STEVEN LACEY, PHD, CIH, CSP,is AIHA president and chair of Environmental Health Science at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He can be reached at (317) 274-3120 or
AIHA’s Next CEO: A
NewChapter for Our Association
BY STEVEN LACEY, AIHA PRESIDENT
By now, nearly everyone reading this is aware that AIHA’s new CEO, Larry Sloan, will join our association later this month. Larry comes to us with an impressive background of successful association leadership at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) and the Adhesive and Sealant Council.
Elsewhere in this issueyou can read Larry’s thoughts on his career, his plans for managing the transition at AIHA, and his goals for our organization. In this column I’d like to share information about the Board’s search for a new CEO and why Larry is the best choice to lead AIHA, and how we anticipate working with Larry—and the AIHA staff—moving forward.
AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE PROFESSIONFor those who aren’t aware of the Board’s process, our Executive Search Committee formed in February following the departure of AIHA’s previous executive director, Peter O’Neil. Led by Past President Dan Anna and guided by input from AIHA staff—in particular Nancy Green, AIHA’s interim executive director, whose background includes experience working for an executive recruiting firm—the committee reviewed the qualifications of several leaders within the association world. Over several meetings, we narrowed the list to two finalists for second interviews in July. It was clear that Larry’s accomplishments and background made him the right choice for AIHA.
The ideal relationship between a Board of Directors and an association CEO has shared trust and shared responsibility at its foundation.
Here are a few things about Larry that stood out to me personally:
- With his undergraduate training and professional experience in chemical engineering, Larry is likely to approach work with the same kind of “systems thinking” and applied problem solving as IHs.
- He has an advanced degree in business, and both his BS and MBA are from top universities (the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University, respectively).
- He has the right kinds of prior experience. He’s been a CEO before, so he’s not new to leading an association; and he has direct working experience in the chemical industry, which means industrial hygiene is not foreign to him.
- He has demonstrated internal operational excellence in his previous position as president and CEO of SOCMA.
- He has directly translatable experiences, including having led a successful “build the industry” effort for the specialty chemicals world.
- Coming to AIHA from SOCMA, he brings to us both new perspectives and new relationships from his trade association experiences.
- At SOCMA he championed the ChemStewards program, which helps managers of chemical facilities optimize performance in EHS and enhance their corporate citizenship. This program closely aligns with the mission of our members' work.
- He has strong government affairs experience, with SOCMA having successfully supported several pieces of legislation under his leadership.
- He holds the CAE (Certified Association Executive) designation, a clear indication of his commitment to his profession and to life-long learning.
- In his interview he was detailed, thorough, and thoughtful, especially in response to questions about his immediate priorities at AIHA. Read moreabout those priorities.
My impression of Larry is that he’s an outstanding communicator and polished professional who will be an excellent ambassador for our profession. Like the rest of the Board, I eagerly look forward to working with him.
SHARED TRUSTThe ideal relationship between a Board of Directors and an association CEO has shared trust and shared responsibility at its foundation. The Board is approaching this transition as if we are entering a new partnership, with open, honest communication and a shared vision of the future. We are all excited to start this new chapter at AIHA.
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