Contract Services

SOCMA Returns to Trade Show Arena

Association Acquires Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show to Underpin Strategic Focus

As an association with a long and storied history in the trade show arena, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) is back as new owners of the Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show. SOCMA purchased the Chemicals America show, founded in 2019, earlier this summer.

Trade show ownership is not new to SOCMA. The association launched a small table-top trade show – InformEx – in 1985 in Atlanta, GA, and grew it into the leading trade show for the specialty and fine chemical industry. When SOCMA sold the show in 2005, it was in its heyday with more than 4,000 attendees and nearly 500 exhibitors.

“What we did not appreciate at the time we sold InformEx was that SOCMA’s exit created a void,” said SOCMA President and CEO Jennifer Abril. “As a galvanizing force for the specialty chemical supply chain, our members expect us to be a leader in this arena. With our continued pulse on the industry, no one understands the specialty chemical supply chain as intimately and uniquely as SOCMA. We are thrilled to once again provide this essential platform.”

Trade show ownership also underpins SOCMA’s strategic focus of offering commercial growth opportunities for its members and the industry. “SOCMA’s commercial network is a bridge to help companies find suppliers and customers, and we are a source of intelligence for end-market insights and product applications,” Abril said. “We have a wealth of tools and resources in our storehouse, and the addition of a trade show is the final piece of the puzzle that brings our association full circle.”

Purchasing the Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show is something SOCMA has considered since entering its partnership with Chemicals America and Tom Leahy to launch the show currently based in Fort Worth, TX. “We had hoped to announce the acquisition at the February 2020 show, or shortly thereafter, but the pandemic held things up a bit. We are happy that conditions were in place this summer between our two organizations to finalize the sale.”

With mirrored values and objectives, the success of the specialty and custom chemical industry is important to both SOCMA and Chemicals America. “This is a handing-off of the baton, so to speak,” Abril said. “We truly value the relationship we have built with Chemicals America these past years and are continuing to work with Tom Leahy to seamlessly transition the 2021 show.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be at the forefront, it did not dissuade SOCMA from its decision to purchase the Specialty & Custom Chemicals Show. “SOCMA is in this for the long haul,” Abril said. “We are, however, taking a cautious and thoughtful approach to planning the 2021 event, with the health and safety of exhibitors and attendees as a top priority in every decision.”

With so much disruption to the normal flow of business this year, companies are seeking something familiar, Abril said. Keeping that in mind, any changes to this year’s show format will be primarily based on social distancing and safety protocols associated with the pandemic. “Being an industry heavily focused on safety, we are confident in our ability to ensure proper safety measures are in place while still providing a venue that is conducive to our attendees’ and exhibitors’ business needs,” Abril said.

It is fortuitous that SOCMA’s return to the trade show arena in 2021 kicks off the association’s 100th anniversary. “We can’t think of a better way to commemorate this centennial milestone than by coming together in Fort Worth to celebrate this innovative supply chain, and re-establishing SOCMA’s presence as a leader in the industry’s trade show space,” Abril said.

“I want to personally invite you to join us in Fort Worth as we lead the way in bringing the industry safely back together to showcase their manufacturing capabilities, chemistries and unique product offerings on the exhibit hall floor and in our Exhibitor Showcases,” Abril said. “We will also feature subject-matter experts and thought leaders delivering insight on key topics that support business and economic growth. This is a must-attend event, and we look forward to seeing you all in Fort Worth in February.”

If you have questions about this year’s show:

Contact Jenny Gaines, Senior Director, Communications and Engagement, at for more information and to reserve your exhibit space or sponsorship opportunities.