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St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter
St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter
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Local Spotlight

Sean Hickey – American Chemical Society

Sean Hickey ‘s involvement on the local and regional level of the American Chemical Society has created opportunities for him to become familiar with many people in the meetings division of this national organization. His participation and passion has certainly paid off, as New Orleans will be hosting the ACS Southeast/Southwest Regional Meeting in 2020, and the Spring National Convention in the years: 2024, 2027 and 2032!

Q:     Please tell us the work that you have done over the years to get the Spring National Convention for ACS back to our city in 2024, 2027 and 2032 after being here in 2018, as well as the Joint ACS Southeast/Southwest Regional Meeting back to New Orleans in 2020.

A: The process for the ACS Southeast/Southwest Regional Meeting and the Spring National Convention is very different.For the 2018 Spring National meeting, the national committee members did talk to me about the availability of New Orleans going forward for future years. Our biggest contribution (other than the fact that New Orleans is LOVED by the ACS and its members) is as the local section host for the meeting.  As the host, we organize multiple events.  We man a hospitality booth where we answer questions and encourage members to take in all that New Orleans offers.  We also try and support the local economy.  This year, we provided tabasco bottles and pralines (from a local vendor) to all the attendees.

The Joint ACS Regional Meeting organization process is much different.The decision is made by the executive regional board.I am the secretary/treasurer and past-chair of that board.New Orleans is in the unique position that we have been selected to host a joint meeting of the Southeast and Southwest regions every 10 years.For the regional meeting, everything for the planning falls on our local section.I am proud to have served as general chair of the 2010 meeting (which was awarded a Chemluminary award for the best regional meeting) and will again serve as the general chair of the 2020 meeting.The continued presence of our meeting in New Orleans is predicated on our performance.The Southeast region has contacted us about potentially hosting this every 5 years instead of every 10 years.The talks are very preliminary, but we will investigate taking over the 2025, 2035…meeting from Memphis.


Q:     Please tell us about your personal involvement with the American Chemical Society.

A:  I first got involved with the ACS as a volunteer over 15 years ago.  I started as the newsletter editor and have held many leadership positions in the local section.  Around 2004, I had agreed to be the general chair for the 2010 regional meeting.  The planning for that event started as early as 2006 and really got rolling in 2008-2010.  Because of my involvement in the regional meeting, I joined the executive boards of the Southeast and Southwest region and subsequently got to know many of the people in the Meetings Division of the American Chemical Society.  This is a vital part of bringing conferences to our city.  We need to make sure we have local representation on our organization’s boards that make decisions on where to host meetings.


Q:      What are some of the reasons that you think New Orleans is a great place to hold meetings?

A:  New Orleans is just the perfect city for meetings.  People want to come to New Orleans.  They know that they can walk everywhere they want to go, whether it is the French Quarter, the museums, the great restaurants.  Hotels are so convenient to the convention.  Plus, the city just has a vibe and an ambiance that you do not get elsewhere.  The national ACS meeting is mostly a rotation of cities like San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston and New Orleans.  But when you talk to the members, they all LOVE New Orleans.  San Francisco is a great city, but the convention center is not near all the hotels or the spots that our members would like to visit.  San Diego has a similar feel to New Orleans in that there are hotels and a restaurant district close, but it just is not New Orleans.


Q:      What do you like most about the city of New Orleans?

A:  There is so much to love about New Orleans.  When you are in New Orleans, you know you are in a city unlike any other city in the US.  We have a real European feel.  Our citizens are so friendly and inviting.  There is an honest and pure experience to the city that is not a façade like other cities.  Even the “touristy” parts of town are real and authentic.  New Orleans is a city deeply steeped in tradition, diversity, culture, food, drink, music and so much more.  We are city that celebrates our differences as much as our similarities, our triumphs as much as our defeats.  Being a New Orleanian is not about where you were born or raised, but about how much you love and cherish the great culture and spirit of our city.  When people come to New Orleans, they become a part of the city and we hope that they bring that experience back to their hometown and spread that feeling to their friends and family.