NorCal Section History

How We Got Started

In the early 1940's, many chemical engineers were working in the San Francisco Bay area, in research, development, engineering, production, and other activities.  To some of these engineers it seemed desirable to communicate with others and to meet new colleagues outside of their own departments and offices.  With this in mind, Charles R. Nelson and Mott Souders, Jr. called a meeting that was held on September 29, 1944, to discuss the organization of a local section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  Fifty-one members attended this meeting, drew up by-laws, and appointed a nominating committee.  On October 24, 1944, a business meeting was held to organize the Northern California Group of Chemical Engineers by adopting the proposed by-laws and electing as officers:

  • Chairman Charles R. Nelson
  • Vice-Chairman O.J. Chinnock
  • Secretary-Treasurer Mott Souders, Jr.
  • Executive Committee: G.C. Jester, G.H. Hemmen, A.C. Stern, R.S. Trouton

After a probationary period to establish continuity of interest, this group was formally accepted as the Northern California Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  This happened at a meeting of the Council of the Institute in December, 1945, when the Institute had but nineteen previous local sections.  During the probationary period, fourteen meetings were held, with an average attendance of eighty and a total membership of one hundred.

Where We Are Today

Today, NorCal has approximately 290 dues paying members and is active with six to seven monthly meetings in the North Bay, two to three meetings in the South Bay and one to two in the Sierra per year. In April we have our One-Day Symposium, and we have had social picnics and field tours. We give out various awards and scholarships and continue to be active in government relations with the State of California legislature where we are involved in the arena of professional registration and restructuring of the California Engineers Act. 

For more information, please read our full history: Norcal Section History