History of NAOSMM
In 1974, money was scarce and chemicals were in short supply. Mr. Lamar Houston, stockroom supervisor for the University of Georgia, sought to discover if others were having as much difficulty obtaining supplies and chemicals as he was. He mailed 45 questionnaires to find out if there was interest in organizing a group of scientific supply managers to talk over and try to find answers to this and other problems. The response was favorable, and in August of 1974, twelve managers met to discuss which type of organization would be most useful.
The consensus was that the organization should be service oriented to transmit information directly from national and local vendors to members, and, as a long-range goal, to improve the status of all stockroom professionals. At that first meeting, the name "National Association of Scientific Materials Managers" was adopted.
It was also decided that annual meetings would be beneficial for maintaining contacts among members of the new group. The following year, 1975, the meeting was held in New Orleans with Mr. Bill Ruther from Tulane University and Mr. Cecil Wells from the University of New Orleans as hosts. To gather more support and publicity, Mr. Wells used a national registry of universities and colleges to develop a mailing list to 1,329 educational institutions. From this list, 102 respondents sought membership in the new organization, but were unable to attend; 40 others attended the meeting.
At the New Orleans meeting, the NAOSMM Constitution, By-laws, and Charter were prepared and adopted. The third annual meeting was held in Minneapolis. A logo was adopted for the organization in the hope that it would increase professional awareness. Richmond, Virginia, was chosen for the fourth annual meeting. Attendance was much higher than expected, mainly due to increased national awareness of NAOSMM. Vendors were permitted to exhibit for the first time, and the results were very favorable.
The emphasis at the annual meetings is on local issues, people, and problems. The sessions generally last from one to three days and combine topical presentations for both members and vendors to help them learn about events of interest in their areas. Through these meetings, individuals become acquainted with their local colleagues, allowing them to benefit from others' experiences.
The 1978 meeting, held in Houston, was structured to encourage the candid exchange of views. A wide variety of viewpoints were heard, which stimulated debate and raised questions on a variety of subjects. During 1978, the NAOSMM was incorporated in the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana. By June 1979, the organization had established tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.
The sixth annual meeting was hosted by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. This meeting was by far the best organized and the most enjoyable for both the members and their families who attended. The date selected allowed members and their families to attend the Pioneer Days celebrations held throughout the city.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina was the choice for the seventh annual meeting hosted by Burroughs Wellcome Co. By this time, a steady flow of ideas and a solid core of members evidenced the solid, expanding organization that NAOSMM had become. Members have grown professionally through participation in the meetings and through contributions to the association's publication, The Newsline.