Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Things to Like About STLE

STLE makes some history this month by celebrating our 70th anniversary as an organization.  We were founded in Chicago, Illinois, on March 3, 1944 and have been located in the Chicago-area for all of our seven decades of continuous operation.

My personal history with STLE dates to September 1996 when I joined the staff as the designated successor to long-time Executive Director Maxine Hensley.  She retired in May of 1997 after 25 years of dedicated and distinguished service to the organization.

One of my first objectives at that time was to oversee implementation of a strategic plan that was designated as STLE 2000.  The goal was to modernize and improve the society in terms of internal operations, governance and scope of services.  That initial plan, and several successor plans developed and implemented in the 21st century, have made STLE a much different organization than it was when I arrived on the scene more than 17 years ago.

After reflecting on the projects, people and places that I have enjoyed working with since 1996, I will take a shot at pointing to five things STLE has accomplished and that are still evolving as sources of value for our membership and for the lubricants and tribology business worldwide.

  1. STLE certification programs are recognized as the mark of a professional in the lubricants business.  More than 1,000 individuals hold a current designation for Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS), Oil Monitoring Analyst (OMA) or Certified Metalworking Fluid Specialist (CMWFS).  Recognition is growing worldwide for each of the programs as tests are translated to other languages and the body of knowledge for each area is more clearly defined and made more easily accessible.  
  2. Digital services delivery has enabled STLE to expand the reach of its educational mission throughout the world.  We were an early adopter of online education technology and web-based information.  Most recently, a monthly webinar education program has enabled thousands of individuals to bolster their knowledge by listening to presentations on virtually every aspect of lubricants and tribology – at an affordable price and without ever leaving their workspace.
  3. TLT magazine, celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2014, continues to write a success story for its content and appearance and as an advertising outlet.  Members consistently rank it as the number one benefit of membership.  Tribology Transactions, the STLE technical journal, continues to run strong and has made the transition to the digital publishing world thanks to the help and support of our publishing partners at Taylor & Francis.
  4. International membership is nothing new for STLE.  But, in recent years, we are becoming an organization with a global perspective on serving members and understanding the challenges facing our technical and business segment.  Case in point – we currently have 5 international board members (more than 20% of the board).  In addition, member advisory councils have been formed in Europe, China and Latin America.
  5. STLE, like many other technical societies, has had to refresh the organization by attracting younger members to the profession and to leadership at all levels.  We’ve put some money behind this goal by providing scholarships and research funding to students with a genuine interest in the field.  More recently, we’ve added student poster sessions at conferences and created networking and career mentoring opportunities.  The impact is noticeable when you look at photos of an STLE conference or local section meeting – lots of young faces learning the business through our organization.

Let me make a final point about STLE and its exceptional team of volunteer leaders, members and staff. This is an organization that spends more time looking to the future than to admiring past accomplishments. As we head into the 2014 Annual Meeting, we are in the first year of another bold strategic plan.  One of the goals is to generate an annual report that benchmarks and tracks emerging trends in the tribology and lubricants field.  The first iteration of this report, due out in May, points to a field with the potential to solve the challenges and develop the products demanded changes in end user preferences, product design or environmental standards.

How all these trends and predictions will play out is clearly a bit of a guessing game.  But what’s much more certain, to my mind, is the fact that STLE will continue to be an exceptional resource that educates and supports men and women worldwide who’ll be making these things happen in the future.

So Happy Birthday STLE!  Your proud past has built the foundation for what will be an amazing future.

-Edward P. Salek, Executive Director, STLE

Monday, February 24, 2014

STLE is Turning 70!

STLE was founded March 3, 1944, making this year our 70th anniversary. Join us in celebrating next week (and all month) – we’ll have lots of great activities, drawings, events and more for members including a chance to participate in our celebration!

Ways you can participate:

  • Contribute to the STLE history sampling by sending a photo, story or memory
  • Submit a tribology or lubrication best practice or tip for our special feature in TLT
  • Register for our FREE webinar on 3/6, "Tribology, Force and Motion from Ancient Egypt to Present Time," given by Rafael Tadmor, Lamar University | Register Now! Note: Limited to first 100 registrants (all others can sign up to view the recording). 
  • Win STLE swag at your local section
  • Follow @STLE_Tribology on Twitter for unique and fun facts about STLE, including an infographic about the organization (coming soon!)
  • Watch a quick video message from our President, Robert Heverly
Submissions can be sent to – you may see your story in TLT, on our website, or in another outlet related to our anniversary.

And a big THANK YOU to all of our members and supporters - we wouldn't be the same organization without you!