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William C. Goggin

William C. Goggin

Dow Historical Collection, CHF Collections

  • Born: August 26, 1911, Alma, Michigan
  • Died: December 14, 1988, Midland, Michigan

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0047
Interview Date: August 20, 1986
Location: Midland, Michigan
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 54
Minutes: 240

  Abstract of Interview

William Goggin begins the interview with a description of his family and his childhood years in Michigan. After attending grade school and high school in Alma, Michigan, he attended Alma College. He received his B.S. in chemistry, physics and mathematics. Goggin went on to the University of Michigan to further his education in electrical engineering. After two years, he received a B.S.E.E. in electrical engineering. Remaining at the University of Michigan, he obtained his M.S. in electrical engineering in 1936. While a graduate student, Goggin interviewed with Dow Chemical Company, and joined their staff in the Student Engineer Training Program in 1936. There, he learned first-hand the specialties of chemical engineering. After completing his training, Goggin first worked on setting up testing procedures for new polymer electrical insulators. While an employee with Dow, Goggin received a patent for a cording stretching apparatus. Goggin's work in Dow's Plastics Division coincided with the rise of plastics in the world market, especially during World War II. He rose steadily through the company, remaining an employee with Dow for his entire career. He retired as Chairman of the Board of Dow Corning Corporation in 1976. Goggin concludes the interview with a discussion of the development and profitability of products.


1933 B.S., Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics, Alma College
1935 B.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan
1936 M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan

  Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

1936 - 1937 Student Training Program

Dow Chemical Company

1937 - 1939 Engineer, Physics Research Laboratory

Dow Chemical Company

1939 - 1941 Salesman, Special Products Division

Dow Chemical Company

1941 - 1942 Assistant Manager, Plastics Sales Division

Dow Chemical Company

1942 - 1943 Manager, Plastics Sales Division

Dow Chemical Company

1943 - 1947 Manager, Plastics Development Division

Dow Chemical Company

1947 - 1959 Manager, Plastics Technical Service

Dow Chemical Company

1959 - 1967 General Manager, Plastics Department

Dow Corning Corporation

1967 - 1971 President and Director

Dow Corning Corporation

1971 - 1976 Chairman of the Board


1954 Honorary D.Sc., Alma College
1976 Plastics Hall of Fame

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Early Years 1

Family life in Alma, Michigan. Boy Scouts. Attending grade school and high school in Alma. Early interests in engineering. Entering Alma College.

College and Graduate School 5

Attending Alma College and the University of Michigan. Decision to further education in electrical engineering. Membership in Tau Beta Pi. Seeking a career in electrical engineering.

Early Career at Dow Chemical Company 13

Student training program. First work in the Physics Lab. Patents. Shift to Plastics Division. Movement to management. Military product applications.

Career with Dow Corning Corporation 30

German plastics evaluation in Europe. Living with Polio. Development of the multidimensional organization (MDO). Product development. Attending Harvard Advanced Management Program. Dow Chemical Company's movement to Dow Corning Corporation.

Final Thoughts 44

Implementation of MDO at Dow Corning Corporation. Product profitability. Involvement with Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Plastics Materials Manufacturing Association (PMMA), and Manufacturing Chemists' Association (MCA).

Notes 49

Index 50

  About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning is professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he was a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and has presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was the foundation’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. He is currently a visiting research scientist and CESAR Fellow at Lehigh University. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

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