This one is being resurrected literally from yesteryear (a word that will be forever linked in minds of a certain age with the Lone Ranger). It’s almost too old to report—too embarrassingly old—but Excellence deserves its due, even if it is overdue.The Salute to Excellence was presented to Jost Chemical Company on October 25th, 2014, by then-STL-ACS Chair Jim O’Brien. Accepted by Jerry Jost, the award was conferred jointly by STL-ACS and the Greater St Louis Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Jost Chemical had been hosting and providing technical, material, and logistical support to the Boy Scout Chemistry Merit Badge Clinic for 10 years.
Jost Chemical Company was founded in 1985 by Jerry Jost, a chemical engineer. The company initially manufactured high-purity magnesium phosphate for the food and nutrition market, but quickly expanded to many other inorganic salts. By 1994, Jost Chemical had relocated their plant and office to a 40,000-square-foot plant in St Louis County near Lambert Airport; additional expansions in 1997 and 2004 added over 300,000 ft2 of manufacturing, research, and warehouse space that currently spans four buildings on over five acres. Today, Jost Chemical Co is still a family-owned company, manufacturing and shipping more than 250 high-purity specialty chemicals to more than 60 countries.
In 2005, Jerry Jost was the subject director for all Boy Scout chemistry merit badge counselors in the Greater St Louis Area Council. At a boy scout event, Lisa Balbes, St Louis section member, lamented to him that she had been unable for years to find a place to host a chemistry merit badge clinic. All the local industrial labs required visitors to be over the age of 18, which ruled out using them for Boy Scout activities. Jerry’s immediate reply was “I guess you can use our place”, to which Lisa responded “Great! What’s your place?” From that quick conversation, a collaboration between the two organizations was born. Since 2006, Jost Chemical has provided the facilities, supplies, PPE, and tours of their ever-expanding facilities. Initially funded by an Innovative Program Grant, and continued by the St Louis local ACS section, each year about 50 boy scouts spend a day in the labs, completing chemistry experiments and requirements, and learning from professional chemists. To date, over 500 scouts and many parents and leaders have participated and expanded their chemical knowledge.