Our team of dedicated experts ensure that SOCMA members are always placed at the heart of the association. We utilize our diverse wealth of experience covering specialty chemicals and beyond to support our members with specialized guidance and advice.
President and CEO
Jennifer Abril was appointed President & CEO in late 2016 and is responsible for the strategic and operational management of the association. Jennifer is not a stranger to SOCMA, having previously served as the association’s Director of Performance Improvement in 2006-2008 and was responsible for the development and implementation of ChemStewards®.
As President & CEO, Jennifer has been laser focused on showcasing SOCMA’s position as the primary hub for the specialties sector. As a part of this transformation, Jennifer has led her team to refresh its programming and offer new opportunities to develop business partnerships and build industry connections across the supply chain.
Prior to her current role, Jennifer served as the President of the International Fragrance Association, North America from 2008-2016. Under her leadership, Jennifer expanded the membership by 30 percent, enhanced its educational offerings, and made significant strategic advancements during her tenure. Jennifer also spent eight years at the American Chemistry Council where she advanced the association’s international regulatory harmonization efforts on product stewardship and public health issues, in addition to developing marketing and business development strategies.
Jennifer earned a B.A. in International Studies from The American University and holds a M.S. in Management from the University of Maryland, University College. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons.
Chief Financial Officer
Vera Stoeva brings more than 17 years of experience to her role as SOCMA’s Chief Financial Officer.
She previously managed three organizations with combined budgets of more than $15 million and served as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Executive Management team. She has also modernized and replaced accounting systems and instituted new streamlined processes, which increased efficiency, accuracy and improved the auditing process for two other organizations.
Vera comes to SOCMA most immediately from the Council for a Strong America, where she served as Director of Finance during an unprecedented period of change and instituted a complete reconfiguration of the Finance Department. Her expertise in managing multiple complex initiatives will be invaluable as SOCMA begins implementation of a new database and other infrastructure improvements.
A native of Bulgaria, Vera has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Auditing, as well as two master’s degrees in both Accounting and Business Administration.
Senior Vice President
Paul Hirsh drives thought leadership for the specialty chemical industry, focusing on business growth and market building activities. Bringing more than 15 years experience working in the chemical industry at trade organizations, Paul is focused on expanding commercial programs and services at SOCMA.
In his role at the American Composites Manufacturers Association, Paul increased member retention by 20 percent and created a market intelligence program, resulting in additional non-dues revenue by increasing the number of partnership agreements.
While at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Paul led ACC’s advocacy efforts during international negotiations that developed the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. He also managed Superfund reauthorization advocacy, which included representing the industry before committee members and staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee, and EPA.
Paul is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Political Science and completed certificate programs in Executive International Business and International Finance and Global Markets at Georgetown University.
Senior Vice President
Strategic Business Development
David Wawer is Senior Vice President of SOCMA’s Association Management Services, where he oversees six trade associations and the newly formed Center for Specialty Chemical Science, LLC, which includes 14 chemical consortia.
David has almost 30 years of experience in the chemical industry, including serving as a government relations professional for Ciba-Geigy Corporation, an international chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical corporation. His 30-plus years of national trade association experience includes roles with the American Chemistry Council, Color Pigments Manufacturers Association and SOCMA.
Having started his professional career in Chamber of Commerce management, David is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institutes for Organization Management.
David also served in both staff and Executive Director roles for Chambers of Commerce in Waterbury, CT, Chicopee, MA, and Northern Rhode Island. He served in regional trade associations, including the Boston Real Estate Board, Lexington, KY Board of Realtors, and the Massachusetts Chemistry Technology Alliance.
Legal and Government Relations
Robert F. Helminiak is Vice President of SOCMA’s Legal & Government Relations team, where he leads the association’s advocacy efforts on issues impacting the specialty and fine chemical industry.
Helminiak previously served as Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs for the Plastics Industry Association, where he worked with government agencies to develop and implement programs and foster partnerships with stakeholders and other groups to benefit the plastics industry. He has also represented the propane industry and the HVAC industry while with the National Propane Gas Association and the Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute.
He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton and a law degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
Information Technology & Administration
David Knoch has more than 30 years of Information Technology experience, working with teams to implement processes around technology, data management and cybersecurity. During his 18 years at SOCMA, Dave has managed, implemented and maintained the association’s database and CRM systems, and he has worked with the Communications & Engagement team to update and manage the backend system of the SOCMA website.
Throughout his career, Dave has maintained medium to large backend systems, complex voice/data infrastructure, transitioned organizations from local to cloud solutions and in charge of troubleshooting various desktop operating systems which provides a complete understanding of many client/server solutions.
In addition to his role in Information Technology, Dave also oversees many office operational functions and was instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition of the move of SOCMA’s offices from Washington, DC, to the current location in Arlington, VA.
Dave has a Certificate in Information Technology Project Management from the American Management Association.
Membership, Marketing and Communications
Jenny Gaines is Senior Director, Membership, Marketing & Communications, leading the association’s membership, marketing and communications initiatives to advance SOCMA’s mission, vision and strategic direction.
Among her duties, Jenny builds and maintains a robust pipeline of member prospects to ensure association growth. She engages members, encouraging them to take full advantage of SOCMA’s programs and services to support their operations and enhance business and development opportunities. Jenny is also an industry connector, serving as spokesperson and member liaison for SOCMA’s Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show, the specialty chemical industry’s premier commercial growth platform.
Jenny also oversees all SOCMA marketing and communications efforts to raise brand awareness and clearly communicate issues impacting the fine and specialty chemical industry.
A longtime journalist and editor, Jenny previously served as Managing Editor at the Greenwood Commonwealth, a daily newspaper in the Mississippi Delta. She also served as News Editor at the Clarion-Ledger, the largest news organization in Mississippi. Upon moving to the D.C. metro area, she was a Senior Writer for a woman-owned, Native American government contractor.
Jenny has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with minors in English and history from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Membership and Marketing
Moira is working to grow association membership through engagement and outreach, as well as by marketing tools and resources that are critical to the specialty and fine chemical industry.
Working with the Senior Director, Membership and Marketing, Moira is advancing SOCMA’s mission and vision through membership recruitment and engagement, and strategically promoting tools and resources vital to the growth of SOCMA members and industry.
Moira comes to SOCMA with a broad background in association management, having spent the past several years supporting a variety of industry groups. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in Electronic Journalism at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.
Samantha Hill is Manager, Communications, composing all public-facing writing that the association puts out, including press releases, media and articles. In addition to writing, Samantha manages The SOCMA Career Center, SOCMA’s social media channels and is staff liaison for the Women in Specialties Peer Group.
She has been with SOCMA since 2014 and looks forward to SOCMA’s next 100 years of providing “Solutions for Specialties.”
Samantha is a graduate of Arizona State University, with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the areas of Communications and Sociology.
Genevieve joins SOCMA with a strong background in advocacy and regulatory/legislative work in the association world. Throughout her time at organizations such as the U.S. Travel Association, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA), Genevieve has developed strong relationships throughout Congress and all levels of government.
Genevieve graduated summa cum laude from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, with a BA in French. She earned her Master of Public Policy from the American University in Washington DC, where she was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Global Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration in recognition of her outstanding scholarship in public affairs and administration.
She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband.
Tatiana Letcheva serves as Associate Director of two affiliate organizations under SOCMA’s Association Management Center (AMS) umbrella, including the Color Pigments Manufacturers Association (CPMA) and the Institute for Polyacrylate Absorbents (IPA).
In her role as Associate Director, Tatiana oversees operations and programming, including committees, stakeholder engagement and communications. She has extensive experience with leading strategic initiatives to advance the interests of industry trade associations.
In her role under the AMS umbrella, Tatiana oversees operations with the affiliate groups, supporting their strategic goals and seamless integration with SOCMA services.
Tatiana has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.
Technical & Safety
Joe Dettinger has served as Senior Director of Technical & Safety at SOCMA for more than four years. Drawing from his 17 years of industry and technical expertise, Joe has been instrumental in modernizing SOCMA’s environmental, health, safety and security program – ChemStewards® – as well as ChemOps Training, the go-to source for training chemical operators at manufacturing facilities across the industry.
Joe works closely with SOCMA’s Industry Development team to facilitate SOCMA’s Lead Sheet Service, a B2B matchmaking service that helps chemical companies throughout the specialty chemical industry identify business partners.
He is also instrumental to SOCMA’s membership recruitment team, helping to bring companies across the country and globe into the association’s specialty chemical community.
Prior to coming to SOCMA, Joe served as Director of EHS&S and Government Relations at Bimax. Joe began his career with Bimax as a chemical operator and quickly advanced into a supervisory role. Within two years, he was promoted to Regulatory Affairs Manager and tasked with building and leading Bimax’s EHS&S program. This position required oversight of activities in all departments throughout the company, as well as staff training and implementation of the EHS&S program.
Prior to leaving Bimax, Joe led the company to achieve two bronze and one silver Performance Improvement Award, as well as achieving ChemStewards Tier 3 status in 2017 – the program’s highest tier for environmental, health and safety excellence.
Joe has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a CSP designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
Technical & Safety Education
Tammy Netherland serves as SOCMA’s Senior Manager of Technical and Education. In this role, she manages the organization’s efforts of providing operational best practices for manufacturers in specialty and fine chemicals.
By harnessing Tammy’s 20 plus years of experience in adult learning theory, client relations, and curriculum development, she crafts training programs and engaging educational experiences that promote operational performance improvement.
Over the past two decades, Tammy has worn many hats giving her a unique outlook and understanding of client needs and development processes. This helps her quickly and accurately develop the proper planning and program implementation. Tammy has been honing her skills to assist industrial clients identify technical services and training programs that will achieve their business objectives and is excited to apply these skills and experiences with SOCMA members.
Tammy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a Master of Science in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
Programs and Operations
Amber Thichangthong brings a depth of program and project experience to SOCMA and approaches her work holistically by always keeping organizational objectives in mind.
A former Account Executive at Kellen, Amber oversees in-person programs and manages operational and administrative activities.
Amber holds a B.S. English/Professional Writing from Old Dominion University.
Programs and Operations
Ronae Jones is SOCMA’s Assistant Manager, Programs & Operations. She works with the Senior Manager, Programs & Operations, to guide and execute all programmatic and operational aspects of SOCMA services, as well as assisting with finance and administration duties.
Ronae is a graduate of Old Dominion University. Her professional experience encompasses marketing, customer care, and production.
Otgonchimeg ‘Oggie’ Badarch is SOCMA’s Accounting Manager. She works with the CFO and Senior Manager of Accounting in managing all daily financial activities, processes and procedures for both SOCMA and our affiliate groups.
Oggie has a broad background of experience in accounting. She received her B.S. in Accounting and Banking from the University of Mongolia and is working towards her Master’s in Accounting from DeVry University.