CDP Class of 1975 – 1977
Georgia Institute of Technology
M.S. Mechanical Engineering
This is me (on the left) at the company’s Convent, Louisiana, air separation facility back in the early 1980s. From those humble refinery hydrogen sales beginnings, I went on to lead an effort that resulted in a billion-dollar-a-year refinery hydrogen business for Air Products.
When I joined Air Products, I was sure I wanted to be an engineer. After my first CDP assignment in project engineering, I decided to take a rotation that was fairly common at the time: preparing bids for our onsite tonnage gas supply business. While there, I became intrigued with the technical aspects of the selling process. In fact, back then you had to be an engineer to qualify for a sales position. So when my second assignment was up, I took an assignment in standard plant sales.
From there, I rolled off the CDP program and moved to Texas to sell oxygen and nitrogen. Just to make things more challenging, the gas would be delivered to customers via pipelines that had yet to be built. I then moved to Louisiana and did much the same. Only this time I was selling hydrogen, and we were building new hydrogen pipelines.
About 10 years later, U.S. demand for hydrogen began to really take off, spurred by clean air legislation, increased use of high-sulfur crude oil, and larger demands for transportation fuels. I was asked to join a taskforce that would develop and execute a business model for hydrogen use in the oil refining industry. I led the commercial effort. Today, Air Products is the world's largest producer of outsourced hydrogen to oil refineries.
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