Educating, connecting and growing the evolving elastomer community

The Rubber Division, ACS Team

Our main telephone number is 330-595-5531 and our fax number is 330-595-5536.

Lakisha Barclay, CAE - Executive Director & CEO
Phone: 330-595-5539

Lakisha has been with Rubber Division, ACS since July 2007. She served as Director of Finance & Administration and was promoted to Executive Director & CEO January 2020. Lakisha is responsible for providing daily operational leadership to the team, as well as serving as a spokesperson, developing partnerships with other organizations and maintaining good communications with the Executive Committee, regional Rubber Groups and the American Chemical Society. Lakisha is the staff liaison to the Steering, Executive, Nominating and Subdivision Advisory Committees. Her background includes Summit County Children Services, the U.S. Air Force, and owning and operating her own tax and accounting service where she specialized in non-profits. She currently sits on the boards of Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio, Fair Housing Contact Services and Friends of Main Library. Lakisha earned her B.S. in Accounting from The University of Akron. A forever learner, she is currently enrolled in Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Executive MBA program. She achieved Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification in June 2021. The Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is the highest professional credential in the association industry and the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment.

Christelle Asare - Accounting Manager
Phone: 330-595-5538

Christelle joined Rubber Division, ACS in August 2022. She earned her B.S. in Accounting from George Mason University, completed her Master of Business Admistration (MBA) with concentration in Finance in May of 2022 and is currently working towards her CPA. Christelle has held accountant and finance positions for over 10 years with some valuable experience with associations and has provided high quality bookkeeping, business consulting and administrative services for start-ups, small businesses, corporations, non-profits and independent contractors. Christelle serves as the staff liaison to the Finance & Budget Committee. 

Melanie Avdeyev - Conference Director
Phone: 330-595-5537

Melanie joined Rubber Division, ACS in June 2006. She came to us with five years of experience assisting the Executive Director of a non-profit association, MCACO. Melanie is a dedicated meetings and events professional with over 15 years of experience in non-profit meeting planning. She is a valuable resource and is well diverse in areas of the Division having held the positions of Exposition & Meetings Assistant, Meetings Manager, Exposition & Futures Sites Manager, and Meetings & Events Manager. She was promoted to Conference Director in 2022. Melanie is a detail-oriented professional with strengths in event creation, planning and execution. In her current role, she manages all conference logistics from planning through execution. These include developing RFPs, researching, visiting, evaluating and negotiating future conference sites; including hotels, convention centers, convention and visitors bureaus and other localities. Melanie negotiates all contracts for facilities, hotels and service providers. She also manages all logistics and operations of our expos, as well as hotel block and housing operations for our events. Melanie serves as staff liaison to the Exhibits Committee and Young Professionals Committee.

Chuck Brady - Technical Programs Manager
Phone: 330-595-5543

Chuck joined Rubber Division, ACS as the Science Librarian in April 2011 and took on the role of Technical Programs Manager in 2018. With a Master’s Degree in Library & Information Science from Kent State University, he has over 25 years experience supporting science and business research at the National Geographic Society, Akron-Summit County Public Library and the University of Akron Science Library. In his current role, Chuck coordinates and manages the technical and student programming for Rubber Division semi-annual meetings and specialty conferences. He also works closely with our journal Editor and publishing partner to publish the Rubber Chemistry & Technology Journal. Chuck continues to provide research support to our members through literature searches and technical paper sales. He is staff liaison to the Program Planning, Student Affairs and Best Paper Committees, as well as the RC&T Editorial Board and the Advisory Committee on Testing Procedures.

Anne-marie Bretzin - Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Phone: 330-595-5532

Anne-marie joined Rubber Division, ACS in January 2020 and serves as Executive Assistant & Office Manager. In this role, she is responsible for providing administrative assistance to the Division’s Executive Director and Executive Committee. She also provides general office management of our headquarters. Other responsibilities include assisting with registration for the International Elastomer Conference, technical meetings and any specialty conferences, as well as providing specified administrative assistance to the Membership & Outreach Director. Anne-marie’s professional experience includes nearly 20 years of team support, administrative skills and office management. Anne-marie serves as the staff liaison to the Service Awards Committee and Scholarship Committee.

Gretchen Cermak - Marketing & Communications Director
Phone: 330-595-5540

Gretchen joined Rubber Division, ACS as Marketing Manager in March 2012. January 2020, she was promoted to Marketing & Communications Director. In this role, she directs and manages the Division’s overall branding, marketing, communications and public relations activities and oversees the development and delivery of a fully integrated marketing strategy for the Division. Gretchen provides leadership and guidance in all aspects of marketing and communications for the organization, and along with the Executive Director, is responsible for overseeing the protection and management of the Division’s image and reputation. This includes all marketing, communications and public relations activities and strategies within the Division and team functional areas; developing and implementing advertising, marketing, public relations and sponsorship campaigns; producing and overseeing promotional materials and communications; as well as directing the communications of the organization and team. Prior to joining Rubber Division, ACS, she spent the prior 11 years as Marketing Manager at Hyatt Regency Chicago, managing the day-to-day marketing and public relations for the 2,019-room hotel and conference destination. Gretchen serves as the staff liaison to the Marketing Committee.

Heather Maimone, MBA - Training & Membership Director
Phone: 330-595-5546

Heather joined Rubber Division, ACS in February 2011. Heather develops, implements, manages, improves and leads the operations and procedures of Rubber Division membership directly related to individuals, corporate, student chapters and associated scholarships. She directs activities involving recruitment and retention programs, current and future benefits and developing long-term strategies for targeting and increasing overall membership. She also works closely with the local rubber groups and affiliated technical organizations. Heather is also responsible for facilitating and managing all training, online courses and webinars. In addition, she manages the Student Outreach Program that provides rubber education and tours to science classrooms in hopes of expanding our industry and getting the younger generations interested. Prior to joining Rubber Division, ACS, Heather was the Business Manager at Abbott Labs. She graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Business Administration and summa cum laude with an MBA at Kent State University. Heather serves as the staff liaison to the Membership and Education Committees.

Juliana Nelson - Student Assistant
Phone: 330-595-5535

Juliana joined Rubber Division, ACS in August 2022. She is currently a student at the The University of Akron. The primary focus of Julian’s role and responsibility is to provide support to all team members and manage special projects as assigned. 

Rubber Division, ACS European Representatives

David Cawthra - European Representative
Phone: +44 (0)7968-081-261

David joined Rubber Division, ACS as European Representative as part of Rubber Heart Ltd based in Hertford, United Kingdom in March 2020. David has a BA in Marketing and Communications from York St. John University and over 20 years’ experience in marketing, communications, PR, events and sales in the global rubber industry. David’s expertise is in international business, client liaison, brand and social media management, international exhibition management, project and events management in the tyre, automotive, healthcare, pharmaceutical, construction and industrial product sectors. Since April 2020 David has been an active member of the Marketing Committee and Strategic Education Committee for Rubber Division, ACS and since March 2019 has been a committee member on the historic and prestigious Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Rubber In Engineering Group (RIEG) Committee in London, UK. David has built up a trusted network of connections within the global elastomeric community and as European Representative is committed to increasing awareness in Europe and internationally of the benefits of Rubber Division, ACS membership, the International Elastomer Conference, training, education and student outreach opportunities, as well as championing the North American rubber industry throughout Europe and beyond. 

Gail Reader - European Representative
Phone: +44 (0)7825-232-601

Gail joined Rubber Division, ACS as European Representative as part of Rubber Heart Ltd in March 2020. Gail’s enviable reputation in the global rubber industry proceeds her after working as a technical editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry before moving on to spend 30 years at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre UK where she was editor of the well-respected journal, Rubber Developments then led the company marketing and promotional programs. She has worked with some of the most eminent rubber scientists and engineers and has a BSc in Chemistry from King’s College, London University. Her background includes strategic planning, technical writing and editing, copywriting, design and event organization and she is dedicated to increasing engagement with young people interested in polymer science and engineering that will inspire and encourage the next generation of rubber industry professionals. With her technical journal background, she is excited to be part of the initiative to promote Rubber Chemistry & Technology and bring this important polymer journal to a wider audience. Gail currently sits on the Rubber Division, ACS Strategic Education Committee and Membership Committee and is passionate about Rubber Division, ACS and what it stands for - enhancing science, technology and business across the evolving elastomeric community.