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Program Focus: Can Dow, U.S. Chemical Industry, Survive High Oil Prices?

Dow Michigan Exec Kicks Off Tri-County Economics Club's 32nd Year

September 25, 2005       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Don Taylor heads Michigan Operations for The Dow Chemical Company.

Important questions about the economic future of the tri-county area will be explored Monday in a discussion about a $40 billion corporate giant headquartered in Midland -- The Dow Chemical Company.

Donald Taylor, vice president and site director of Dow's Michigan operations, will be the featured luncheon speaker at the Tri-County Economics Club. Title of his presentation is: "Dow in Mid-Michigan: Securing Our Future Built on a Solid History."

Andrew Liveris, Chief Executive Officerof Dow, warned recently that the persistently high price of oil and natural gas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina poses a severe threat to the U.S. chemical industry.

"For two and a half years or more our industry has done all that it can to mitigate the impact of escalating feedstock and energy costs, which have been particularly severe in relation to U.S. natural gas," said Liveris.

Dow has reduced operating expenses, improved energy efficiency, and increased productivity in aneffort to address this unprecedented challenge, he said in an interview.

"But right now, with oil and natural gas prices at astronomically high levels and showing no signs of receding, the chemical industry faces the very real risk of being unable to invest in its own future in this country."

Mr. Taylor will profile Dow's 108 year history in the area Monday noon at the Tri-County Economics Club's opening luncheon of its 32nd year.

Dow has 43,000 employees worldwide and sells products in 175 countries. It has about 24,000 employees in North America and has facilities in Midland, Ludington and Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The club, which meets at Saginaw Valley State University's Curtiss Hall, was founded by Bay City insurance agency owner Harrison Plum and Bay City Schools economics teacher Peter White in 1973. Originally the Bay County Economics Club, the non-profit, non-partisan organization's name was changed to the Tri-County Economics Club in 1986.

Current officers are Debra Lutz, Delta College financial officer, president; Ann Fillmore, vice president; and Jane Hagen, treasurer. Board members are todd Clements, Max Holman, Bill Mulders, Dave Quimby, Ralph Wirtz, Guy Merriam, Charles Martz and Jill Wetmore.

Besides his position as Michigan Operations site director, Mr. Taylor is Supply Chain Director, Performance Chemicals and Thermosets. A Chemical Engineering graduate of Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, he joined Dow as a production engineer in Plaquemine, Louisiana, in 1983.

He was production engineer in Hydrocarbons & Energy and has since held positions including various production leader roles and business manufacturing leader for Dow's Chlorinated Organics business, vice president of operations for Dow Benelux and operations director for Industrial Chemicals.

In 2002, Taylor relocated to Midland as supply chain director for Dow's Performance Chemicals business and in 2003 added the role of Six Sigma champion for Performance Chemicals.

Taylor received Dow's Genesis Award for Excellence in Employee Development in 1998.

Other programs this season for the economics club are:

  • Oct. 24: Merrill Lynch - Energy Outlook;

  • Nov. 28: Junior Achievement Worldwide, Jack Kosako, executive vice president, JA Worldwide;

  • Jan. 23, 2006: Economic Outlook, Dana Johnson, chief economist and senior vice president, Comerica Bank;

  • Feb. 27: The Saginaw River as a Major Port, Bill Webber, president, Sargent Docks & Terminal;

  • Mar. 20: Auto Industry Outlook, Paul Ballew, General Motors chief economist;

  • Economic Development panel discussion, JoAnn Crary, Saginaw Future, Inc.; Fred Hollister, Bay Future, Inc.; Jenee Velasquez, Midland Tomorrow;

  • The Growth of Indoor Waterparks in Recreation and Tourism, Zehnders of Frankenmuth.

    (Note: Program dates and speakers aresubject to change.)

    For meeting and membership information, please see

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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