President’s Message: Greater Outcomes through Partnerships and Community

As my year as AIChE President concludes, I am truly inspired by the AIChE community, and I am more convinced than ever that chemical engineers are needed to make the world around us better. This year, I had the opportunity to engage with chemical engineers and chemical engineering students around the world. AIChE continues to be a home for the chemical engineering profession. The passion for what we do, the knowledge and expertise we bring, the drive for enabling all those around us, and the sense of community we are creating are impressive.

Only a few of AIChE’s many accomplishments this year are highlighted below.

Partnerships and collaboration expanded

A new alliance between AIChE and the U.K.-based Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) will support the use of hydrogen, advancing technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Following the announcement at the World Hydrogen Summit, workshops were held with the global community to set directions for the alliance. AIChE and IChemE are exploring other potential areas of collaboration, such as increasing the pipeline for students in chemical engineering. The work between AIChE and IChemE will continue in 2024, enhancing collaboration between two of the leading global chemical engineering organizations.

AIChE will continue our collaboration with the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) through our Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute, which received a five-year renewal from DOE in 2023. Other accomplishments include our work with the Center for Hydrogen Safety (CHS), which grew its membership base driven by increasing interest in climate change and the use of hydrogen. We also advanced a partnership with CACHE Corp., centered on helping deliver their technical programming. 

Learning elevated

To foster career support and discovery, we have elevated the presence of our Community of Process Engineers, a community approved by the Board of Directors in 2023, focused on the contributions of, and career advancement for, process engineers. We also continued to advance our Institute for Learning and Innovation (ILI), collaborating with companies to support their employees’ career development as part of lifelong education. Programs such as our Sustainability Corps, which allows students to solve real-world problems of interest to our corporate and academic partners, were piloted in 2023.

Engagement enhanced

AIChE continued to follow our IDEAL principles as a guiding light when making decisions on how we operate. In 2023, AIChE developed new criteria that will be applied in the selection of future event locations, and we took actions to enhance security and inclusion at our 2023 Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. I thank our entire community — those who participated in our listening sessions, and those who attended our Annual Meeting, in person or virtually — for helping AIChE to incorporate new metrics and methods for determining how and where we operate.

To increase the inflow of potential new AIChE members, a new membership model is being deployed that offers a lower-tier, entry-level “explorer” membership for those new to AIChE. Explorer membership provides an opportunity to learn what AIChE offers by sampling cultivated information, educational materials, and benefits. You will be hearing more about that in 2024.

The AIChE Foundation continued to increase engagement in the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI). AIChE, in partnership with HBCU Week, corporate partners, and individual donors, have supported scholarships for more than 600 students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in STEM. The Foundation supported other programs in K-12 outreach and community building across the Institute, and it worked to increase the number of endowed initiatives. If you have not yet had a chance to engage with the AIChE Foundation, using philanthropy to leave a lasting impact on future generations of chemical engineers, please connect with us.

Before I conclude, I say a heartfelt thank-you to the AIChE professional team who support our activities and keep the Institute operational. Without the support of our AIChE professional team, we would not accomplish any of our objectives. I recognize our outgoing officers and directors: Christine Grant (Past President); Pete Lodal (Treasurer); Donna Dybeck, Julianne Holloway, Bill Raiford, and Elsa Reichmanis (Directors) for their service. I also wish our incoming president, Alan Nelson, success in his term as he continues to advance and expand the impacts of AIChE. Finally, thank you to all our members and volunteers for supporting the Institute.

I resoundingly believe that chemical engineers are vital to the future of society, and I challenge all of us to ensure that our skills and perspectives are successfully passed along to future generations by helping to bring new people into our community. Thank you for the opportunity to have served, and best wishes for safe, happy holidays and a prosperous new year.

Billy B. Bardin, 2023 AIChE President