Hello and Happy New Year! As we begin 2023, I hope that each of you had a peaceful and restful holiday season, and I thank you — our members, volunteers, and professional staff — for your continued support of AIChE. Your contributions truly enable AIChE’s efforts in “doing a world of good.”
While attending the 2022 AIChE Annual Meeting in Phoenix, I was struck by the excitement of the attendees at the first fully in-person Annual Meeting since 2019, and with the sense of renewed community that permeated the event. It was clear that the breadth of our profession, and the technological areas it encompasses, continues to grow. Yet, we are all still connected by the deepest parts of what makes a chemical engineer — our unit operations approach to problem-solving, our ability to apply fundamentals to a wide variety of subject matter, and our unique understanding of how to integrate highly complex systems to meet a desired objective. At the meeting, we celebrated the many AIChE communities helping to expand inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in our profession and who support our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Learning (IDEAL) statement.
Even as we rejoice in being together again, there is little doubt that the world in which we live today is radically changed and disrupted, compared to 2019. This environment presents exceptional opportunities for AIChE. Here are a few:
Chemical engineering has continuously expanded its domain, encompassing materials, biological systems, management expertise, digital capabilities, and many other areas. Through these cross-disciplinary interactions, we chemical engineers increase and broaden our collective impacts. These dynamics are reflected in our profession and in our membership.
During 2023, you will observe AIChE capitalizing on opportunities to expand our reach and impact through partnerships. We will increase our collaborations, building upon the foundations laid by our RAPID Manufacturing Institute, the Center for Hydrogen Safety, the Institute for Sustainability, and other entities. Our partnership in the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) has already funded more than 550 scholarships for STEM students, and we are pushing toward our goal of 1,000 scholars, generating great buzz in the process. As we look to more dynamically address the changing needs and interests of our members, partnerships allow us to grow and broaden more rapidly, supplementing our organic growth of offerings, and bringing in new ideas and perspectives. Strategically aligned partnerships also allow AIChE to leverage its investments for greater impact.
During 2023, AIChE will continue the deployment of its lifelong learning and career discovery platform, the Institute for Learning and Innovation (ILI, www.aiche.org/ili). You may have heard about ILI. This is a vehicle to bring together academia, industry, government entities, students, scholars, and professionals from within and outside of AIChE. As we navigate the disruptions that we face, ILI equips us with skills to approach new opportunities. For example, ILI will help engineers at all career stages to increase their digital skills. Also, as industry focuses more on sustainability and sustainable production, ILI will partner with other AIChE entities to deliver on upskilling opportunities. As a result, AIChE will be more agile, with relevant learning opportunities and career development options for our constituents. This will help to ensure that chemical engineers continue to lead in solving societal challenges.
In the post-COVID-19 environment, AIChE is examining how our members want to be best served by meetings, communications, and communities. Our members now have the expectation that information will be available in a virtual environment, on demand. This includes inclusive access to data, training, meetings, and webinars. Methods we’ve employed in the past must adapt to be relevant in the future and to engage emerging generations. In 2023, AIChE will begin work on new avenues of communication and pilot new models for engagement, including strategies for meetings, membership, and communities, following our IDEAL principles.
Finally, I ask each of you to consider the areas of AIChE about which you are passionate, and to get involved if you are not already active. Introduce someone new in our profession to AIChE. Invite them to join our family and show them the benefits of engagement with AIChE. If you have not had the opportunity to support the AIChE Foundation in its philanthropic efforts, 2023 is an opportune time to make a gift that will enable AIChE communities and leave a legacy for years to come.
I am humbled and honored to have been selected as your 2023 President, and I welcome any insights or ideas that you would share. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and best wishes for 2023.
Billy B. Bardin, 2023 AIChE President