daniel, Thanks for your question. One of the AIChE staff should be in touch with you on this.