STLE Seeks Diverse Membership


ORLANDO, Fla. – David Scheetz, president of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers for 2009-2010, sees opportunities to grow STLEs membership, young and old, and broaden the associations appeal.

Elected STLE president at the societys annual meeting here last week, Scheetz is a senior equipment builder engineer for ExxonMobil Lubricants and Petroleum Specialties Co. in Aurora, Ill. He calls on industrial OEMs in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In an exclusive interview with Lube Report here May 19, Scheetz noted the association has a lot of members who are in their 50s and 60s, and many who are in their 20s, but has a void in between those age ranges. The STLE has about 3,500 members.

You look around, and theres sort of two extremes – people like me, who are balding and grey, and then you have the young college students, Scheetz said. Theres a big gap in between. Thats what we need to get, and thats what were going to be reaching out to. STLEs membership committee will focus on gaining new members.

Introducing more young people to STLE is another priority. We have a young tribologists group, chaired by Ashlie Martini of Purdue University, Scheetz said. She is working with all the universities to get people to submit posters, come here for education, and present their research work in tribology. That now includes 65 students from 22 universities throughout the world, he added.

Certification is another area STLE is building on, Scheetz said. The societys certifications include Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS), Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist (CMFS) and Oil Monitoring Analyst (OMA).

We have the three main programs right now, he said. But theyve been sort of in their own camps, and not necessarily working together and doing things smoothly and properly. With the new constitution, we were able to put them together under one chair, and organize it. The chair is Fred Passman, and Fred was the metalworking chair – if anybody can put three groups that are separated together, its Fred.

STLE Vice President Peter Drechsler, of the Timken Co., noted that people in the industry today have different philosophies, in terms of commitment to various organizations.

There are generational gaps in taking interest. Our leadership has recognized that people in one generation are going to have different needs, different job situations, from people that were in the organization before them, Drechsler explained. It means we are going to make a transition, and adjust what we do for a changing audience. We know we need to fill that need and find things that are going to be valuable to those people. Because their jobs are different, the technologies are different, their personal lives are different – its the reason the organization is transitioning.

Scheetz explained that STLEs board previously consisted of nine regional vice presidents and nine directors. The regional vice presidents served up to two two-year terms, while the directors could serve a maximum of two three-year terms.

What we found with regional vice presidents was the fact that the 1944 constitution required that you had to live within your region, Scheetz said. Today, with modern technology, it didnt make sense. We were finding it difficult to find people who wanted to be a regional vice president of the Southeast, or Southwest, so we ended up combining, consolidating, and trying different things.

A recent rewrite of STLEs constitution resulted in 18 directors, and each can serve a maximum of two 3-year terms. Whereas regional vice presidents and directors had different voting rights under the previous format, they now have the same voting rights.

So we basically promoted regional vice presidents, he noted. People can now live on the East Coast and be a section support leader on the West Coast, the Southeast, the Great Lakes, for example, Scheetz said. Before, you had to physically live in that geography to be the support leader.

A Committee for Certification is also now officially part of STLEs constitution. So if we choose to offer additional certification programs in the future, we now have the flexibility to react, and bring it to the table quicker, he noted.

STLE Executive Director Ed Salek emphasized that the organization is increasing its focus on corporate outreach. Our feeling is, organizationally, at a time where people are searching for what the worlds going to be like as economy improves, we want to be out there talking with them about how we need to adjust, and find out the things we need to provide to match up with their needs, Salek added.

Scheetz explained that STLE has a corporate member group of roughly 150 to 170 members.

One of the initiatives we want to do is get out and visit as many as possible, Scheetz said. Historically, the president and vice president of the society would go out and visit the sections. I think the sections are important, but the corporate member group is very important as well. Its something started under Bob Baker when he was president. Wed go out and visit corporate members and very large distributors in the Chicago market. We got a lot of good feedback on that.

Scheetz started with Mobil Oil in 1978 in northeastern Ohio, and has been an STLE member since 1983. He is a Certified Lubrication Specialist, STLEs highest technological designation.

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