Our Rich History

The Birth of the ALCA
The birth of the ALCA was not a sudden phenomenon. A group of leather chemists met at the annual convention of the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) in 1893. Their sole concern was to find an accurate method for analyzing the tanning extracts used in the industry. Extracts were often altered by traders or experimented with by tanners. Thus, commercial interests — and not purely scientific pursuits — sparked the initial banding together of leather chemists.

These chemists did devise a method of measuring the amount of tanning material absorbed by dried, ground hide. Modifications in this method were made over the next several years and interest in the problem of tannin analysis was very high. In 1897 by-laws were written and officers elected for a leather chemists’ association, but the effort died and the group continued to meet as an unofficial part of the AOAC, though few leather chemists were actually members of this larger group. By 1903 the leather chemists again felt the need for their own organization. Nine of them decided to form the ALCA on November 22 of that year.

President Kerr later summarized the early years in a letter to Dr. H. G. Turley: “The organization of the ALCA in 1903 was the outcome of a decade of sustained effort by a small group of young technological chemists to establish reliable analytical methods for determining the commercial value of all description of materials employed in the manufacture of leather, and to introduce scientific methods of tannery plant control. As late as 1895 there was practically no recognized leather trades chemistry as such in this country; only a few tanners employed chemists in their plants and most of the analytical work called for was done by general analysis in the laboratories of those dealers in chemicals or dyestuffs who had taken on representations for tanning materials. It would be difficult for the members of the ALCA today to visualize the bitter disputes and the wrangling between chemists, to say nothing of the verbal abuse heaped upon the devoted heads of the pioneers of leather chemistry in the middle and late nineties and for many years later for that matter.”

Taken from “Seventy-five Years of ALCA Meeting,” Published for the 1979 Meeting of the American Leather Chemists’ Association, Written and Edited by Scott D. Fields with Special Thanks to John J. Moynihan and The Leather Manufacturer, and Published at the Direction of the ALCA Council, William E. Dooley, President; James M. Constantin, President-Elect; William T. Roddy, Secretary-Treasurer; Councilors, Stephen M. Feairheller, Thomas E. Greene, Bruce D. Miller, John J. Moynihan, and Richard G. Waite.


Leadership of the ALCA

Our Past Presidents:
G. A. Kerr
W. H. Teas
H. C. Reed
J. H. Yocum
F. H. Small
H. T. Wilson
J. H. Russell
F. P. Veitch
W. K. Alsop
L. E. Levi
C. R. Oberfell
R. W. Griffith
C. C. Smoot, III
J. S. Rogers
Lloyd Balderston
J. A. Wilson
R. W. Frey
G. D. McLaughlin
Fred O’Flaherty
A. C. Orthmann
H. B. Merrill
V. J. Mlejnek
J. H. Highberger
Dean Williams
T. F. Oberlander
A. H. Winheim
R. M. Koppenhoefer
H. G. Turley
E. S. Flinn
E. B. Thorstensen
M. Maeser
R. G. Henrich
Robert Stubbings
Dominic Meo, Jr.
R. M. Lollar
B. A. Grota
Malcolm H. Battles
Joseph Naghski
T. C. Thorstensen
Jean J. Tancous
William E. Dooley
James M. Constantin
Lawrence K. Barber
Jean J. Tancous
William C. Prentiss
Stephen H. Feairheller
Marcel Siegler
Frank H. Rutland
David G. Bailey
Russell A Launder
Bruce Miller
Gary W. Hanson
Douglas G. Morrison
Robert F. White
Elton L. Hurlow
Maryann M. Taylor
Jerome F. Levy
Dean T. Didato
Rodney Hammond
Douglas G. Morrison
W. Nathan Mullinix
Dennis C. Shelly
William N. Marmer
Stephen S. Yanek
David Leblanc
Craig Glover Keyser
Andreas Rhein
Steven Gilberg
Steve Lange
Sarah Drayna
In 1959 Salem Oil & Grease Company celebrated its 50th Anniversary. During the years of its existence, the major part of the company’s business had been in developing and supplying products used by the leather industry. The Directors of the company felt that the industry had been good to them and wished to show their appreciation by establishing and financing a memorial lecture to be given at each Annual Meeting of the ALCA. The memorial lecture was designated as The John Arthur Wilson Memorial Lecture as a memorial to Dr. John Arthur Wilson, with Salem Oil & Grease Company sponsoring the lecture through 2003.
The subject of the lecture is to cover the general field of theoretical or applied leather technology or in closely related fields. A minimum of one (1) hour is typically allowed for the presentation of this lecture and subsequent discussion at the association’s annual convention. Following convention, the lecture is published in “The Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association” for viewing by the membership and subscribers.
With the sale of Salem Oil & Grease’s business in 2003, Stahl USA has generously agreed to continue to sponsor this industry coveted lecture at future ALCA conventions. The association remains indebted to both Salem Oil & Grease Company and Stahl USA with regard to past and future sponsorship of the lecture series.


John Arthur Wilson Memorial Lecturers:

1960 – John Highberger
1961 – Marcel Riviere
1962 – Harold G. Turley
1963 – Mieth Maeser
1964 – Bruce Bare
1965 – Hans Herfeld
1966 – Harry Bradley
1967 – G. N. Ramachandran
1968 – Mary Dempsey
1969 – Walter L. Abel
1970 – Joseph Naghski
1971 – Robert L. Sykes
1972 – Peter J. van Vlimmeren
1973 – Stanley G. Shuttleworth
1974 – Dominic Meo, Jr.
1975 – Jean T. Tancous
1976 – Peter J. van Vlimmeren
1977 – Robert M. Lollar
1978 – Wilfried Diebschlag
1979 – John Sharphouse
1980 – Bernard Vulliermet
1981 – Neville P. Slabbert
1982 – J. Graham Butlin
1983 – Eckhart Heidemann
1984 – Betty M. Haines
1985 – Stephen H. Feairheller
1986 – Lieselotte Feikes
1987 – Alberto Simoncini
1988 – Kenneth T. W. Alexander
1989 – Rudolph D. Deanin
1990 – Krysztof J. Bienkiewicz
1991 – Catherine A. Money
1992 – Wilhelm Pauckner
1993 – Hubert M. Wachsmann
1994 – Hugo Springer
1995 – Frank H. Rutland
1996 – Tilman L. Taeger
1997 – Heinz-Peter Germann
1998 – Anthony D. Covington
1999 – Max May
2000 – Reg H. Hankey
2001 – T. Ramasami
2002 – Roy S. Thomson
2003 – David G. Bailey
2004 – Jaume Cot
2005 – Harro Traeubel
2006 – Rainer Dorstewitz
2007 – Richard P. Daniels
2008 – Bi Shi
2009 – Eleanor M. Brown
2010 – Jose M. Adzet
2011 – David Rabinovich
2012 – Anthony D. Covington
2013 – Elton L. Hurlow
2014 – Jakov Buljan
2015 – Dietrich Tegtmeyer
2016 – Rachel Garwood
2017 – Federico Brugnoli


The ALSOP Award, established by Council in 1939, is in memory of the late W. K. Alsop. Tannin Corporation generously donated an annual prize to be awarded for outstanding scientific or technical contributions to the leather industry from its inception until 2008.  The ALCA itself sponsored this award from 2008 until 2011 at which time the LANXESS Corporation became the new official sponsor of this award.

First consideration for the prize is given to active members of ALCA, and to work published or accomplished within the previous twelve months. Work published within the previous three calendar years may be considered if no work especially of recognition has been published within the previous twelve months. 

1939 – B.A. Schiller
1940 – E.E. Doherty
1941 – R.M. Koppenhoefer
1942 – R.W. Frey
1943 – F. O’Flaherty
1944 – W.E. Emely
1945 – M. Maeser
1946 – H.G. Turley
1947 – F.O. Schmitt
1948 – D. Williams
1949 – not given
1950 – I.C. Somerville
1951 – not given
1952 – J.R. Kanagy
1953 – H.B. Merrill
1954 – R. M. Lollar
1955 – Jerome S. Rogers
1956 – John H. Highberger
1957 – Wm. T. Roddy
1958 – Robert Subbings
1959 – James M. Cassel
1960 – Edw. M Filachione
1961 – Wallace Windus
1962 – Jean J. Tancous
1963 – not given
1964 – Edw. F. Mellon
1965 – not given
1966 – Ludwig Seligsberger
1967 – Clara L. Deasy
1968 – Joseph Naghski
1969 – N. C. Benrud
1970 – Shu Tung Tu
1971 – Thomas Thorstensen
1972 – Alfred L. Everett
1973 – Stephen Feairheler
1974 – not given
1975 – Ross G. Donovan
1976 – William C. Prentiss
1977 – not given
1978 – not given
1979 – Clinton Retzsch
1980 – Stephen A. Shivas
1981 – James Constantin
1982 – Peter R. Buechler
1983 – not given
1984 – David G. Bailey
1985 – Waldo E. Kallenberger
1986 – Marcel Siegler
1987 – Michael Komanowsky
1988 – Mortimer Greif
1989 – Hubert Wachsmann
1990 – not given
1991 – Maryann Taylor
1992 – not given
1993 – Robert G. Koeppen
1994 – not given
1995 – Jerome F. Levy
1996 – Eleanor M. Brown
1997 – John W. Mitchell
1998 – Frank H. Rutland
1999 – Jim Hodder
2000 – not given
2001 – Cheng-Kung Liu
2002 – not given
2003 – Janice E. Barnes
2004 – Satyendra De
2005 – Dennis C. Shelly
2006 – Anton Ela’mma
2007 – Lori Hyllengren
2008 – William N. Marmer
2009 – Karel Kolomaznik
2010 – George B. Stockman
2011 – Anthony D. Covington
2012 – Nicholas P. Latona
2013 – Robert F. White
2014 – Kadir Donmez
2015 – Elton L. Hurlow
2016 – James D. Haggerty
2017 – Okey Abara


The Fred O’Flaherty Service Award, established by Council in 1973, recognizes individual active ALCA members who have made over a period of time significant contributions to the Association or to the leather and leather products industries through the ALCA. This O’Flaherty Service Award may be given to prior recipients of the Alsop Award (which recognizes outstanding scientific or technical contributions to the leather industry) in recognition of continuing significant service contributions.

1974 – Clinton E. Retzsch
1975 – Oscar V. Wederbrand
1976 – Joseph A Casnocha
1977 – Stephen A. Shivas
1978 – Joseph T. Hernon
1979 – Herbert L. Ellison
1980 – Velma E. Becker
1981 – Russell Lakoski
1982 – Raymond A. Hauck
1983 – Anthony J. Pilar, Jr.
1984 – Alex E. McDonell
1985 – Carl M. Perdue
1986 – Herbert . Tetrealult
1987 – Paul D. Finnegan
1988 – Raymond Ytuarte
1989 – Robert A. Patridge
1990 – Stuart E. Miller, Jr.
1991 – not given
1992 – Leo P. Devarenne
1993 – Stephen H. Feairheller
1994 – Robert M. Lollar
1995 – Dominic Meo, Jr.
1996 – Jean J. Tancous
1997 – Bruce D. Miller
1998 – Janice E. Barnes
1999 – Richard Peckham
2000 – Bruce Sharp
2001 – Marcel Siegler
2002 – William C. Prentiss
2003 – John Moynihan
2004 – Frank Rutland
2005 – Maryann M. Taylor
2006 – Randall L. Rowles
2007 – Kenneth A. Boni
2008 – Dean T. Didato
2009 – David Rabinovich
2010 – Doug Morrison
2011 – Lori Hyllengren
2012 – Eleanor M. Brown
2013 – Prasad Inaganti
2014 – Sarah Drayna
2015 – Carol Adcock
2016 – James D. Haggerty
2017 – Steve Lange


The Prize Paper Award was renamed the Dr. Robert M. Lollar Prize Paper Award in 2003.  This change was made to honor the memory of Dr. Lollar for the extensive fundamental and environmental research that he conducted during his distinguished career as well as his lobbying efforts on behalf of the leather industry.  His contributions to the knowledge and understanding of the science of making leather greatly advanced the leather industry, not only in the United States but also worldwide.  The award is given every second year and facilitates the recipient’s attendance and presentation of the selected paper at the biannual IULTCS Congress.  The award is sponsored by the ALCA and the Leather Industries of America Leather Research Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati.

2003 – Andrew Gehring
2005 – Jerome F. Levy
2007 – William N. Marmer and Robert L. Dudley
2009 – George Stockman
2011 – Cheng-Kung Liu
2013 – David Rabinovich
2015 – Joseph Hoefler
2017 – not given


The Randall L. Rowles Memorial Scholarship was established in 2009 to honor the memory of the late Randall L. Rowles, an outstanding senior researcher with the University of Cincinnati Leather Industries Research Laboratory. He epitomized the ideals of The American Leather Chemists Association through providing the members with information regarding realistic methods, tanning skills, recognition of hide defects, and tanning problems.  Guidelines for the scholarship include that the recipient shall be a relative of an ALCA member in good standing and currently enrolled in school full-time, having completed at least two years of post-secondary education with a declared major in the sciences or leather-related field.

2009 – Shelby Hyllengren, daughter of member Lori Hyllengren
2010 – Alejandro Velez, son of member Luis Velez
2011 – Heather Rennerfeldt, daughter of member Gary Rennerfeldt
2012 – Naimul Alam, son of memer Khorshed Alam
2013 – not given
2014 – not given
2015 – Heidi Rowles, daughter of the late Randall L. Rowles, and Mike Rennerfeldt, son of Gary Rennerfeldt
2016 – Bailey Keyser, son of Craig Keyser
2017 – not given