STLE’s 2019-2020 Plan

Michael P. Duncan | TLT President's Report July 2019

From education to emerging trends, your society will focus on 10 key member services.

STLE President Mike Duncan honored the society’s board of directors during his inaugural remarks at the STLE Annual Meeting in Nashville.

I am writing my first president’s column soon after my return from the 2019 annual meeting in Nashville.

I would like to start with a big shout out to STLE Immediate Past President Greg Croce. Thank you, Greg, for your service to the society and my condolences to you, April and the rest of the Croce family for the loss of you mother, Maria. Just a few days before her passing, Maria mentioned to Greg how proud she was of his work with STLE, culminating in the presidency of the society.

Most of you were unaware that Greg’s mother passed away suddenly and quite unexpectedly three days before the annual meeting began. The STLE Executive Committee was not sure if Greg would be able to attend the event, but we knew his mother would have wanted him to. Thankfully Greg did attend and participated without hesitation. STLE Executive Director Ed Salek said it best: “Greg carried on during the annual meeting with energy and grace, despite the tough circumstances.”

The annual meeting was a whirlwind of activity: 1,535 registrants (representing 35 countries), 546 papers, 36 student posters, 37 Commercial Marketing Forum presentations, 12 education courses and 100 exhibitors.

An inspiring keynote address was delivered by Jeff Hemphill, chief technical officer, Americas, Schaeffler Group USA Inc. Jeff’s talk, Racing into the Future & the Impact of Tribology on Electrification, was insightful and led to many questions during the discussion that followed. Especially noteworthy was a video clip by Lucas di Grassi, Formula-E championship driver for Audi.

Someone asked me the other day, “Are you ready to be the president of STLE?” I answered, “I guess so.” Seriously, I am honored and proud to serve as your president in the next year. I have been mentored well by Ed Salek and the many presidents under which I have served on the board—Greg Croce, Mike Anderson, Ali Erdemir, Martin Webster, Maureen Hunter, Mike Dugger, Ed Becker, Dave Scheetz, Bob Baker, Bob Bruce, Jerry Byers, Andy Jackson, Phil Miller, Wayne Ward—and, of course, the wonderful staff in Park Ridge. The headquarters staff really does the hard work, and I would like to thank them for their efforts.

Thankfully I have had the support of my wife, Linda, in serving the society for the past 31 years. In addition, I am truly grateful to Daubert Chemical Co. for supporting me the past seven years. I could not serve in this position without Daubert’s financial assistance and continued encouragement. 

So, how have I benefitted from being an STLE member? I have gained invaluable training and experience by Connecting, Learning and Achieving:

Connecting to the education content, course instructors, customers, suppliers, consultants, experts, students, professors and government agencies

Learning and refining my skills on such topics as lubrication technology and additive chemistry, team building, financial responsibility, listening to others, compromising, running a meeting, public speaking, problem solving, organization, rules and regulations, strategic planning, recruitment and dealing with change and adversity

Achieving the skills necessary for my current role as executive vice president of Daubert Chemical Co. and as your STLE president.

So, you may ask, “What is Mike going to do as president of STLE?” I am not going to be so bold as to say, “I’m Going to Make America or STLE Great Again,” because I sincerely believe that STLE is already great. Being your president for the next year, I just hope that I don’t mess it up! Seriously, we already have a well-defined strategic plan and a professional headquarters staff, a team of executives (Ed Salek, Greg Croce, Paul Hetherington, Ken Hope and Ryan Evans) to keep me on track, the great board of directors to assist us and the past presidents to provide guidance and historical perspective. It would be really hard for me to mess this up!

Some of the key goals we are working on from our strategic plan include:

1. The next edition of the Emerging Trends Report 
2. New education training modules and courses
3. The Tribology Frontiers Conference, Oct. 20-23, in Chicago
4. Growing new sections and membership
5. The new Scholarship Management and Fundraising Committee
6. Connecting student and corporate members in internships
7. Celebrating STLE’s 75th anniversary
8. The new education excellence award honoring Ray Thibault
9. Refreshing the society’s strategic plan 
10. STEM activities.

So, it is apparent we have a lot to do this year and the many years to come.

For those younger STLE members, don’t be intimidated by the more experienced men and women in the society; rather, welcome the opportunity to become more involved in the society and learn and interact with them. Diversity is key to our continued success as a global organization. This diversity is essential to maintain our sense of purpose and relevancy to our membership. 

As we continue celebrating our 75th year as a society, we need a mixture of color, sexes, ages and experiences to help guide the society into the next 75 years. Change is inevitable and required by the leaders of this society. Get involved—we need your energy, fresh ideas, stirring thoughts and challenging questions. STLE needs volunteers to present papers, join committees and councils, become the next local section leader and support the 2020 Annual Meeting & Exhibition and Tribology Frontiers Conference. 

Did you know—it takes more than 400 volunteers just to maintain the current activities of the society? 

Think about doing something to make your company, community, STLE or the world a better place. 

Thank you for your support, and I hope to see, listen and talk to many of you during my term.

Mike Duncan is vice president of technology of Daubert Chemical Co. in Chicago. You can reach him at