In 1975, when a young international development consultant named Tony Teele decided to launch a one-person firm to implement a small fertilizer project in Afghanistan, he could not have known the impact that his new company ― Chemonics ― would have on people around the world. In July, Chemonics’ staff, partners, and alumni took advantage of the company’s anniversary to look back and celebrate Chemonics’ 35 years in the service of development.
The first of these celebrations was an “Open House” at which Chemonics opened its doors to business and industry partners, alumni, and friends. The open house featured informational booths, where leaders of Chemonics’ technical practices shared the impact of the company’s work in health, democracy and governance, agriculture, financial services, and other projects across the globe. Guests also were treated to snacks from around the world and were able to interact with their former colleagues and leaders from throughout the development community.
Chemonics' Open House - July 13, 2010
The next day, Chemonics also hosted an anniversary party for all current staff members. At the event, staff were treated to a historic video produced by long-time Chemonics employee Sally Cameron that chronicled the company’s early ears and its development over time. The video featured interviews from some of Chemonics longest-serving employees who recounted their experiences from some of Chemonics’ early days and reflected on what makes Chemonics special.
“There are no 10 easy steps to development. We don’t believe in that as an organization,” said former CEO Ashraf Rizk, who joined Chemonics on a project in Egypt in 1982, in the video.
We “work with people that were willing to take risks … that were willing to take on a new challenge … and give it their all,” echoed Chris Smith, who started at Chemonics in 1982 and is now senior vice president of the Contracts division. We created “that culture, and that’s what’s continued to this day”.
Chemonics - the Early Years
Following the retrospective video, President and CEO Richard Dreiman announced the winning entrants of Chemonics’ first global video contest, “Development in Motion,” through which Chemonics staff around the world shared stories of their work and its impact. Winning submissions featured projects and staff from Angola, Bolivia, Paraguay, Pakistan, and West Bank and Gaza.
“I am incredibly proud of the work Chemonics has done these past 35 years. I can’t wait to see where the next 35 takes us,” said Dreiman at the event. Dreiman joined Chemonics in 1992 as the chief of party for a project in Morocco.
As we look back on the lasting impact Chemonics has had over past 35 years, we thank all of our partners, staff, and others who have worked side by side with us to promote meaningful change and we look forward to sharing more development successes with you.