The 10th chapter of AICHE was organized and chartered in May 1937. The history of the section dates to when Dr. Harlan L. Trumbull of Goodrich called a meeting of Akron's leading chemical engineers. At that time, Dr. Trumbull was Director of Research for B.F. Goodrich. The group discussed the need for a local professional organization to serve the growing technical community. Thus, the Akron local section was chartered with Dr. Trumbull named as chairman, John P Maider as Vice Chairman, and William Burt (Goodrich) as Secretary-Treasurer. Charter members included John Street (Firestone), George Allison (Goodrich), R. P. Dinsmore (Goodyear), Frank Schoenfeld (Goodrich), and Maurice Knight Jr. (The M.A. Knight Company). Charter members of the Akron Section were instrumental in the development of synthetic rubber and related process equipment. They became the technical leaders in the rubber industry through the 1970s.
After World War II, Akron had one of the highest concentrations of chemical engineers in the world. More than 400 chemical engineers lived within a 20-mile radius of the city. In the four decades that followed, the membership consisted mainly of chemical engineers from the main rubber companies in the area, Firestone, General Tire, B.F. Goodrich and Goodyear.
Support for Akron area engineers was prevalent. Maurice Knight of the M.A. Knight Company would sponsor an outdoor picnic event at his home in the 1940s and 50s for all area chemical engineers. In the 1960's, Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) of Barberton began sponsoring a September party at PPG's Lake Dorothy. The picnic would have 70 to 100 members attend each year.
Most chemical engineers were "imported" into the Akron area from universities around the state, country and world. However, this changed when in 1964, the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Akron was founded. Many talented students were now taught chemical engineering in the same city that they were grew up and would continue their professional careers. The section provided assistance to Coleman Major, the first department chair, by providing technical advice and start-up funds for the department's library. Eventually, the University of Akron began playing a larger role in AIChE with several professors and graduates taking officer roles within the local section.
In the mid-1970s, the rubber and tire plants began closing in Akron with the last commercial tire made by General Tire in 1982. Beginning in the 1980's, the main source of members to the local section were from Goodyear Tire and Rubber. This continues today, however, approximately 50% of the section's members are from numerous small to mid-size companies in the area. These companies include Advanced Elastomer Systems, Chemstress Consultants, Gojo Industries, and Norton. The Akron Section is privileged to have many active members who are retired engineers from the rubber industry.
The Akron Section has numerous annual events, which has grown to a traditional standards. These events include joint meetings with the Cleveland Section of AIChE, the Akron Chemical Society (ACS), and Senior chemical engineering students from the University of Akron. The Section sponsors two awards each year during Engineers' Week. The Outstanding Senior at the University of Akron and the Chemical Engineer of the Year Award express the Sections continued support for local Chemical Engineers who are advancing the profession. Finally, to assist local educators emphasis on science, the Section provides outreach information and supports local science fairs with chemical engineering based project awards.