Is it globalization or being global?

Greg Croce | TLT President's Report May 2019

How STLE has evaluated and started to extend our value proposition globally.

STLE is known internationally for its strength in education and certification. 

The question about what we are doing globally comes up more than you know. This is not only because it is exciting to consider interactions outside of your home country but also, as many of us work for global companies, we see the opportunity to extend our value proposition (Connect, Learn, Achieve) around the world. Therefore, I want to dedicate some space to explain what we have been doing (and not doing) globally.

So how does STLE become global? And what does it mean to be global? Is it to communicate outside your home country to other people in other countries? Is it to be present in other countries, physically and financially? Is it brand recognition or having affiliates outside your home country? All good questions, and we have pondered them all and tried them all.

Let’s start with understanding STLE’s value proposition: Connect, Learn, Achieve. We can narrow this down to five key parts of our offer: (1.) conferences, (2.) publications, (3.) local sections, (4.) education and (5.) certification.

Conferences. As you know, STLE puts on an annual meeting and Tribology Frontiers Conference every year. You also might know our annual meeting is one of the largest tribology conferences in the world. So why not replicate that globally? To start, almost every country we have members in already has several tribology conferences yearly. Quite honestly, there isn’t much space for us to take on the quite risky business of holding conferences in other parts of the world. Therefore, STLE supports all our partners with promotion and attends their conferences globally when possible.

Publications are one of our strengths, but guess what—they are in English. Popular in some countries, but again most countries outside North America have that covered. We are working with the Japanese and Chinese to provide some content, translated for easy use in those countries. Hats off to Chris DellaCorte and others for the good work that has been done to make our publications truly global.

Local sections? Well in North America we have almost 20 local sections functioning in various levels of involvement (see my article from last month). However, outside of North America, we find it to be a very unfamiliar concept. We are coming close in Singapore where we believe the language and proximity to meeting locations will aid in the ability to carry out local section activities.

So, with all that, our global strength comes down to education and certification! If there is one thing that STLE is known for and asked for globally, it is our education programs and world-class certification. It is for that reason we offer our exams all over the world today, albeit not ideally in all languages, as—wouldn’t you know it—technical questions are actually hard to translate into other languages? Education is a little more difficult, as we have just started our journey to create education material to share with the world.

We have worked long and hard to expand our offering globally. Most of the time was in discovery, determining what our colleagues want outside of North America. Now that we have that under our belt we can help people around the world get better at what they do in our industry. It is a proud time, and I look forward to our future!

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