Our distinguished members!

As President of the SIVB, it is my pleasure to be able to distinguish members that have given service above and beyond over the past year.  2021 was an exceptional year due to many factors.  We were in the second year of a global pandemic.  Outside of the tragic developments on the world stage, SIVB faced numerous challenges.  Many of the award recipients are recognized for their ability to face the unique set of challenges that the continued pandemic put on the society.

We were faced with a very uncertain future with a potentially large economic impact to the SIVB.  The SIVB had signed a contract to host a live, annual meeting.  Contracts for our meetings are at least 2 years out.  At the time of signing, there was no visibility of an upcoming pandemic.  Yet, we were hit with the unforeseeable!  The executive committee (VP, President Elect, Past President, Treasurer and Secretary: Piero, Addy, John, Barbara, Sukhpreet, respectively along with Marietta from New Beginnings) were called into special meetings multiple times along with Marietta for continual updates on the situation and to develop potential scenarios for moving forward.  We were able to make key decisions and, with the active involvement of New Beginnings, were able to negotiate an outcome whereby the economic impact on the SIVB was minimized.  Further, strategies were developed that allowed for us to move to a virtual format with enhancements to the previous format.  I relied on the full engagement and support of the Executive Committee to make these societal critical (and business critical) decisions.  It was my pleasure to recognize the Executive Committee and New Beginnings for these critical contributions. 

Even though recognized for his contribution to the Executive Committee, I further recognized Piero for his contributions as head of the Development Committee.  This position is one that is literally business critical to the SIVB.  While in “normal” years, the position is difficult.  Piero by his consistent guidance and individual outreach not only was able to bring in contributions to the SIVB but was able to have a record year!  What is amazing in a “normal” year is even more notable in a year such as we had with pandemic and uncertainty facing all aspects of our lives.  I am pleased to be able to recognize Piero for such persistence and contribution to the SIVB.

Likewise, in “normal” years, the Program Committee has a Herculean job.  Most years, their efforts are mentioned and we do give recognition to the section chairs within the individual sections.  Here, for the second year in a row, the Board tasked the program committee with the further task of not only securing a great slate of speakers, but of then going back to those speakers and asking their continued participation in multiple formats which included arranging both recorded and “live” content.  Here again, I also wanted to recognize the always amazing effort of New Beginnings for that above and beyond effort of not only proposing various options, but then also enabling the options to become a reality.  This reality was confirmed by the success of the virtual meeting.  To that end, it was my pleasure to award the Distinguished Service award to the Program Committee: Raj Deepika Chauhan, Kristina Martinez-Guryn, Angela Labrum, A. Maxwell, P. Jones, M. Annie Saltarikos, Evan M. Hill, Alperen Ozturk and Brad L. Upham; as well as New Beginnings – Marietta Wheaton Saunders, and Michele G. Schultz.

Lastly in word, but not in deed, I was honored to recognize contributions from the Public Policy Committee.  Wayne Parrot as committee chair is always vigilant and diligent concerning identifying key issues where our members should be involved.  Typically, these are in the form of a call for contributions from regulatory agencies.  This year, Wayne identified a call from EPA as one that would potentially impact many of the members especially those involved in certain biotechnological solutions.  He singlehandedly analyzed the complex issue and wrote a well-researched response.   As president, it was my honor to submit the response for the SIVB.  Further, Wayne drew attention to a call from FDA that could significantly impact how animal research with potential biotechnological solutions would be examined and regulated.  John Harbell took up the call to analyze the proposed rule change and to submit a scientifically relevant response.  Again, as president, it was my honor to submit the response for the SIVB to the FDA.  These responses are well received by these agencies and it is critical that SIVB continues to be engaged in this space.  It is neither easy, nor trivial to respond to complex rule changes and it is my pleasure and honor to recognize those who take up the challenge to make such response.  

As president, it has been my privilege and honor to be able to give out Distinguished Service Awards.  I appreciate all of the efforts that all members make to our society.  We need to continue to celebrate not only through the Distinguished Service Award forum but also through our interactions and conversations.  I ask all of you to thank not only these recipients, but all that keep our society running!

Submitted by:
Allan Wenck, JD, PhD, SIVB President

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