William C. Goggin

Born: August 26, 1911 | Alma, MI, US
Died: Wednesday, December 14, 1988 | Midland, MI, US
Photograph of William C. Goggin

Dow Historical Collection, CHF Collections

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.

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

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0047
No. of pages: 54
Minutes: 240

Interview Sessions

James J. Bohning
20 August 1986
Midland, Michigan

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 BSEE in electrical engineering. Remaining at the University of Michigan, he obtained his MS 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.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1933 Alma College BS Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics
1935 University of Michigan BSEE Electrical Engineering
1936 University of Michigan MS Electrical Engineering

Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

1936 to 1937
Student Training Program
1937 to 1939
Engineer, Physics Research Laboratory
1939 to 1941
Salesman, Special Products Division
1941 to 1942
Assistant Manager, Plastics Sales Division
1942 to 1943
Manager, Plastics Sales Division
1943 to 1947
Manager, Plastics Development Division
1947 to 1959
Manager, Plastics Technical Service
1959 to 1967
General Manager, Plastics Department

Dow Corning Corporation

1967 to 1971
President and Director
1971 to 1976
Chairman of Board

Honors

Year(s) Award
1954

Honorary ScD, Alma College

1976

Plastics Hall of Fame

Table of Contents

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 was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been 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 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 CHF’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. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.