“How It All Began”, reprinted from our first Newsletter – Small Chem Biz News, Winter 1982


A step back into SCHB’s History

In September, 1977, Dr. Alexandra Melnyk (then Alternate Councilor. Columbus Section) circulated to ACS officials a study on “ACS and Chemists in Business for Themselves,” which earned her an invitation to an executive session of the Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs, on Feb. 25, 1978. After the group had heard her eloquent plea for some attention to the needs of chemical entrepreneurs, Dr. Bill Bailey suggested that these small business people should try to organize a division within the ACS.

Dr. Melnyk brought this idea home to Columbus where a local business group of 16 members already existed, and we started a campaign to get the necessary 50 signatures (of ACS members) on a petition. We easily got more than 150 (from 17 states), though only 87 could be validated before the spring deadline; a program, a budget, and a slate of officers were also prepared. To further emphasize the need for such a division, we organized a symposium on “Concerns of Developing Chemical Businesses,” which the Chemistry and Public Affairs Committee and the Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry kindly agreed to cosponsor.

At the National ACS Meeting in Miami Beach, September 10, 1978, we asked the Divisional Activities Committee to recommend our petition to the Council, and they agreed. On September 12th, we held our Symposium and it was an unqualified success; around 60 attended although our hall was hard to find. The next day, Council established the “Division of Small Chemical Businesses”.