Vincent A. Calarco

Born: May 29, 1942 | New York , NY, US
Photograph of Vincent Calarco

Detail of Image, CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas Lockard

Vincent Calarco was an ambitious and hard-working student who enjoyed chemistry and had a firm desire to attend college. After graduation from New York High School, Calarco attended Polytechnic University of New York, receiving his B.S. in chemical engineering in 1963. While excelling in the intense environment at Polytechnic University, Calarco worked as a draftsman for Syska and Hennessey during the summers. In the summer of 1962, he accepted an internship at Proctor & Gamble's Port Ivory facility on Staten Island. From 1966 to 1968, Calarco served in the U. S. Army at the Ballistics Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland. In 1979, he became President of Uniroyal at the age of thirty-six. He set high-standards for employees at Uniroyal and enjoyed the challenges of his position. In 1985 Calarco left Uniroyal and became the CEO of Crompton & Knowles (Crompton Corporation). 

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0212
No. of pages: 47
Minutes: 156

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray
29 November 2000
Greenwich, Connecticut

Abstract of Interview

Vincent Calarco begins the interview with a discussion of his childhood years in New York City. Calarco was an ambitious and hard-working student who enjoyed chemistry and had a firm desire to attend college. After graduation from New York High School, Calarco attended Polytechnic University of New York, receiving his BS in chemical engineering in 1963. While excelling in the intense environment at Polytechnic University, Calarco worked as a draftsman for Syska and Hennessey during the summers. In the summer of 1962, Calarco accepted an internship at Proctor & Gamble's Port Ivory facility on Staten Island. After graduating from Polytechnic, Calarco spent the summer in Europe before returning to work for Proctor & Gamble in September 1963. Proctor & Gamble relocated Calarco to St. Louis in January 1964, where he remained for two years. From 1966 to 1968, Calarco served in the US Army at the Ballistics Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Maryland. After his military service, he briefly worked for Johnson & Johnson before attending Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Calarco received his MBA in 1970 and began a new career at NL Industries that same year. After eight years with NL, Calarco decided to join Uniroyal Chemical Company as General Manager of chemicals and polymers. The next year, 1979, Calarco became President of Uniroyal at the age of thirty-six. Calarco set high-standards for employees at Uniroyal and enjoyed the challenges of his position. In 1985 Calarco left Uniroyal and became the CEO of Crompton & Knowles (Crompton Corporation), where he is currently Chairman of the Board. Calarco performed a major reorganization and restructure to Crompton upon his arrival. His efforts advanced Crompton from a seven hundred million-dollar company the 3.1 billion-dollar corporation that exists today. Calarco concludes the interview with a discussion about his role in the chemical industry community and thoughts on his family and future endeavors. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1963 Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York BS Chemical Engineering
1970 Harvard University MBA Graduate School of Business Administration

Professional Experience

1966 to 1968

NL Industries

1970 to 1974
Chemicals Group, Finance and Planning
1974 to 1978
Business Manager, Specialty Chemicals and Plastics Additives, Industrial Chemicals Division

Uniroyal, Inc.

1978 to 1979
General Manager, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Chemicals and Polymers
1979 to 1984
President, Uniroyal Chemical Company, and Vice President, Uniroyal, Inc.
1984 to 1985
Corporate Vice President for Strategy and Development

Crompton Corporation

1985 to 2001
President and Chief Executive Officer
1986 to 2001
Chairman of the Board

Honors

Year(s) Award
1995 to 1996

Chairman, Chemical Manufacturers Association

1998

Management Excellence Award, Chemical Marketing Research Association

1998 to 1999

President, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)

1998 to 2000

World President, Society of Chemical Industry, London

2000

Achievement Award, Commercial Development Association

2000

Chemical Industry Award, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Growing up on Staten Island. Parents and family. Academic drive. Interest in chemistry in high school. Decision to attend Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (Polytechnic University of New York).

Education and Early Years
6

Environment at Brooklyn Poly. Chemical engineering program. Working for Syska and Hennessey. Summer internship at Proctor & Gamble. Spending summer after graduation in Europe. Position at Proctor & Gamble. Move to St. Louis. Return to New York in 1966. Military draft. Officer Candidate School. Serving at Aberdeen Ballistics Research Laboratory. Johnson & Johnson. Attending Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Working in Admissions Department.

Career in Chemical Industry
15

Position with NL Industries. Marriage to Linda in 1971. Accepting the position to run the Industrial Chemical Division. Lead oxide business. Decision to leave NL Industries for Uniroyal Chemical Company. Uniroyal Chemical and Polymers Division. Becoming president of Uniroyal. Challenges of the position as president.

Later Career
21

Becoming CEO of Crompton Corporation. Restructuring and reorganization. Consolidation with Witco. Pressures on the American chemical industry. Setting strong goals for communication and development. Kirkpatrick Award. Comparing U. S. industry to European industry.

Conclusion
28

Involvement in chemical industry community. American Chemical Council. Responsible Care. Society of Chemical Industry. Chemists' Club. Influential leaders in chemical industry. Sons: David and Christopher. Future career visions.

Index
37

About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.