He is a member of the AOCS Surfactants and Detergents (S&D) Division.
How did you first get involved with AOCS?
As with most of you I suspect, my first interaction with AOCS was attending the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. My Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1994) research area was polymer science. Although while working as a process engineer at Procter and Gamble from 1987–-1989 I did learn a bit about surfactants, even though I was making a food product.
My first significant involvement with surfactants occurred when I started as a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. I became interested in admicellar polymerization, which was the subject of my first successful NSF proposal! I eventually became interested more generally in surfactant adsorption at the solid-liquid interface, which naturally led me to AOCS. I attended my first AOCS Annual Meeting in Seattle in 2008 and have attended every meeting since, with only one exception.
What do you value most about the AOCS Surfactants and Detergents Division?
In my experience, academics seem to attend meetings only with other academics, and industry people only with other industry people. The characteristic I value most about the S&D Division of AOCS is that the meeting is at the interface (pun intended 😊) of the two groups. I fully admit that I pay more attention to more talks during the S&D technical program at the AOCS Annual Meeting vs. more academic meetings because I am more likely to get research ideas from the former.
The only international meeting I organized was on surfactants (SIS 2018, special issue in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents!) and historically was mostly a meeting with academics. I took great pains to try to get a good mix of industrial and academic talks, modelling what AOCS does (with a little bit more academic talks; what did you expect?).
Besides the AOCS Annual Meeting, how have you been involved in AOCS?
My other significant experience has been in society governance. Once an academic achieves tenure, he/she should sit back and figure out long-term professional goals (before that, the only goal is to be awarded tenure!).
I was very interested in professional society governance. I still have a significant interest in polymer science, so I became involved in that area first, but eventually became involved with S&D as well. First, I was Secretary-Treasurer for the S&D Division. I mostly remember how gracious our industrial representatives were to sponsor the Division. Both in this role and in my role as Chair I always tried to figure out how best to provide value for their generous donation. I never was Vice-Chair; organizing the technical sessions for the Annual Meeting is too much work for me! In my opinion, the Chair gets far more credit than he/she deserves for the smooth running of S&D, while the Vice-Chair doesn’t get enough. In my two years as Chair, I interacted with all the members of the Division, which was quite fulfilling.
Currently, my significant involvement is organizing and chairing sessions (which I very much enjoy!) and being on the editorial board of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents (which isn’t a ton of work but sounds impressive!).