Mr. President, Members of the Society, and honored guests:
It is my honor to present Pierrette Tremblay, the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Medal—in recognition of her critical role in the creation and continued success of Elements. With more than 15,200 individual subscriptions and nearly 1000 institutional subscriptions in 105 countries, Pierrette has guided some 329 articles in 52 issues, for a total of more than 3500 pages, through the editorial process and to a five-year impact factor of 3.612. More important than the numbers is the fact that Elements has caused 17 different international societies to work together for the common good of mineralogy, geochemistry, and petrology.
Pierrette’s role was essential to every step of creating Elements, and more importantly, she remains the key driving force behind every aspect of the magazine—designing each issue, she handles the editing, advertising, layout, production, and budget. In addition to this huge amount of work, Pierrette has special personal qualities that have made Elements the success that it is.
Let me share some of the history of Elements and describe Pierrette’s critical, defining role. When the concept of a magazine, such as Elements, was first proposed, there was no or very limited enthusiasm for the idea. The individual societies were very much wedded to their own publications and society affairs. At that time, Pierrette was in charge of the newsletter for the Mineralogical Association of Canada that had just been upgraded with color and expanded to include a wider range of articles and news. The MAC newsletter was one of the best among the society newsletters. It was very much her “baby”, and so the idea of replacing the MAC newsletter with a new magazine was not immediately attractive. However, as the discussion continued, Pierrette was one of the few who listened carefully, added her own ideas and concepts, and finally, was the first to join and support the idea. This was a completely unselfish decision, and once “converted”, Pierrette embraced all aspects of the creation of Elements. It is rare to find an individual whose professionalism extends so far beyond their own group or society and whose decisions are always based on what is best for the broader scientific community. Pierrette is exactly this type of person—thoughtful and unselfish.
During the second phase of the effort, there were many contacts with the different societies. The societies had a variety of concerns and questions, but simply addressing the concerns or answering the questions was not enough. Pierrette brought a charming, multilingual tone to these discussions that, quite frankly, completely disarmed many of those who were reluctant to join the common effort. Without Pierrette’s charm and patience, I do not think that Elements could have been created.
The third phase was the nuts-and-bolts effort required to create Elements. At this stage, Pierrette simply took over. She created the first budget, managed the process of selecting the name, investigated all details of production, contacted and wooed advertisers, and guided the three new Principal Editors in establishing editorial policy and procedures. No one person did more than Pierrette.
The final phase is where we are today—the day-to-day production of Elements. Pierrette’s hand touches every detail. She edits every word, checks every image, juggles all contributions and finally delivers the finished product. Her editing is to the highest standard—she is always pushing, sometimes nudging, her colleagues to do a bit better with their prose or their images. This is not an easy job. The stress is very high because so many of the authors have no experience with writing at the level required by Elements or meeting the deadline of a magazine that must go to press on time. Each issue has its own drama and villain, such as the author who delivers a manuscript well beyond the deadline, at twice the length limit, and in an impenetrable prose. Pierrette works her magic on such contributions and transforms them to the interesting, readable articles that finally appear in Elements. It would be a mistake to fail to mention the help that Pierrette receives from her husband, Thomas Clark, not only a strong supporter of Pierrette and Elements, but also our keen-eyed copy editor.
Pierrette has been both the midwife and mother of Elements. With great pleasure, I present Pierrette Tremblay, the 2013 Distinguished Public Service Medalist.