AKRON—In a time when social distancing is critical, it's connections that matter.
A newly signed memorandum of understanding between the ACS Rubber Division and Rubber Heart—a marketing, communications and events company based in the United Kingdom—is intended to expand and strengthen the rubber industry's global connections.
"Those involved in the rubber industry will be considering ways to broaden and create more flexible supply chains in the future, and I believe that the Rubber Division, ACS community can play a significant role in connecting and driving business, particularly between the U.S. and Europe," Lakisha Miller-Barclay, Rubber Division executive director, said in a statement.
Under the agreement, Rubber Heart founders David Cawthra and Gail Reader will serve as European representatives, tasked with broadening Rubber Division awareness and engagement throughout Europe.
"We have seen firsthand the benefits of Rubber Division, ACS Corporate Membership scheme during our previous employment and how it can have such an impact on making new connections, driving business forward and keeping abreast of new research and innovations," Reader said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the dedicated and passionate Rubber Division, ACS team to strengthen its position internationally, particularly in Europe."
As the coronavirus spread around the world, the Rubber Division adapted many of its programs, events and educational opportunities to continue to meet the needs of its members, while also working to keep everyone safe. This included moving training and events online. One training, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, included a large European audience.
Additional webinars, including those focusing on failure analysis of rubber as well as polymer testing and processing, will be offered throughout the spring and summer.
So far, the Rubber Division plans to hold its annual International Elastomer Conference in person in Knoxville, Tenn., but those plans routinely are being reviewed.
"We are still actively planning for our International Elastomer Conference Oct. 20-22 this year in Knoxville, Tenn., to proceed as scheduled as we believe it would provide the global rubber industry with a meeting hub to reassess and create new business models for the future," Miller-Barclay said. "However, our overwhelming priority is to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all involved with our event, so we will be closely monitoring the evolving situation and any potential impact new developments may have on it."