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Presidents Message - October 2010

By Peter Drechsler

STLE's Life Blood

Local sections are the heart and soul of our society—and we have several resources to help your meetings succeed.

Some people say local sections are the life blood of STLE. This may be true, for if we had not established STLE sections our society might not have grown at all.

It all started back in 1945 when STLE, then known as the American Society of Lubrication Engineers, chartered seven sections, with Chicago being the first. Of the original seven chartered sections (Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia) only one is not operating today. The Milwaukee Section was chartered in March 1945 and dissolved in 1989. Not all sections can be successful, and some were dissolved along the way. Others were added, of course, and today our society consists of some 30 local groups.

A section may falter and eventually dissolve for a multitude of reasons. Limited membership in a given geographical area could be the problem. Remember, the larger the pool of candidates, the better the chances that you will keep the executive committee rotating with new members coming in. Or perhaps a major employer moves out of the region, depleting membership.

The efforts of the executive committee provide the backbone of a section. These leaders are the ones who create and manage section events, from technical sessions and education seminars to plant tours and social events. Without the efforts of this volunteer group, it’s tough for a section to succeed. A good executive committee provides strong leadership, but it is the members who make a section successful. You must find time to attend your local section meetings.

Assembling a year’s worth of events that meet the needs of a local section membership is challenging. A good executive committee understands the needs of its diverse membership and schedules programs of interest to the group. At times this is a difficult task, but it is extremely rewarding when you produce a successful program.

STLE headquarters recognizes this fact and has taken steps to help local sections succeed. One extremely useful tool is the Local Section Handbook, available at
www.stle.org. This 55-page handbook provides a guide on how to successfully run a section and contains a wealth of information. I encourage every section Officer to review this guide and share it with section members, especially those showing an interest in becoming an officer.

One of the most demanding aspects of running a successful local section program is obtaining good speakers and topics. STLE maintains a database of speakers on its Web site with related topics and any travel restrictions.

Online education modules Are another exciting venue that STLE will roll out in the near future. The current list is a good start and will be expanding. The first seven modules to be released are:

. Base Oils
. Additives
. Grease I,II and III
. Basic Metal-Remval Fluids/Metal-Removal Operations
. Waste Management and Recycling

Each module is approximately 30 minutes. One of the biggest benefits is that if a speaker cancels at the last minute, a section could always pull up one of these modules as a presentation. These will be available online at no charge through

There are going to be many other additions to the STLE portfolio to benefit the local sections, especially smaller groups where the resources may not be as great. Keep an eye on STLE’s weekly Update e-newsletter for details. The newsletter is just one of the many changes happening with STLE’s communications network.

Wow, just thinking of all of the changes makes me realize there is so much going on with STLE member programs that I don’t think I’ll have enough time during my term to report on all of them. These are exciting times for STLE!

Peter Dreschler senior tribology specialist with The Timken Co. Canton Ohio. You can reach him at peter.dreschler@timken.com.  

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