Hello, I am Lisa Houston from Houston. Well, actually I was born and raised in Dallas but have been in Houston for nearly 30 years. I am married, have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. I enjoy traveling, hiking, and geocaching. I also love the chemistry of cooking and the bar.
My life and career have been an interesting journey to say the least but have made me who I am today and the American Chemical Society (ACS) has played a large role in both. My family did not have a way to send me away to college so I commuted 2 hours each day from Dallas to North Texas State University in Denton, working nights and weekends to pay for tuition. During this time, I discovered my passion for chemistry , got married, had a daughter and eventually graduated after 8 years.
Plans for graduate school evaporated when a summer contract position turned into full-time employment as a bench chemist and my career was on its way! I had a second daughter, attended my first ACS meeting and was asked to volunteer for the ACS Division of Petroleum Chemistry.
I accepted an offer from an upstart biotechnology company to set up and run its analytical lab which required relocating my family to Houston. I took the position since it was a natural next step based on my biochemistry degree and my work in oil chemistry. Unfortunately, my marriage did not survive the move and I was soon raising my girls on my own. Unfazed, I pressed on and found ways to manage my commitments, which now included two trips a year to ACS meetings in addition to work travel and a host of school activities. As the years went by, I rose in the ranks of the Division which allowed me to take on leadership roles in a supportive environment. I have since had additional leadership roles in the Greater Houston Section, with regional meetings and a number of national committees.
The skills I developed through the ACS have translated to my work environment and corresponding career advancement where I went from bench chemist to my current position as a business leader for two of five segments at PAC, an analytical instrumentation company. These skills include strategic planning, communication, collaboration, project planning, and innovation. My full professional and volunteer resume can be found here.
The greatest benefit of ACS has been the people I have met over the years. I am always excited to meet new members and learn what they are passionate about. Through the discussions of ACS programs and offerings, we usually find a way to engage them in service to the society. It has also led to life long friendships, mentors and collaborations. ACS has given so much to me and I will continue to give all my energy and enthusiasm in return.