The excitement is high for the SOCMA Show! Jenny Gaines is back to share information about SOCMA’s Four General Sessions at this year’s show featuring leaders in the Specialty Chemical Industry.

Monday, February 19

Securing the Future: Strategic Investments in Critical Chemicals for National Defense

In 2023, SOCMA became aware of U.S.-based chemical manufacturing opportunities through the federal government. Federal officials will join us in Nashville to shed light on how your company can take advantage of open projects to re-shore critical chemicals.

Dr. Marta Pazos, Critical Chemicals Sector Lead, Defense Production Act Investments,
Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

Tuesday, February 20

8:15am-9:00am: Economic Outlook: Trends, Indicators and Drivers for the Chemical Industry
Keynote Presentation by Robert Fry
The specialty chemical sector continues to experience external inconsistencies that impacted business conditions in 2023, making it almost impossible to clearly forecast for 2024. When will current conditions turn around? Here from our economic expert on key trends, indicators and drivers the industry should be watching as they make key business decisions.

Sponsored by Ascent Chemicals and Moderated by President Bryan Kitchen

10:00am-11:00am: Keys to Securing Contract/Tolling Business from a Buyer Perspective
In the current business climate, specialty chemical buyers are more selective than ever when it comes to business partners, and tollers are looking for innovative and advantageous ways to acquire new business opportunities. SOCMA’s newly published 2024 Contract Manufacturing Outlook provides insight on what capabilities customers are seeking and what capacity tollers have through YE 2024. Attend this session for insight on:

  • How and where customers are seeking tolling partners.
  • Key changes in the buyer/toller relationship under current business conditions including flexibility, speed to market, CapEx, geopolitical risks, among others.
  • Types of chemistries and capabilities customers are looking to outsource.
  • How companies can break through the noise and gain a customer’s attention.

Moderator: Brooke DiDomenico, Chief Technical Officer, Nation Ford Chemical, Tradeshow Committee Chair & 2023 SOCMA Women in Specialties Awardee


  • Chelsea Burlan, Global Director, Procurement and Supply Chain, W.R Grace
  • Brian Burkhart, Vice President, Fine Chemicals, Milliken
  • Jessie Walters, Global Procurement Director of External Manufacturing, Evonik

2:00pm-3:00pm: Contract Manufacturing Resilience & Resurgence
Toll and contract manufacturers are poised for growth. Companies did not let a slow business climate in 2023 deter their focus. They used this opportunity to build stronger operations to go further and faster as they looked for business opportunities in return in 2024. Hear “war stories” about how they secured their supply chains to mitigate risk, navigated the impact of China and India flooding the market with product below operating cost, and trained up and retained their employees in preparation for increased demand.

Moderator: Carolyn Karonka, Category Manager – Chemicals, Chevron Oronite


  • Kate Hampford Donahue, CEO, Hampford Research, Inc., SOCMA Board Chair
  • Joe Wilson, President & CEO, Toll Solutions, SOCMA Board Member-at-Large
  • Jeff Barnes, President & CEO, NASi, SOCMA Board
  • Rae Johnson, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, ChemDesign
  • Clay Pace, President, Commerical & Technology, Seatex, Commercial Committee Chair

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