September 14, 2009 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Flashback: It was a year when the average price of a new home was $12,400, a new car cost $2,200, and a gallon of gas was 25 cents. Unemployment hovered around 5.5 percent, Barbie® dolls were the latest craze, and two new States — Alaska and Hawaii — joined the Union. There were no personal computers, no cell phones, and no DVDs. But the first microchip was about to revolutionize the world of technology and NASA's first class of astronauts, the Mercury Seven, would blaze the trail for future human spaceflight.
That was 1959 and Air Products was 19 years young. With sales of just $48 million, the company was already distinguishing itself in the U.S. as a leader in the supply of liquid hydrogen for the propulsion of space vehicles, on-site oxygen plants for the burgeoning steel industry, and helium extraction equipment for national defense and fast-growing industrial applications.
In that same year, Air Products' founder Leonard Pool initiated a unique program for recruiting and training college graduates so they could "take a more important part in the affairs of the company." The new Career Development Program emphasized the recruitment, retention and development of the highest quality people.
A half century later, Air Products' Career Development Program continues to thrive and is believed to be among the longest running programs of its kind in the world with upwards of 2,500 graduates. In celebration of this milestone, the company has launched a new Web page — "50 Forward" — challenging its target audience of college recruits to "celebrate the past" and "make the future yours." The site offers information about the program and interesting vignettes from current and past Career Development Program participants, including Air Products Chairman, President and CEO John McGlade.
"The Air Products Career Development Program is a significant differentiator for us as we look for the best talent in the world," says McGlade. "And for the individuals who join us, the program allows them to understand the company, develop their careers and be significant contributors to our success. It's a win-win for the entire company."
In the five decades since 1959, Air Products has grown to become a $10 billion company, and it remains a key supplier of hydrogen for NASA's space program. When asked what the future might hold in the next 50 years, McGlade's first response: "Hydrogen fueling stations on the moon!" Perhaps a little far-fetched, he notes, but Air Products is leading the technology push for hydrogen-fueled vehicles on the road, and there's no reason to believe that hydrogen-fueled commercial space travel can't be far behind.
For more information on Air Products' Career Development Program and its participants, visit:
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. Air Products had fiscal 2008 revenues of $10.4 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 21,000 employees around the globe. For more information, visit:
NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially, due to changes in current expectations.