The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Jerry McAfee begins this interview by discussing his parents and his childhood in Port Arthur, Texas. He became interested in chemical engineering at an early age because of the influence of his father who worked for Texaco and Gulf. McAfee studied chemical engineering at the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for five years as a research and operating engineer for Universal Oil Products Company before accepting a position as technical specialist with Gulf Oil Corporation in Port Arthur. His career with Gulf took him to Pennsylvania, London, and Toronto. He served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Gulf for six years before retiring in 1981. McAfee ends his interview by reflecting on his forty-year career in chemical engineering.
|1937||University of Texas at Austin||BS||Chemical Engineering|
|1940||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||ScD||Chemical Engineering|
Universal Oil Products Company
Gulf Oil Corporation
Gulf Research and Development Company
Distinguished Engineering Graduate, The University of Texas
Certificate of Appreciation, American Petroleum Institute, Division of Refining
Member, National Academy of Engineering
Founders Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Fellow, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Distinguished Service Award, Texas Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association
Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, American Petroleum Institute
Table of Contents
Father works for the Texas Company and Gulf in Port Arthur, Texas. Father develops aluminun chloride process. Mother studies liberal arts.
Two oil refineries are biggest employer in Port Arthur. Effect of the Depression. Wants to become chemical engineer like father. Attends Port Arthur public schools.
Chemical Engineering Department. Laboratory facilities.
Receives Tau Beta Phi Fellowship. Studies chemical engineering with Warren Kendall Lewis. Thesis on nickel catalyst under Harold Walker.
Marriage to Geraldine Smith. Development of catalytic cracking process. Cooperation between industry and government. Organizes group to design better catalytic cracking unit. Designs McAfee gauge.
Five years as technical specialist at Port Arthur refinery. Works on pilot plant for HDS process. Moves to Hamarville, Pennsylvania to become director of Gulf Research and Development Company. Pittsburgh management course. Becomes vice president of engineering in refining department. Reorganization of Gulf under W. K. Whiteford. Petroleum Research Fund.
Becomes Gulf representative on Kuwait Oil Board of Directors. Visits Iran every year. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Controversy over imported crude. Takes trip to the Arctic. Gulf uranium ventures. Syncrude Project. Reasons for excluding Canada from global reorganization. Canada Board of Directors.
Selection process. Writes "Statement of Business Principles. " Changes name of Chairman's Council. Extricates company from uranium business. Price controls.
About the Interviewer
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.