J. Lawrence Wilson
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
J. Lawrence Wilson begins the interview with a discussion of his childhood and early education. Wilson grew up in Rosedale, Mississippi, and attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. After high school, he received a Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, where he majored in mechanical engineering. Wilson graduated in 1958, and he then served in the Navy for several years as a member of the SEABEEs, stationed in Bermuda. When he returned, Wilson attended Harvard Business School, receiving his MBA in 1963. After graduate school, Wilson came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a friend to start a private equity firm. Two years later, he joined Rohm and Haas Company. Wilson discusses his experiences in operations research and as treasurer for Rohm and Haas subsidiary Warren-Teed. He also talks about his views on scientific innovation. Wilson further addresses the company's electronics business, his time in Europe, and the changes in Rohm and Haas and the chemical industry, in general, over the past three decades. Wilson concludes the interview with a discussion of the chemical industry's environmental concerns, Rohm and Haas's acquisition of Morton International, his work with the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and his family.
|1958||Vanderbilt University||BS||Mechanical Engineering|
Nyala Properties, Inc.
Consolidated Biomedical Laboratories, Inc.
Rohm and Haas Company
Chemical Industry Medal, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)
Table of Contents
Growing up in Mississippi. Parents. Attending Culver Military Academy. NROTC scholarship to Vanderbilt University. Decision to study mechanical engineering.
Naval service in Bermuda. SEABEEs. Graduate school at Harvard Business School. Setting up private equity firm in Philadelphia.
Decision to join Rohm and Haas. Operations research. Running operations for Warren-Teed. Chemistry courses at University of Pennsylvania. Assistant to Vincent Gregory, Jr. Views on scientific innovation. Photoresists. Running the European businesses. Becoming Chief Financial Officer. Reorganizing company.
Regulation. Superfund. Developing Responsible Care. Importance of public attitudes.
Becoming global. Consolidations within the industry. Future of chemical innovation.
Role in Chemical Manufacturers Association. Winning Chemical Industry medal. Retirement plans. Family life.
About the Interviewer
James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.