Past Winners of the Petrochemical Heritage Award
Mohamed Al-Mady accepts the 2009 Petrochemical Heritage Award from CHF president Tom Tritton and Founders Club president Jerry Law.
Frank Popoff, 2014
Frank Popoff is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company. His career with Dow lasted over 41 years and included his serving as president and CEO from 1987 through 1995, chairman from 1992 through 2000, and president of Dow Chemical Europe from 1980 through 1985.
He is also the former chairman of the Board of Directors of Chemical Financial Corporation, a Michigan bank holding company and parent of Chemical Bank, where he served as a director since 1985.
Popoff is a senior adviser of American Express Company and a director of ShinEtsu Chemical Company of Tokyo. He is a past director of several publicly traded companies, including United Technologies Corporation, Qwest Communications International, and NCR Corporation. He is past chairman of the American Chemistry Council; a former member of the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable, where he chaired its Environment Committee; and a founder of the Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Popoff has served as a member of the Business Council and a director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Michigan Molecular Institute. He is a director of the Indiana University Foundation and the university’s Kelley School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. After retiring from Dow he served as a visiting professor at the Indiana University School of Business.
Popoff was titled Knight Commander in the Order of Oranje-Nassau by The Netherlands in 1989, and received the Leadership Award of the United States Council for International Business in 1992, the Rene Dubos Environmental Award in 1993, and the Palladium Medal in 1994.
Popoff holds an AB in chemistry and an MBA from Indiana University. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Rose Hulman Polytechnic Institute, Alma College, Northwood University, and Indiana University.
Jim Ratcliffe, 2013
After graduating in chemical engineering from Birmingham University in 1974, Jim Ratcliffe began his career in the chemical industry in accounting, marketing, and business management with Courtaulds and Exxon. After 15 years in manufacturing, during which he completed a 2-year MBA degree at London Business School, he moved into private equity as director of Advanced Materials with the U.S. company Advent International, retaining a particular focus on the chemicals sector.
Ratcliffe put the experience gained at Advent to good use in 1992 when he led his own buyout of a BP specialty chemicals business based in the United Kingdom. The company was to be called Inspec, and as one of two founder shareholders and managing director, Ratcliffe initiated a number of acquisitions that saw the company grow significantly. Two years later it was floated on the U.K. stock exchange.
In 1998 Ratcliffe sold his interest in Inspec to lead another buyout opportunity. This time it was the Inspec’s Antwerp facility, which was to become known as INEOS. For the past 15 years Ratcliffe has concentrated his efforts building INEOS as its chairman and major shareholder.
Under the management of Jim Ratcliffe and the board of INEOS Capital, the company has established a strong track record of acquiring businesses and improving their profitability through safe operation, tight financial management, and good customer service.
Today, INEOS is one of the world’s largest chemicals companies, employing together with its joint ventures, around 20,000 people across 104 sites in 25 countries. Additionally it has joint ventures with PetroChina, BASF, Total, and Carlyle Private Equity. Sales in 2012 reached $45 billion.
Marvin O. Schlanger, 2012
Marvin O. Schlanger is chairman of the supervisory board of LyondellBasell Industries, a $50 billion global chemical producer, and is chairman of the board of CEVA Group, a $9.6 billion international logistics supplier. He is a principal in the firm of Cherry Hill Chemical Investments, LLC, which provides management services and capital to the chemical and allied industries.
Schlanger began his career with Mobil and joined ARCO Chemical Company in 1975. He became chief financial officer and a member of the board of directors in 1989, and chief operating officer in 1994. He was appointed president and CEO in 1998. ARCO Chemical was subsequently sold to Lyondell.
From 2000 to 2005, in conjunction with Apollo Management, Schlanger led the component acquisitions and management of the resolution companies, which grew to a global enterprise of over $2 billion in annual revenue. These companies were merged with Borden Chemical and Bakelite AG to form Hexion in May 2005 and are now part of Momentive Specialty Chemicals.
Schlanger also serves on the boards of UGI Corporation, UGI Utilities, Amerigas Partners LP, and Momentive Specialty Chemicals Holdings, LLC.
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Schlanger received a chemical engineering degree from Rutgers University and holds an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Raj L. Gupta, 2011
Raj L. Gupta joined Rohm and Haas in 1971 as a financial analyst. In 1979 he began work in Europe, first as financial manager of the U.K. subsidiary, then as strategic planning director for the region, and finally as assistant manager for the company's substantial operations in France.
In 1984 Gupta was named business manager for Ion Exchange Resins in Europe. In 1987 he took on the responsibilities of business director for Plastics in Europe. Two years later he became business unit director for the worldwide Plastics Additives business.
Gupta was elected a vice president of the company and was named director for the Pacific Region in 1993. In 1996 he became one of six members of the Chairman's Committee and was given oversight responsibility for the company's Electronic Materials business group.
In 1998 Gupta was elected to the board of directors, and he was named vice chairman in January 1999. He became chairman and CEO on October 1, 1999. Gupta assumed the additional title of president in 2005 and held that title until May 2008.
Gupta is a past chairman of both the American Chemistry Council and the Society of Chemical Industry, America Section. He sits on the board of trustees for The Conference Board and is senior advisor at New Mountain Capital. He is a member of the boards of Tyco, The Vanguard Group, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Delphi Automotive.
He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, an M.S. in operations research from Cornell University, and an M.B.A. in finance from Drexel University.
Hiromasa Yonekura, 2010
Hiromasa Yonekura is chairman of the Sumitomo Chemical Company. He joined the company in 1960 and served as representative of its New York office from 1969 through 1972. He was appointed general manager of the foreign department in 1983 and of the corporate planning office in 1986.
In 1991 Yonekura became director and general manager of the Organic Chemicals Division. Over the years he acted as general manager of a number of areas, including the basic chemicals administration office of the Organic and Inorganic Chemicals divisions and the planning and coordination offices of both the Basic Chemicals Sector and the Petrochemicals and Plastics Sector.
In 1995 Yonekura was named managing director of the planning and coordination office of the Basic Chemicals Sector and the Petrochemicals Division of the Petrochemicals and Plastics Sector. In 1998 he was appointed senior managing director of the corporate planning and coordination office. He became president of Sumitomo Chemical in 2000 and has served as chairman since 2009.
Yonekura received a law degree from the University of Tokyo. He received an M.A. and a Ph.D., both in economics, from Duke University.
Mohamed Al-Mady, 2009
Mohamed Al-Mady, vice chairman and CEO of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), oversees a global business with customers in over 100 countries and 16,000 employees worldwide. SABIC produces a wide range of petrochemical and other products and has two large industrial sites in Saudi Arabia, with 16 world-scale production complexes, stakes in industrial ventures in the Middle East, and 12 overseas offices to service specific markets through Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Al-Mady also serves as Chairman of the Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company (SAFCO), SABIC R&T Executive Committee, and the SABIC EuroPetrochemicals B.V. Executive Board. He also sits on the Board of Aluminum-Bahrain (ALBA) and the US-Saudi Business Council, and heads the Saudi-side of the Saudi-Taiwanese Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation. Al-Mady has been Vice Chairman and Managing Director of SABIC since July 1998, having joined them in 1979, the year in which the company was established.
Peter R. Huntsman, 2008
Peter R. Huntsman is president and CEO of the Huntsman Company, a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and commodity chemicals. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has 15,000 employees at 78 operations in 24 countries.
After attending the University of Utah, Huntsman began his professional career in 1983 with Olympus Oil Corporation and in 1986 was named the company’s president. He joined Huntsman Polypropylene Corporation, a subsidiary of Huntsman Chemical Corporation, as vice president in 1987. In 1992 he became a senior vice president and general manager of Huntsman Chemical Corporation, assisting in directing global manufacturing, marketing, and sales for Huntsman Chemical and its affiliated companies. In 1996 Huntsman became president and COO of Huntsman, and in 2000 he was named the company’s CEO, replacing his father, Jon Huntsman.
In addition to his duties at the Huntsman Company, Peter Huntsman helps direct a number of domestic and international humanitarian projects. He is also actively involved in civic affairs.
Dave C. Swalm, 2008
Dave C. Swalm is the founder of Texas Petrochemicals Company. He received a degree in chemical engineering from Mississippi State University.
After graduation Swalm worked for The Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas. He subsequently worked for Texas Butadiene & Chemical Corporation as a process engineer and then as regional petrochemical sales manager. He next worked for Steuber Company as a chemical broker.
In 1968 Swalm resigned from Steuber and founded Texas Olefins Company, using $6,000 in personal savings. In 1984 Texas Olefins purchased Tenneco Chemical's Petro-Tex plant. Renamed Texas Petrochemicals Company, the plant had a sales level of 500 million pounds per year when purchased. Under Swalm’s leadership, plant output grew to 2,700 million pounds by 1992.
In 1979 Swalm set up the Swalm Foundation, which, over a period of 26 years, made 2,500 grants totaling more than $214 million to a wide variety of organizations, mostly in the social services area. Swalm has personally contributed to many educational institutions, including Mississippi State University, Brookhaven secondary schools, and Jackson State University
Dan L. Duncan, 2007
As the controlling shareholder of privately-held EPCO, Inc., a company he founded in 1968, Dan L. Duncan built one of the nation's largest and most successful energy companies by following the simple straightforward words of his grandmother: "Do the best you can everyday." These words of wisdom continue to serve as one of the guiding principles of a family of companies that now includes three publicly-traded partnerships with an aggregate enterprise value of more than $25 billion. The largest of these entities, Enterprise Products Partners, is one of the premier midstream energy master limited partnerships in North America.
In addition to his success as a businessman, Duncan was involved with the Baylor College of Medicine, the Weatherby Foundation International, and the University of Texas at Houston Development Board. Through his generous commitments to the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Duncan is committed to ensuring that Houston remains a crucial center of growth in the medical field. As a prostate cancer survivor, he hoped that the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine will provide hope and care to others in their battles with cancer.
J. Virgil Waggoner, 2006
J. Virgil Waggoner's distinguished career as a leading petrochemical industry executive began in 1950, when he joined Monsanto Company in Texas City as a research chemist. Switching from research to marketing, he steadily moved up to the position of senior vice president. He then became president of El Paso Products, the chemicals division of El Paso Company. In 1985, after leaving El Paso and becoming an independent consultant, he used his knowledge of the Monsanto-Texas City plant to team up with entrepreneur Gordon Cain, negotiating the leveraged buy-out of the plant and forming the legendary Sterling Chemicals. Waggoner was president and CEO of Sterling from its inception in 1986 until its privatization and his retirement a decade later. He served as vice chairman of the board until May 1998. Under his leadership, Sterling became a public company and has been included in both the Forbes 500 and Fortune 500 lists.
Since his retirement from Sterling, Waggoner has initiated a number of new business ventures. He is a senior founding principal of the Legacy Equity Group, a merchant banking firm dedicated to the "everybody wins" investment philosophy. Meanwhile, he continues to emphasize his commitment to global needs and the "bridge-building" thrust of his family's philanthropy. His board and advisory leadership roles include the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin, the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, Baylor College of Medicine, WaterHealth International, the Good Samaritan Foundation, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Other past involvements include advisory roles with Phyto-Riker Pharmaceuticals, GulfWest Energy Company, Ouachita Baptist University, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Sterling Chemicals.
Ting Tsung "T. T." Chao, 2005
A pioneer in the chemicals and plastics industries, T. T. Chao founded and built several successful businesses in a career spanning more than 50 years. In the mid-1950s, Chao was a co-founder of Taiwan's first polyvinyl chloride (PVC) business. This business was backed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). A decade later, he established China General Plastics Group, which included a number of the premier publicly-held petrochemical and plastics manufacturers in Asia. After three decades of experience and success in Asia he entered the North American petrochemical industry in the 1980s with the acquisition of a polyethylene plant in Sulphur, Louisiana, and the creation of Westlake Polymers Corporation.
In the late 1980s, Chao founded the Titan Group in Malaysia by building the country's first and largest integrated petrochemical complex in the state of Johor. Chao was honored by the king of Malaysia in 1999 for his contribution to the growth of the Malaysian petrochemical industry. In 1992 Chao returned to his family home in China and founded a joint-venture company consisting of a PVC resin plant and downstream calendering plant near Suzhou. He also served as the chairman emeritus and founder of the Titan Group and the founder of the Westlake Chemical Corporation.
William McMinn, Jr., 2004
William McMinn's career in petrochemicals has spanned more than five decades, beginning in 1952 at the Monsanto Chemical Company. He held various positions of increasing responsibility with FMC, Petro-Tex, and other leading companies until 1987, when he was named president of Cain Chemical, Inc. In 1989 Cain Chemical, which had been formed in 1982 in a leveraged buyout of seven ethylene-derivative petrochemical plants from various corporations, was sold to Occidental Petroleum for approximately $2.2 billion, generating roughly $1.25 billion in net proceeds for Cain Chemical's shareholders. Among the shareholders were 1,350 employees who owned 43% of the company and shared a windfall of $536 million.
From 1990 to the spring of 1997 McMinn was chairman of the board of the Arcadian Corporation, another company formed in a successful buyout (in this case, of eight nitrogen-based–fertilizer plants in North America from several corporations). He is currently involved with nanotechnologies and biopharmaceuticals and is a senior founding principal of the Legacy Equity Group, LLC, a new merchant-banking group dedicated to the late Gordon Cain's investment philosophy, “everybody wins.” A 1952 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry, McMinn was a member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust from 1993 to 2002.
Harold A. Sorgenti, 2003
Harold A. Sorgenti served as president of ARCO Chemical Company from 1979 through 1987, when he became both president and CEO. He led the restructuring and reorganization of the company, splitting it into two businesses, Lyondell Petrochemical and ARCO Chemical Company. He holds ten U.S. patents that led to the commercialization of four new chemical processes, including one that is the basis of ARCO Chemical's position as the world's leading producer of propylene oxide. In 1991 he cofounded Freedom Chemical Company and built it into a broadly based specialty chemical company. He sold Freedom Chemical and formed Sorgenti Investment Partners in order to pursue other chemical investment opportunities.
Sorgenti is the president of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Regional Performing Arts Center, Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Crown Cork & Seal. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Society of Chemical Industry. He has served as chair of the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Society of Chemical Industry, and is currently chairman of the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His honors include the Winthrop-Sears Medal, the William Penn Award, the Philip H. Ward, Jr., Medal, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Herbert D. Doan, 2002
Herbert D. Doan, grandson of Herbert H. Dow, was president and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company from 1962 to 1971. He served on the Dow and Dow Corning boards of directors and in 1973 founded Doan Associates, the second venture capital company in Michigan. He chaired the board of Neogen Corporation and was on the boards of the Michigan Molecular Institute (MMI) and Dendritech, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of MMI.
In the public arena he served on the National Science Board (the governing body of the National Science Foundation) and the board of the Office of Technology Assessment. He worked with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, cochaired Michigan’s Venture Capital Task Force, and served as president of the Michigan High Technology Task Force. Doan was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and Sigma XI, and received several honorary degrees. He was been president and chairman of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation from 1996 until his death in 2006.
Jon M. Huntsman, 2001
Jon M. Huntsman, noted entrepreneur and philanthropist, built the Huntsman Corporation into an $8-billion corporation, with leading positions in the chemical, plastics, and packaging industries. As director of the American Chemistry Council and founding director of the American Plastics Council, he has worked to increase public understanding and the competitiveness of America's chemical industry.
Huntsman has also dedicated himself to supporting cancer research, famine relief, higher education, and care of the homeless by establishing such institutions as the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education, and the Huntsman World Senior Games. He has received numerous awards including the Medal of Honor (Armenia), the National Caring Award, and the Kavaler Award for Chief Executive Excellence. A University of Pennsylvania alumnus, Huntsman and his family gave the university $10 million to endow the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business.
Ralph Landau, 2000
Ralph Landau, consulting professor of economics at Stanford University and research fellow at Harvard University, was named one of the 75 leading contributors to the chemical enterprise by Chemical and Engineering News. In 1946 Landau cofounded Scientific Design, later Halcon International, and he remained a leader and visionary of the organization for 36 years. He also cofounded the Oxirane Company with Atlantic Richfield Corporation in 1966. He holds several major patents in organic oxidation chemistry and has authored more than 150 publications, including nine books. His list of honors includes CHF’s Othmer Gold Medal, the Founder’s Award of the National Academy of Engineering, the Founder’s Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Perkin Medal, the Pioneers Award, the Winthrop-Sears Medal, and the Chemical Industry Medal. Landau is a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has guided research and writing on the significance of the chemical industries in such books as Chemicals and Long-Term Economic Growth (1998) and Pharmaceutical Innovation: Revolutionizing Human Health (1999).
John R. Hall, 1999
John R. Hall was named by Petroleum Magazine as "one of the 10 most influential individuals in the [petroleum] industry." He spent his career at Ashland, Inc., holding positions from chemical engineer through chairman and CEO. When he retired in 1997 after 40 years at Ashland, Hall had successfully restructured, streamlined, and built the company into a stable and rapidly growing enterprise. An outspoken advocate for high-quality public education, Hall has worked with the Partnership for Kentucky School Reform, the National Business Roundtable’s Education Task Force, the West Virginia Business Education Alliance, and the New American Schools Development Corporation. Hall also serves on a number of corporate, civic, and cultural boards. He is a past director of the National Petroleum Council, an honorary director of the American Petroleum Institute, and chairman of the board of Trustees at Vanderbilt University (his alma mater). In 1976, serving as chair of the National Petrochemical Refiners Association (NPRA), Hall played a key role in the establishment of the first annual International Petrochemical Conference.
John T. Files, 1998
John T. Files, chairman of the board of the Merichem Company, entered the petrochemical industry in the 1940s. After serving two years on the engineering faculty of the University of Texas (his alma mater), he joined Dow Chemical Company at Freeport where he was assistant chief engineer until 1945, when he left to start Merichem. Files and his team at Merichem pioneered a new technology of refining cresylic acids from refineries' caustic solutions. Now serving the global community, Merichem has become a major specialty chemical manufacturer that produces high-quality cresylic acids, naphthenic acids, and soda chemicals from petroleum. In 1982 Files was awarded the Winthrop-Sears Medal. After being appointed by Governor John Connally to the first Texas Air Control Board, he was awarded a citation of commendation for his pioneering work in developing the Texas Air Control regulations and standards. He also serves on the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council at the University of Texas and is a member of various industry organizations
Gordon Cain, 1997
Gordon Cain, the first recipient of the Petrochemical Heritage Award, began his career as a chemical engineer at Freeport Sulphur Company and Merck & Co. Following service in the U.S. Army during World War II, he helped organize Petro-Tex Chemical Company. From 1964 until 1970 he managed Conoco's chemical business. Since 1970 Cain has founded or cofounded several companies that he has restructured through innovative management strategies, employee stock ownership, and leveraged buyouts (LBOs). In 1982 he cofounded the Sterling Group, a merchant banking firm that acts as sponsor for and invests in leveraged acquisitions, principally in the petrochemicals industry. He is best known for the successful LBOs of Arcadian, Cain Chemical, Fiber Industries, Sterling Chemicals, and Vista Chemical. Today, he serves on the Boards of Texas Petrochemical Corporation, Atlantic Coast Airlines, Arcadian Corporation, Agennix Incorporated, and Lexicon Incorporated. Cain holds the Winthrop-Sears Medal and the John Fritz Medal. He was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1990.
Gordon Cain’s autobiography, Everybody Wins! A Life in Free Enterprise, was published by the Chemical Heritage Foundation and is now in its second edition. See also the Gordon Cain Fellowship in Technology, Policy, and Entrepreneurship.