Acceptance Speech of Mark Valentine P. Balanay–2017 PFCS-Shimadzu Achievement Award for Chemical Industry

Thank you to PFCS for honoring me with this prestigious award. Never in a million years would I have predicted that I would have been recognized for any Chemistry-related achievement but with great humility and honor, I accept this award fully acknowledging my family, mentors, colleagues, and friends who have helped me in making this recognition possible.

I would like to give thanks to many institutions who helped me in my journey. I especially thank my employer, Philippine Sinter Corporation for allowing me to grow professionally and personally in the past seventeen years. I would also like to mention the five Chemistry Departments from the five universities which are the pillars of Chemistry instruction and of the ICP-KKP Local Chapter in Northern Mindanao, namely: Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, University of Science & Technology in Southern Philippines, Central Mindanao University, Mindanao State University Main in Marawi, and MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. Knowing and working with all passionate and dedicated teachers, colleagues and friends in these great chemistry departments made me feel so proud of this chosen profession.

I would also like to acknowledge the support of ICP – headed by Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit and Ms. Edna C. Mijares. Thank you for your support to the local chapters and I express my great appreciation for your effort on the passing of the new Chemistry law which I firmly believe will not only benefit the chemists but the Philippine Industry in general.

Part of the pleasure of receiving this award is the opportunity to reminisce – especially of my career in the past seventeen years, and the opportunity and honor of learning from great chemistry professionals in all those years.

I finished BS Chemistry in 2000 at Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro. I started working in Philippine Sinter Corporation two weeks after I passed the licensure exams, and still am connected with the same company up to now. I was first assigned as a QA shift chemist – experiencing the sacrifices which among others involve working during Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Later, I then assumed the manager role for various positions including Quality Assurance, Production, New Business Division and even the Human Resource and General Affairs – on top of my concurrent role as a Pollution Control Officer and Head of the Integrated Management System Internal Audit.

In every position that I am assigned in, I always use my knowledge and training in Chemistry even in the area of Human Resource Management – relying only on accurate and precise data gathered using repeatable standard procedures before coming up with critical decisions. It was in this discipline that I successfully nurtured many quality improvement teams to drive innovations in the company.

As an QA analyst way back in year 2000, I was inspired by industrial chemists – including the late Mary Zayas of Resins Incorporated – an expert in synthetic resins and industrial adhesives who became my informal mentor in college and Dr. Romeo del Rosario – my professor in graduate school who is a well-respected Oleochemicals Industrial chemist and Chemistry Professor in Northern Mindanao – in sharing our unique and valuable experience in the industry especially to our Chemistry undergrads. This inspiration led me to accept in year 2006 a part-time teaching position at the University of Science & Technology in Southern Philippines where I teach Environmental Chemistry, Material Science and Environmental Management & Technology. Aside from my contribution to the company and the steel industry in general, I believe that this opportunity to mentor new generations of chemists is my proudest achievement by far.

I also believe that we in the industry should play a more active role in the improvement of the practice of chemistry in the regions. When I became President of ICP-KKP Regions X/XII/ARMM and CARAGA in year 2010, I solicited the active participation of my colleagues in the industry as we organized our semi-annual Regional Chemistry Congress and designed it to be more relevant to all stakeholders. Very successful were these regional congresses that in 2015, we were able to organize the very first and very successful Mindanao Chemistry Congress.

We in the industry see problems and opportunities from different perspectives and can offer solutions even to those outside the scope of the company’s operation. Many of us are perhaps sustaining the quality & environmental management systems, driving innovations, or leading our organizations. Our experiences in the diverse, flexible and dynamic organizations allow us to possess specialized competencies, unique knowledge and leadership & management skills that are needed in mobilizing people and in implementing programs to address problems especially those affecting the marginalized or threatening our planet’s sustainability.

To end, I once again give thanks to PFCS for acknowledging us – the chemists in the industry. To all my colleagues in the industry, may this award challenge us to contribute more to the science and society at large. Let us continue to be innovators, mentors and leaders. As I accept this award on your behalf, may we all be reminded that “it is our nature and perhaps destiny to discover more of the capacities of chemistry, but it is both a practical and a moral imperative that we do so with care, wisdom, gratitude, and awe”.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much!

Mark Valentine P. Balanay is the recipient of the 2017 PFCS-Shimadzu Achievement Award for Chemical Industry. He delivered this speech during the awarding ceremony in the 32nd Philippine Chemistry Congress, Asturias Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

He is currently the Senior Manager of Sinter Department–Production Division, Philippine Sinter Corp. He used his chemical knowledge and skills to become a leader in Philippine Sinter Corporation, a major corporation in Cagayan de Oro. He has engaged in a wide range of activities, including operation & production, analytical laboratory management, research & quality assurance, and human resource management. He is also the company’s lead auditor for ISO 14001 & ISO 9001. Mark has likewise used his skills to guide and build up the chemistry community in northern Mindanao into an active and responsive organization. This mix of experience, competencies, and commitment, including his dynamic interface with government, academe, industry, and scientific associations, makes him a well-rounded leader.