ACS appoints UK firm as European rep

In what is said to be an ambitious new strategy to boost international membership and participation in its events, training and learning opportunities, the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has appointed a European representative.

An MoU was signed at the beginning of March between newly formed UK-based Rubber Heart in Hertford, UK, and Rubber Division, ACS, in Akron, Ohio, paving the way for a partnership that will spread awareness of the benefits and opportunities offered by Rubber Division, ACS open to professionals working in the global rubber industry.

This new initiative is the vision of Executive Director/CEO of Rubber Division, ACS, Lakisha Miller-Barclay, the first woman appointed to be at the helm of the organisation in its over 100-year history. As Executive Director, Lakisha works closely with her team of Directors and Executive Committee to enhance science, technology and business across the elastomeric community.

Rubber Heart is a new Marketing, Communications, PR and Events company providing services to the global elastomer industry and its suppliers. David Cawthra and Gail Reader, the two Directors, will act as European Representatives whose role will be to increase awareness and expand the Rubber Division, ACS, community through membership opportunities that enable engagement with nearly 3,000 other rubber and affiliated industry professionals from over 1,200 organisations worldwide.

Lakisha Miller-Barclay’s appointment at the beginning of 2020 has meant she has had to react quickly to the challenging environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and difficult decisions were faced as to how to adapt. All training courses were moved to online and Rubber Division, ACS aired one of the first impact of Covid-19 webinars which welcomed a large European audience. A series of webinars covering topics such as failure analysis of rubber and polymer testing and processing are being offered free to Rubber Division, ACS members throughout the spring and summer.

“Those involved in the rubber industry will be considering ways to broaden and create more flexible supply chains in the future and I believe that the Rubber Division, ACS community can play a significant role in connecting and driving business, particularly between the US and Europe,” says Lakisha.

She continues, “We are still actively planning for our International Elastomer Conference October 20-22 this year in Knoxville, Tennessee to proceed as scheduled as we believe it would provide the global rubber industry with a meeting hub to reassess and create new business models for the future. However, our overwhelming priority is to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all involved with our event so we will be closely monitoring the evolving situation and any potential impact new developments may have on it.”

On the new partnership between Rubber Division, ACS and Rubber Heart, Lakisha comments, “I feel that this initiative to expand the Rubber Division, ACS team will help to grow our community and spread awareness of our unrivalled business networking, training and marketing opportunities through our membership and education programs, conferences and expositions. I am delighted to be working with two highly experienced and professional colleagues at Rubber Heart who have many decades of experience, great contacts and extensive knowledge of the rubber industry and its complexities.”

Rubber Heart says it is well placed to understand the benefits of involvement with Rubber Division.

Gail Reader explains, “We have seen first-hand the benefits of Rubber Division, ACS Corporate Membership scheme during our previous employment and how it can have such an impact on making new connections, driving business forward and keeping abreast of new research and innovations. We look forward to working with the dedicated and passionate Rubber Division, ACS team to strengthen its position internationally, particularly in Europe.”