State of the Society Address

Greg Croce | TLT President's Report December 2018

Six months into our fiscal year, STLE keeps a sharp focus on technical innovation and professional advocacy.

In response to an industry need identified in its Emerging Trends Report, STLE is establishing a scholarship committee in 2019 to attract talented young people into our profession. 

As I write this article, it is crazy to think that it has been six months since the STLE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. If you recall from my incoming speech, I noted that a good STLE president doesn’t create a legacy but, rather, continues supporting STLE’s mission, vision, strategy and value proposition (can anybody state the value proposition? Answer’s at the end—don’t cheat!).

So what have we accomplished in the last six months?

As you may know, there are three strategic pillars of our society we try to continuously improve upon in the belief that if we excel in these areas, the society will be world class and membership will grow. What you may not know is that we have Strategy and Surveillance Teams (SSTs) for three key goals: (1.) increase technical expertise, (2.) advance innovation and (3.) communicate and advocate for our profession. 

Each SST is comprised of six board directors plus an Executive Committee member and a staff liaison. In the past couple of articles, I have provided an update on our Technical Expertise SST, led by director Allison Toms (GasTOPS Inc.), which is working to improve certification and education. I would like to focus this article on what we are doing for the other two pillars.

First, the Advance Innovation SST, led by director Tom Scharf (University of North Texas), is constantly surveilling our industry to find best practices, new knowledge/research and gaps in our member offerings. Additionally team members are focused on reviewing and constantly improving STLE’s Emerging Trends Report. We are publishing this detailed report every three years now, with the last one released in 2017. This team is already looking on how to improve the questions and better engage with subject matter experts for the 2020 edition. 

The Communication and Advocacy SST, led by director Ryan Evans (The Timken Co.), is involved in what is probably one of the most rewarding areas I have been involved with at STLE. Interesting enough, our 2017 Emerging Trends Report pointed out two key barriers to success in our industry: inability to attract young talent and continued reduction in government funding for research. Many factors created these barriers, but one common theme is the lack of understanding on how tribologists and lubrication engineers contribute to almost all scientific and technological progress.

In response to this situation, STLE in late 2017 initiated a multiyear media campaign targeting four key market segments: transportation, power generation, metalworking and manufacturing. The messages, developed with assistance from a Chicago-based marketing-communications agency, demonstrate how tribology can enable advancements that enhance the performance of any system that moves by helping it run more smoothly, efficiently and reliably. Benefits include reduced machine wear and downtime, energy use, personnel hours, waste and maintenance costs. The result: improved productivity, profitability, sustainability and safety.

The campaign has placed 16 articles that convey this message with media outlets that reach hundreds of thousands of technical professionals worldwide. Copies of the articles are posted on the STLE Website news page.

Lastly, I am happy to report that we agreed at our October board meeting to establish a scholarship committee. This committee will be responsible for all aspects of scholarships, from raising funds to allocation and all programs associated with giving back to our industry. Be on the lookout for great things from this new committee!

Until next time—Connect, Learn and Achieve!
Greg Croce is Delo Brand technical manager for Chevron Products Co. in Richmond, Calif. You can reach him at