Title and Description Page
Family Background and Early Education 1
Extended family in Roanoke, Virginia, and involvement with Norfolk and Western Railroad and Virginian Railroad. Father's work with U.S. Public Health Service leading to relocation in Shreveport, Louisiana, at age 11. High school education and competitive scholarship to Tulane University. Early exposure and attraction to engineering. Influence of high school principal.
College Years 4
Social adjustments at Tulane. Professors C. S. Williamson and F. M. Taylor and the chemical engineering department. Formation of Student Chapter of American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Financing college. Graduation in 1940. Job interview with Shell and importance of summer work as foreman with WPA. Hitchhiking to Houston, Texas, for Shell job and excitement at job prospects.
Early Shell Career 6
First assignment in gas department as technical trainee. Technical work in and around first sulfuric acid alkylation plant. Alkylation's importance in WWII and St. Clair's consequent deferment. Participation in first ever toluene extraction plant and assistant manager work during the war. Promotions and moves, first to manufacturing technological department in New York after the war, then to Wood River Refinery, Illinois. Series of assistant managerships and involvement with facilities operations in lube, gas, and cracking departments. Problems and accidents. Department managership of catalytic reforming. Relations between Shell Oil and subsidiaries Shell Chemical and Shell Development. Return to New York as assistant manager, manufacturing technological department, 1954. Comments on struggles and freedom to argue within Shell subsidiaries for allocation of resources. Move to Martinez Refinery, California, as assistant superintendent, 1956. Six-month study of long-term prospects for West Coast facilities. Promotion to superintendent of Wilmington Refinery, California. Relations between refinery and surrounding community and environment. Move to Houston Refinery as superintendent, 1961.
Career Path to Presidency 18
Mentor H. M. L. Love, vice president of manufacturing. Move to England as head, North American Division, Shell International Petroleum Company, 1961. Negative work experience with British class structure. Return to U.S. as head office general manager, 1963. Managing technological department, engineering, products application, and research departments. Involvement with two billion dollar new complex at Martinez. Contact with top executives while in England and as general manager. Assignments at Brookings Institution public affairs program, U.S. Congress and Department of the Interior, 1965. Vice presidency, transportation and supplies.
Presidency at Shell Chemical 25
Promotion to presidency with support of R. C. McCurdy, president of Shell Oil. Agenda as president: reorganizing divisions; establishing communication, trust. Expansion of olefins business, integration of facilities, meshing oil and chemicals business. Rationale for closing synthetic rubber division. Collapsing of ammonia division into agricultural division. Concurrent appointment as Shell Oil executive vice president. Relationship with and support of Shell Oil President H. Bridges. Shell's joint venture in Saudi Arabia to gain access to crude oil. Effect of energy crisis on operations and related threats to family. Advantages of refinery background while president. Rise in sales and profits at Shell Chemical across time. Expansion into detergents. Relationship with Shell Oil President J. F. Bookout and struggle for resources at Shell Chemical.
Retirement and Views of Chemical Industry 40
Problems after successor J. B. Henderson is named. Shell's age-60 mandatory retirement policy. Comments on chemical industry: fractionation, government control, the EPA, and the future of innovation. Experiences with innovators at Shell. View of companies licensing or buying, rather than developing, new technologies. Reflections on Society of Chemical Industry Medal and honorary degree from Tulane. Description of children's careers.