Unlike many editorial boards, which rarely, if ever, meet and whose main role is lending some prestige to a magazine, Chemical Processing actually has an active, engaged board. Indeed, I relish attending our quarterly editorial-board conference calls. The eight members on the board range in experience from 50-plus years in the industry to less than a decade in a current role. Led by Editor Mark Rosenzweig, these meetings are filled with energetic discussions on industry trends, ideas for future articles and critiques of the magazine and website.
We put what’s learned in these meetings to good use. Indeed, several articles stem from ideas or leads board members suggest. You can see a list of the articles, as well as bios of each member, here.
I think it’s safe to say the benefits of being on the board go both ways. In fact, I asked a few members how they felt about being part of our team.
One of our newest members, Rachelle Howard, PhD, associate director, automation and controls, formulation development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., says, “I always appreciate hearing the different views of the team on the call. The board has a lot of history among the members and their careers and yet there are often similarities in the challenges we see in the industry and commonality in our concerns. There’s a lot to be learned from how we each address the challenges from different angles and key into the impact of current events.”
Agreeing with Howard is one of the founding members of the editorial board, Roy Sanders. Sanders, who admits being on the board was initially an ego thing, values the diverse perspectives of board members. “I see the value of input from board members to share currently observed trends and to temper potential ideas for articles.” Sanders is a process safety consultant and lecturer as well as a part-time research associate at the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center at Texas A&M University.
Board members take the position seriously and help us keep a current pulse on the industry. “The technology of chemical processing is constantly evolving while the underlying principles remain the same,” says Howard. “The editorial board tries to look through different lenses to bring back the foundational elements for newer readers, and [offer] good reminders for long time readers.
“As a newer board member and having a focus on digital technology, I think it’s important that I can bring a new perspective on trends in my space. And as we cover not only technology but aspects of workforce development, I can bring the viewpoint of the younger women in the industry.”
One of the ways I think Chemical Processing best serves its audience is by offering practical knowledge from folks who’ve been there, done that and suffered the mistakes along the way. Our board members are some of those people or can point us in the direction of those people to bring out our award-winning content.
“If Mark [Rosenzweig] sees value in a topic, he is not shy [about] contacting key personnel to develop the article,” notes Sanders. “The Chemical Processing board has the outreach ability to encourage subject matter specialists.”
Some of the best conversations and content ideas come from the tough question we pose to our board members: What didn’t you like about an issue or an article?
“It’s often easy to discuss new concepts, but not so easy to describe how to actually put them into practice,” says Howard. “Chemical Processing has some great segments that break down the ‘how-to’ of engineering projects and I would like to see more of this in emerging digital technology and analytics implementation. Sharing the messy, lessons-learned aspects helps the whole industry get farther together by breaking down assumptions and flattening the learning curve.”
We don’t limit story ideas to just board members. If you have ideas or concerns you’d like to see addressed, let us know. We are listening.