Welcome to the web site of the former Golden Gate Chapter of ASM International. Sadly, the Chapter ended it long history of service to members, industry, and academia in our region in late 2005. A short account of the close of the chapter is given below in "The Last Chapter".
This web site is being maintained to provide a record of the chapter's activities and to help people find other materials societies, professionals, and educational opportunities in northern California.
At its end the Chapter's membership stood at around 480 and included presidents and CEO's of companies, engineers, scientists, technicians, librarians, consultants, managers, students, sales people and many others from the largest organizations in the region to the smallest home-based business.
The Golden Gate Chapter was one of 95 in the United States and was one of 7 in California. It covered Northern California from Hayward north to the Oregon border and from the Pacific Ocean and east into Nevada. It encompassed 37 counties and served a total population of 15,000,000.
This chapter met monthly for 81 years, discussing the materials issues of the day and socializing with the people who have defined our professions. During this span of time our members have witnessed and participated in the phenomenal growth and development of the materials professions, institutions, and California itself. They were leaders in the early "steel-age" when ship building was a major industry here, were instrumental in this nation's successes during the world war years which morphed into the aerospace boon during the cold war years, were essential to the microelectronics revolution (A CEO of Intel was a materials scientist.) and were working to meet the current biotech and nano-materials challenges. This chapter was proud of the accomplishments and contributions its members had been making for nearly four generations and embraced the recent and rapid expansion of traditional materials science and engineering as it mastered an ever widening range of materials and sought to meet the needs of emerging fields and new industries.
Chapter membership and attendance had been declining for several decades. Chapter meetings once drew 100+ attendees, but this had dropped to less than 20. Our 5+ year effort to turn things around are chronicled in the Chapter's newsletters (available on the archives page of this web site). In the final months of the chapter's operation, and with the support and guidance of the national headquarters, we solicited input from our members on alternative modes of operation. A few people were very disappointed to hear that the chapter was considering closing. Others supported our decision, but notably, the overwhelming majority were silent. In the end, and regardless of what root causes were, it was the lack of participation of members, which gradually led to a shortage of qualified people to lead the Chapter, that sealed its fate.
The mission of chapters like ours is to serve its membership. The steady decline in the participation and support of its membership over the past 10-20 years could indicate that the Chapter either was not meeting the needs of our members, or it could be that factors beyond our control were involved. (Many of these factors were discussed in the newsletters.) Apparently our chapter's situation was not unique. Chapters in this and other professions, and even private and civic groups, are struggling with this same problem. It may just be a another sign of the times.
Our chapter had excellent support from industry in the form of advertising in our newsletters and sponsorship of meetings, from people who wanted to come and speak at our meetings, and from a dedicated few in the executive committee who, in some cases, had served in various leadership roles for several decades. Financially were we doing fine, but attendance by the members had finally declined to the point that we felt we could no longer count on having enough people at a meeting to justify inviting speakers to our meetings and asking our sponsors for support.
We have returned our charter, bell, banner, and remaining funds to the national headquarters, but with the hope that the chapter may someday revive itself. At its close the chapter had seen a surge in new memberships and the creation of student chapters at U.C. Davis and U.C. Berkeley. There is a chance that the Chapter will be revived in the future.
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