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You are here: Davis of Iowa > Jim Davis's Biography > Part VII                    Click HERE to go to Part VIII

 Part VII



My ADM/Ashland Oil Years

Cindie and Kim Graduating From High School



My employment with ADM –


The first thing we did upon landing in Boston was to telephone Cindie and Kim, as we had not talked to them since we put them on a plane some two weeks previously.  They were having a ball with their grandparents and their cousins – Toyel and Lynn.   Grandma Swanson had made the four of them matching summer outfits and they had been to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the ocean and several other attractions.  Their grandparents had purchased roller skates for the four of them and they were skating up a storm on the sidewalk in front of their grandparents home and in their driveway.  It was good to catch up with them and with Karen’s parents.   We agreed with Karen’s parents that they would drive the girls to Minneapolis, arriving in early July when we would be moving into our new apartment.  Karen and I arrived in Minneapolis on Tuesday, June 29th.  I reported in to ADM Chemicals which was headquartered in an office building located in the middle of Minneapolis, completed the necessary paper work, met some of the other managers that I would be working with and was given July 1st and 2nd off, to get settled at home.  July 4th was a Sunday, so July 5th was not  a workday either.  I reported to work on Tuesday.


We finalized the rental agreement for our new apartment which was cleaned and ready for us, took possession on July 1st and arranged for the delivery our furniture and belongings.   The apartment was in an ideal location of an approximate 200 garden apartment complex, built in a “U shape” around ample parking in front of the apartments.  Our apartment was two story much like the apartment we had in Watertown, but without a basement.  The back side of the apartment opened onto a grassy play area.  Karen and I had the apartment organized when her parents, Cindie and Kim arrived on Friday, July 2nd.   We had a joyous reunion with Cindie, Kim and Karen’s parents.  The girls were right at home in their new apartment – since it was very much like the Watertown apartment.  They lost no time in recovering their bicycles and riding in the apartment complex’s parking lot.  


Karen’s folks and we headed for Marshalltown for the weekend to catch up with my family.  It had been nine years since her folks had last been to our farmstead.  It was good to visit with my parents, those siblings who were still at home and with Bob’s family who was farming nearby.  We returned to Saint Louis Park on Monday.  Karen’s folks spent about a week with us and left on a driving trip back to their home and return to school teaching.  Karen began the process of getting the girls registered for school – they would ride a bus the short distance to the public school – and finding doctors and a dentist for us. 


I reported to work on Tuesday and began the orientation and  meeting the staff members .  Curt Burkholder had a corner office with the managers who reported to him located along a glass wall contiguous to his office.   Other staff members working in the small group were officed in interior offices constructed of cubicles.  I was assigned to an office adjacent to Curt’s  along the other wall which provided me eye contact with his secretary who would also be my secretary.  Curt had five plant managers reporting to him along with two assistant managers, an International Manager and me.   One assistant manager, Herb Davidson worked with four of the plant managers, who managed the four paint vehicle/binders manufacturing plants located in Newark, NJ, Valley Park (St. Louis), MO, Los Angeles, CA and Pensacola, FL.  The other assistant manager was Ed Howe and he worked with the manager of the Maplewood (Peoria), IL plant.  Herb and Ed each had an assistant.  The International Manager coordinated the various joint venture companies activities for Curt.  All four  of  the paint vehicle plants were unionized.  I was told that labor relations were good throughout the company.  I also met Burt Schroeder who was Vice President of ADM with responsibility for ADM Chemicals.


ADM Chemicals was organized functionally, with Curt in charge of Production, Bob Fulton, Sales Manager with a sales force of some 20 technical salesmen, Clarence Danielson, Controller and a Research and Engineering Director.  Each of these men reported to Burt Schroeder. While the administration offices were downtown Minneapolis, the Research and Engineering was housed in a new building located in Bloomington, MN about 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis.  Burt Schroeder also had a separate division, The Foundry Products Division, headed up by Anton (Tony) Dorfmueller, reporting to him.  That division manufactured and sold sand binders, mold release agents and other such  chemicals and supplies to foundries  of various metals.  The administrative offices and manufacturing plant for that division  were located in Cleveland, Ohio.  It was organized as a stand-alone division, i.e., production, sales,  and research for this division all reported to Tony.  The division’s accounting was performed under the direction of the ADM Chemicals controller.


My orientation to ADM Chemicals was to accompany, Herb Davidson on visits to the four paint vehicle plants and then to accompany Ed Howe on a trip to Mapleton to visit that plant.  The products manufactured in three of the four paint binder/vehicle plants were essentially the same with various modifications required by the customers.  The fourth plant, Pensacola, manufactured some of these products but also produced a collection of adhesives resins.


Nearly all liquid paints  are  composed of binders, pigment(s), solvents and additives.  This mixture when supplied in a liquid form includes a solvent which  evaporates as the paint dries. .  The binders were typically manufactured from natural oils, e.g., soybean and linseed oils, hence the major suppliers of these resins were agricultural companies, e.g., Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, both of whom were major suppliers of these binders.  The solvents used in paint initially were primarily petrochemicals.  When I joined ADM Chemicals, the paint industry was moving rapidly to eliminate the petrochemical solvents by substituting water to reduce  environmental, mainly air,  pollution issues.  As I write this now essentially all liquid paint is water based.  Much of the binders are still the original polymers with additives to the formulation to improve the solubility of the binders in water.  There is a smaller market for powder/dry coatings which are completely different chemicals without a solvent. ADM Chemicals paint vehicle plants manufactured a variety of resins which served as these binders.  ADM Chemicals supplied automotive paint manufactures, residential and commercial building paint manufactures and specialty paint manufactures.   The Pensacola plant also supplied adhesive resins to a variety of chemical manufacturing companies as well as to some food companies, including chewing gum manufacturing companies.  The paint companies who were ADM Chemicals customers were major suppliers of automotive paint, commercial paint, residential paint and  highway striping paint.


The resins used in the manufacture of paint were typically based on vegetable oils and certain synthetic/petroleum chemicals which when reacted with multi-basic chemicals or polyols to result in long chain polyester polymers that hold the paint pigment in place, adhered to the paint substrate and provided other functional properties, e.g., wear resistance, and appearance properties, e.g., the paint’s gloss.  ADM Chemicals sales representatives were technically trained in paint manufacturing.   They worked with the customers and ADM Chemicals Research customer service personnel to perfect the properties needed by the customer.  This operation had an exceptionally large number of formulations, several to many   different formulations for a single paint company customer.  The paint companies in turn customized many products for their customer’s needs.  Those paint companies who had their own brands and marketed their products through retail hardware stores and such also had several different formulations.  Seldom did more than one ADM Chemicals’ plant produce the identical product for a customer.


The plant visits with Herb Davidson were a whirlwind orientation and introduction to numerous manufacturing personnel.  Herb did not accompany me to the Pensacola plant.  I was on my own.  In addition to getting introduced to that plant’s personnel and operations, I had the opportunity to have dinner with by brother, Dick and his wife Judy.  Dick was an Ensign in the Navy attending the Navy Flight training  in Pensacola.  It was a very nice reunion.


After the resin plant tours, Ed Howe and I visited the Mapleton fatty chemicals manufacturing plant.  It was a huge very new complex with two primary manufacturing buildings.  One of the buildings was primarily processing various fats and oils into intermediate fatty acids, and non-nitrogen fatty acid products.  One of the major products was a fatty acid which was converted into an epoxidated fatty acid with active oxygen reactive sites which would serve as a cross-linking agent to cure as a particularly hard surface epoxy coatings. 


The other building was dedicated to producing all sorts of nitrogen modified fatty chemicals, the major ones being quaternary ammonium fatty acids which were the active ingredient in fabric softeners.  However, a number of other amines, amides and related chemicals were also produced. These products were sold to the cosmetics, household products, mining, refining, the specialty chemicals and related industries. 


The Mapleton Plant employed some 300 hourly workers and operated 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  It occupied some 300 acres, however, the plant buildings occupied only about 15 acres.  The facility included a quality control laboratory.  The plant manager was Dale Laudenslager a tough, rough  long term ADM employee.  This plant was also significantly supported by product development research conducted in the Bloomington, MN ADM Research facilities.  Understanding the Mapleton plant’s operations, processes and products took some time.  I  spent an entire week with Ed Howe visiting this plant.


ADM Chemicals was profitable but not to the level expected, particularly considering the significant investment ADM had made into this facility and its business.  Curt Burkholder thought that I should focus on helping improve the supervision staff at Mapleton. Because the plant was fairly new there were many plant foremen and supervisors who were promoted from senior hourly positions and had little formal knowledge of the processes, of proper supervision and importantly of the processing operations.  Consequently, Mapleton was to be my primary immediate focus. 


While I was getting oriented with ADM Chemicals, Karen began organizing our home life.  After school started, Karen enrolled Cindie and Kim in both gymnastics and dance classes.  The girls transitioned into the St. Louis Park school easily.  They found friends and playmates living in Meadowbrook Manor, our apartment complex.  As the girls settled into a new life, Karen began exploring more education, now focusing on textiles and clothing, about which she was more interested than the household equipment in which she majored at ISC.  She visited with the Home Economics Department of the University of Minnesota.  The department representatives convinced Karen to enroll in that University to pursue a second Bachelors degree with a major in Textiles and Clothing.  She then enrolled and began classes in the following spring semester.


Dad and mom continued to expand their farming operation, even with all of their six children married and away from home.  Bob and his family also farmed about thirty miles away, which was too far for them to cooperate and help each other with field work.  Dad no longer milked cows, or raised hogs, however he was still feeding cattle, raising chickens and occasionally sheep.  They had acquired a forty acre parcel east of and contiguous to their farm and a 160 acre farm west of and contiguous to their farm.  Both parcels added significantly to their property which now totaled 360 acres.  About 25 acres were non-tillable.  It was a decent sized farm with good relatively flat crop land.


Our family made several trips to Marshalltown to visit my parents.  In these and even prior visits to the farm, Cindie became particularly attached to the ponies that dad had in his pastures.  At that time all of my siblings had left home.  Only Bob and his family were nearby, as he too was farming.  Bob and his wife Vieve, had four children, the oldest a year older than Cindie and the youngest five years younger than Kim.  Our girls enjoyed visiting and playing with these cousins.  Dick was deployed in the Navy, Beverly and her husband, Allen were in Cedar Rapids, IA where he worked with the Federal Land Bank, Nancy was teaching in Rochester, MN and Janyane was in nursing school in Des Moines, IA.   We were once again able to attend the Davis family Christmas celebrations as it was only a four hour drive from Saint Louis Park to the farmstead. 


Winter in Minneapolis was new to us and especially to Cindie and Kim, as they had only experienced moderate winters in New Jersey and Massachusetts.  We had some almost brutely cold weather with one weekend reaching a low of 30 degrees below zero.  We purchased ice skates for the four of us and skated on a small area of ice immediately behind our apartment which we kept free of snow.   One weekend during the winter, my sister Nancy and her roommate, Betty Cox drove from Rochester, MN to visit us.  On Sunday morning while we were reading the Minneapolis Tribune Sunday paper edition, Nancy asked me where “Kwajalein” was located.  I responded that it was an island in the South Pacific.  I asked her why she  wanted to know.  It turns out she was reading the employment want ads and noticed that the school system there needed primary school teachers.  Nancy was always one to look for adventure.  She and Betty applied for primary school teaching jobs in Kwajalein.  Nancy’s application was accepted but the company declined to offer Betty a job.  Nancy told the company that she would not take the job without them offering Betty a job.  The company offered Betty a job.  They both accepted and were off to Kwajalein a few months later. 


Also, that winter, I was approached by one of my HBS 1965 classmates, whom I did not previously know, about helping him in a political campaign for attorney Douglas Head who was running for the Minnesota Attorney General’s office  as a Republican.  My classmate was playing a leadership role in Douglas Head’s campaign.  I agreed to join the campaign, after meeting Doug.   Doug suffered from polio as a child and walked with a crutch.  I began working with  representatives who had been recruited in each of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts who  would coordinate Doug’s campaign within their congressional districts.  We scheduled meetings in each of these districts for Doug.  He was a good, charismatic candidate.  Minnesota was relatively balanced between Republicans and Democrat Farmer Labor voters.  He received the nomination at the Minnesota Republican Convention.   After securing the nomination, Doug and my fellow HBS classmate had a falling out.  My classmate resigned from the campaign.  Doug asked me to become the statewide Doug Head campaign organizational chair.  I accepted although I had little political experience in Minnesota or any state for that matter.  Regardless, we persevered completed a successful campaign as Doug won the election.  It was a rewarding experience for me.  Doug went on to serve a successful two terms as Minnesota Attorney General.


Our first year in Minneapolis went quickly.  Karen’s folks again planned to spend considerable time with us following summer.  Karen’s uncle George would also be travelling with them.  George drove his station wagon in convoy with Karen’s folks driving their pickup with the camper body.  We planned a one week summer vacation in northern Minnesota on Lake Vermillion a large lake near the Canadian border.   Bev and Allan joined us in a cabin we rented for the week.  It was a wonderful week with fishing for Northern Pike, boat rides on the lake (a fishing boat with an outboard motor came with the cabin), swimming in the pretty cold water, cooking over camp fires and playing cards at night.  Kim and Cindie particularly enjoyed catching small sunfish from the boat dock.  Unfortunately, on my initial dive from the dock into the lake, I accidently reached the bottom of the lake with my foot when I kicked out to return to the surface and unbelievably my foot pushed down on a piece of broken glass resting on the bottom of the lake.  The result was a one inch gash on the bottom of my right foot, which hobbled me for the rest of the week.  No more swimming, but plenty of fishing and otherwise enjoying a week off.


Karen’s folks and uncle George spent about a month in Minnesota before returning to respective homes and teaching assignments.  Karen’s parents would teach in California for their tenth year, thereby locking in their California retirement pensions.  Her mother would continue teaching for five more years to improve her pension payments.  Edward had retired, but he continued to substitute teach when offered the opportunity.   We learned that several of our HBS ’65 members had accepted employment in the Twin Cities.  Included in that group was Ben Shapiro, who had accepted an assignment as an assistant to Herb Fienberg, a very senior and widely experienced PhD chemist within ADM Chemicals Research Department.  Herb’s job was to provide technical research and consulting to the scientists in the department.  Ben soon decided that what he thought would be a challenging assignment,  was not.  (Ben relatively quickly resigned from ADM Chemicals and moved to a powdered metallurgy company in MI.  A year later, Ben returned to HBS to earn a DBA, an appointment and long career as a HBS Professor of Marketing.  Ben has been recognized as a preeminent Professor of Marketing, very much like his predecessor, Ted Levit.)  Also, joining ADM was Tony Shull, who was the husband of John Daniel’s daughter.  John Daniels’ family  along with the Archer and the Midland families owned controlling interest of ADM and  John Daniels was ADM’s Chief Executive Officer.  Tony worked in the finance department.  In addition to Ben and I from Section C, Bill Chorske joined Marquette Company in Minneapolis, a manufacturer of electrical equipment.   In addition to the three of us from Section C, there were maybe another one-half dozen from our HBS class  who were working in the Twin Cities.  We all socialized a bit at the time, but the only close lasting friendship has been  Bill Chorske, Ben Shapiro, a fourth Section C member, Harry Skilton, and I.  Our friendship and frequent communication has lasted into our now octogenarian years.


Cindie and Kim returned to school.  Karen returned to her University of Minnesota classes.  My work at ADM Chemicals continued with primarily training the supervision staff at Mapleton and  economic studies for improving ADM Chemicals profitability.  That fall, ADM Chemicals management decided that the company would adopt a standard cost system.  This was the push from a newly hired financial management executive by the name of Bill Meazell.   Bill convinced Burt Schroeder that this would help improve ADM Chemicals profitability.  He organized a small staff to develop the standard costs for our products and requested the transfer of me to his staff.  My responsibility was to develop the standard costs for the manufacturing operations of ADM Chemicals.  The manufacturing operations standard costs was obviously the major element of our company wide standard costs.  I began working on this late in the autumn.  I continued working closely with Herb Davidson and Ed Howe on this project. 


During the late fall, Karen, Cindie and Kim began talking about relocating from our apartment to a more permanent home.  We discussed a number of options and continued to think about our next step.  That Christmas we again celebrated another Davis Family Christmas celebration.   That fall my father’s small herd of ponies had increased by two foals.  One foal was a pure white pony from a Shetland pony mother and a quarter horse stud.  My father told Cindie that she could have this new foal, which Cindie promptly named Prince.  My dad also gave Kim the Shetland pony mother of Prince, which Kim named Buttermilk. However, we no place for Prince and Buttermilk in Minnesota which was a bone of contention for Cindie and Kim. 


As we entered Minnesota winter number two for us, I was tasked with preparing ADM Chemicals plant operating budgets.  It was an immense amount of work.  One March weekend, I decided to work in the office both Saturday and Sunday  to finalize this major effort.  On both days, it seemed that as if I was the only employee in our office.   However, on Sunday when I went to the elevator lobby to go for a quick  lunch, I saw about a half dozen men dressed in suits in the elevator lobby.  I only knew one of the men in the group and that was John Daniels.  He acknowledged me but did not offer any conversation. I  did not think any further about this group until the next day.   I returned from lunch and finished my project.


I returned home and Karen said that we had a meeting with a realtor to visit a property in nearby Minnetonka Village.  She and the girls had visited the property earlier in the day and wanted me to see it.  We met the realtor at the property which was a two story ranch house with a walk-out lower level built on a two acre parcel.  The house was located near the street in front of the house.  The back of the property included about an acre of a bit swampy fenced in pasture and  a small two stall horse barn.  It was an attractive  reasonably priced property which fit to a tee our ideas as to what kind of a property our family wanted.  We made an offer on the property, which I believe was about $20,000 subject to various conditions including an ability to finance the purchase.  Later that evening we learned that our offer had been accepted.   Karen, Cindie, Kim and I all were very excited about this possible purchase.  We quickly closed the purchase.



Our Minnesota Home


The morning after having our offer on the house accepted, my boss Bill Meazell and I were driving to a meeting at the ADM Research Center.  He had made arrangements to pick me up at our house and to drive directly to the meeting that morning.  After the usual pleasantries, he asked me what we had done the previous weekend.  I replied that we had “bought a house”.  Bill said “You didn’t”.  I replied that “We did”.  He again asked the same question and I gave the same answer.  I then asked “Why?”  He replied that “You have to keep this information confidential:  ADM sold ADM Chemicals to Ashland Oil this past weekend.”  I was taken back.  I should have seen this coming, but didn’t.  I  told him that I had seen John Daniels, ADM’s CEO in the office the prior Sunday noon with a group I assumed were other business executives, however, I never thought about the group discussing the sale  of ADM Chemicals.  The subsequent meeting at the ADM Research Center was anti-climactic. 


During the previous fall an investor in agricultural businesses by the name of Dwayne Andreas purchased the Midland family interests in ADM.   He had controlling or near controlling interest  in ADM and put pressure on the other owners and the board to spin off the chemical operations.  He later became chairman of the board of ADM’s directors.  The result was ADM Chemicals was acquired by Ashland Oil (AOI).  Ashland Oil was a regional petroleum refiner headquartered in Ashland, KY.  Ashland Oil had some petrochemical and chemical distribution businesses but wanted to expand its chemical business.  ADM Chemicals was the first of several chemical operations purchased by AOI over the next several years. 


A meeting with ADM Chemical key employees was promptly held wherein John Daniels made the announcement that ADM Chemicals would be sold to Ashland Oil.  The Chairman of AOI also addressed us reporting on AOI’s plans to organize and create a major chemical company.  He told us that we would be headquartered in Columbus, OH while the Ashland Oil’s corporate headquarters would continue to be in Ashland, KY. 


Moving to Ashland Oil in Columbus, OH -


The following weeks  were a whirlwind of meetings of  finalizing the negotiations and the documentation between Ashland and ADM.  I was not involved in these meetings, but followed what I could with interest.  My new boss, Bill Meazell, as well as Gene Krause with whom I continued to have close contact were convinced to join AOI.  Gene saw an opportunity to advance fairly quickly within Ashland and add his human relations expertise to AOI.  He was one of the few ADM corporate staff to subsequently make the move to AOI and relocate to Ashland, KY.  Ashland Oil had decided that Ashland Chemical would be organized on a product line basis, although there would be an Ashland Chemicals research, engineering, legal, personnel and accounting function at the company level.  The planning for this reorganization began even as the final negotiations and documentation were proceeding.


While all of this was proceeding, Karen and I followed through  on  the purchase of our new residence and moved in. The girls were able to finish their school year in the St. Louis Park school system.  The main level of the house had a small kitchen and dining area, a family room, a master bedroom suite and two smaller bedrooms with a separate full bath.   There was a four feet wide balcony which extended the length of the dining and kitchen rooms outside a sliding door from the dining area which provided a place to “cook out”, to look out at the barn and pasture and also to access a walkway to the backyard.  The girls each had their own bedroom.   The lower level, which was ground level with the back yard included a fairly large recreation room, laundry, separate finished bed room,  which I configured into my office and a bath.


We needed to acquire considerable furniture, household items, lawn and landscaping equipment and other supplies.  It was a busy but very happy time.  Karen and the girls visited an animal shelter one day and came home with a mixed breed Shepard which the girls promptly named “Astro” from the dog in the children’s TV program, The Jepsons. Shortly thereafter they also adopted  Siamese brother and  sister kittens.  They named them “Ming a Ling” and “Phoo Phoo Si”.  Our house was rapidly filling up.  Unfortunately, Astro became sick and a visit to the veterinarian resulted in a diagnosis of distemper, a highly contagious viral disease of dogs.  It is an incurable, often fatal disease.  The veterinarian said that there was nothing that could be done for Astro.  Karen and the girls would not accept that.  Karen stayed up all night for several nights, caring for Astro, who she kept in the girls bathtub with warm water to help Astro with his breathing and other symptoms.   Astro recovered and displayed little effect of the distemper.

(Astro would live for another twelve years.)


Karen’s parents and uncle George planned to drive to our place as soon as their teaching was finished for the year.  They would help us get settled and organized.   Later, we would vacation for a week at Minnesota’s Lake of The Woods on the Canadian border.  Karen, Cindie and Kim would then accompany her parents and uncle George  on a driving trip to Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada.  Actually, it was to celebrate Canada’s centennial.   They arrived in Minnesota mid-June and went to work.  George painted the barn “barn red”. I rebuilt the pasture fence in anticipation of Cindie and Kim’s ponies arrival.  Dad Swanson did numerous carpentry jobs.  Mother Swanson helped Karen get the various rooms in the house organized.   My father and mother came to visit one weekend bringing Prince and Buttermilk in a rented U-Haul trailer.  The girls were elated to see their ponies and immediately began riding them.  The small horse barn had an adequate storage area for horse feed and the various horse tack.  The ponies enjoyed their small but more than adequate pasture.


The Expo 67 travelers left Lake of the Woods driving through southern Canada, while I returned home to get back to work as I had only two  weeks of vacation at that time.  Dad Swanson was driving his pickup with the camper body.  Uncle George was driving his station wagon which also served as his sleeping quarters.  The Karen, Cindie, Kim and mother Swanson took turns riding in one of the vehicles.  At least two of them typically were riding in the camper.   One of the several stories they related was that while driving one morning they saw some wild blueberry bushes with ripe blue berries which they thought needed picking.  They stopped and  had their fill of blue berries and at least Kim gathered a bag of berries for snacks later in the trip.  After lunch, as they prepared to resume their travels, mother Swanson and Kim went to the restroom.  Dad Swanson, thought that they were in the back of the camper.  Karen and her dad departed with uncle George following.   After a bit Karen asked where her mother and Kim were (I don’t know where Cindie was, but she was in one of the two vehicles.)  Dad Swanson  said that he thought that they were in the camper.  After a while they stopped to make sure that Mom Swanson and Kim were with them.  


In the meantime, when Mom Swanson and Kim came out of the restroom and saw the camper and George’s car drive off, she knew that they were in for some trouble.  They started following the departing travelers.   Kim offered the thought that they would not go hungry as she still had her bag of lemon drops in her hand!   Eventually, a Canadian Monte patrolling the highway saw the two of them walking along the highway.  He stopped and asked if he could help.   After hearing their story, he asked them to get in the car and he sped after the camper and George’s car.   By this time, Karen, her dad and George decided that George would turn around and go back to get mom Swanson and Kim.  He zoomed off.  Not long thereafter Mom Swanson saw George’s car approaching from the opposite direction and asked the Monte to wave him down.  Mom Swanson and Kim climbed into Georges station wagon and they returned to where Dad Swanson, Karen and Cindie were waiting.   All’s well that ends well!


The travelers returned to Minnetonka Village from Montreal in early August.  They all enjoyed Expo 67 very  much. Shortly after that the Swansons and George headed home to CA and AZ.  Karen and the girls prepared for still a different school, this time it was the Hopkins school system.  Cindie was in fifth grade and it was her fifth different school and Kim’s fourth school and she was in fourth grade!  Cindie decided she wanted to play a cello in the band.  We purchased a cello which was nearly twice as tall as Cindie.   The girls had to walk about a long block to meet their school bus.  Cindie mounted the cello on a roller skate to roll it to their bus stop.  We had a wonderful autumn.  The girls were able to do a considerable amount of horseback riding.  We traveled to Iowa a few times.  We visited various sites in Minnesota.  We knew our time in Minnesota was limited.  Late in the fall, we returned the ponies to dad’s farm.   Cindie and Kim both said good bye to their ponies.  We were again able to attend the Davis Family Christmas Celebration.  This celebration just got better and better year after year.


My first Ashland Chemical promotion -


The ADM Chemical operations with which I was working, were divided between two divisions, Ashland Coatings Division and Ashland Chemical Products Division.  Curt Burkholder was made President of Ashland Coatings and Bob Fulton was made President of Ashland Chemical Products.  I was asked to be Executive Assistant to Bob Fulton.  Other personnel within ADM Chemicals, including the sales force, were similarly divided between the two Divisions.  The other administrative personnel all of whom were located in Minneapolis were likewise distributed between the two divisions.  The Foundry Products Division was relatively untouched as it was already a product division.   The reorganization was relatively non-disruptive of our research and engineering personnel as they would not be relocated to Columbus until the Ashland Chemical Research facility was completed – possibly in two to three years .


It was subsequently announced that we would be moving our administrative operations to Columbus as of April 1, 1968.  With real anticipation, Karen and I travelled to Columbus to look for our next home early in that year.  We committed to the girls that we would look for property similar to what we were enjoying in Minnesota.  We did indeed visit a number of acreages, but we found nothing that was comparable to what we had in Minnesota and what might work was not within our budget.  We finally settled on a house on Columbus Avenue in Upper Arlington, located only about 3 miles from Ohio State University (OSU).  The house did not have acreage, but it had a swimming pool which made up the entire fenced-in back yard.  The house was not then occupied and the swimming pool needed significant maintenance.   We later learned that Woody Hayes, OSU’s legendary football coach lived a few doors down the street.  The girls would have about five blocks to walk to school.  We made an offer and were able to negotiate an acceptable price of $35,000.   We sold our Minnesota home in which we had resided only a year, relatively  quickly at basically our purchase price.  We were off to Ohio as of the middle of March.  Cindie and Kim were about to enter their sixth and fifth schools.


That summer, Dad Swanson had some cardiac issues.  As a result, he had a pacemaker installed in his chest.  It was clearly visible through his skin.  The pacemaker was about the size of a package of cigarettes.  His pacemaker kept him going for some ten years.


Our Ashland Chemicals operations were temporarily relocated to the third floor of an office facility in down town Columbus, as the planning and construction of our new offices in Dublin, Ohio a Columbus suburb in the northwestern portion of greater Columbus was just getting underway.  Ashland Oil  acquired 100 acres of property in Dublin, OH adjacent to Interstate 270 on which it planned to construct an Ashland Chemicals headquarters as well as  the Ashland Chemicals Research Facility.  Our research personnel remained in the Bloomington, MN facility as that building was part of the purchase made by AOI.  The completion of the buildings in Dublin was not expected for two or more years. 


Ashland Oil continued acquiring smaller complementary chemical operations after acquiring ADM Chemicals.  Prior to acquiring ADM Chemicals, AOI had expanded its petroleum business to include  recovering and distributing petrochemicals from its refining operations, e.g., benzene, toluene, xylene and naphthalene.  The distribution of these and subsequently a very wide range of chemicals and related products by way of regional and local distributors was organized into a major division of Ashland Chemicals.  The division was named the Industrial Chemicals and  Solvents (ICS) Division.  A number of complementary chemical companies were acquired.  A phenolic resin company was acquired and added to the Ashland Coatings Division.  A small synthesizer of specialty organic chemicals for the cosmetic and chemical specialty industries was purchased and added to the Chemical Products Division.  A number of chemical distribution businesses were acquired to increase the geographic market coverage of the ICS Division.  Another chemical acquisition AOI made was a carbon black and synthetic rubber manufacturer.  The main industry served by that division of Ashland Chemicals, was the tire industry.


The Chemical Products Division, initially had only one plant, Mapleton, IL.  We also had responsibility for coordinating with a 50 percent Ashland owned joint venture fatty nitrogen chemicals business in Brussels.  We added the newly acquired specialty organic chemical plant,  located in central New Jersey, to our division. The products from this plant were primarily custom  manufactured complex organic chemicals for specific products/customers.  The division had sales of some $100 million annually.  We had a small staff of the division President, the Sales Manager, three product managers and me.  I was assigned to coordinate/supervise the plant managers, as well as to do all of the division planning, special studies, economic analysis, budgeting and such.  In that role, I was coordinating with the corporate director of planning (Ernie Wye), a staff assistant to the President of AOI,  Orin Atkins.  Ernie Wye was about 60 years old and had prior petroleum industry experience with EXXON – then known as Standard Oil of New Jersey.  Atkins had hired him to improve AOI’s planning and budgeting functions. 


Cindie and Kim transitioned into the Upper Arlington School relatively, easily.  Upper Arlington was an upscale neighborhood and the schools were quite good.  Karen visited with the Home Economics Department Chair at OSU to begin her transition to OSU.  The department chair suggested that she pursue a Masters in Home Economics instead of a second BS degree.  Karen liked this idea and enrolled in the OSU Home Economics graduate school with a major in textiles and clothing.  She began classes that fall semester.  I sandblasted and painted the pool to have it ready for the summer.  The house needed little maintenance or attention.  We did need to purchase some more furniture as the house had four bedrooms upstairs as well as a very nice living room and family room both on the first floor.  There was a full partially finished basement to which we added a pool table.


My sister Nancy was returning from Kwajalein that summer along with her fiancé, Neil McLemore whom she had met on Kwajalein.   They planned to be married that fall in Marshalltown, IA. She wanted to introduce him to our family but we were all so scattered that it did not seem to be feasible.   Someone, possibly Karen, came up with the idea of us hosting a family reunion at our place in Ohio.  The entire family thought that that was a good idea.  We invited them to our new digs for a week in late July.  Our entire family was able to attend.  It was a delight to see Nancy and to meet Neal.  He fit into the family easily, as he was a “Rambling Wreck” from Georgia Tech and  spoke excellent “Southern”!  We spent many hours in and around the pool that week.  Astro was the hit of the party, as he loved to swim in the pool and play ball with someone.  A person would toss a large beach ball to Astro when he was in the pool and he would hit it with his nose sending it back to the person who had thrown it to him.  One of the features on our uncovered patio between the house and the pool was a bar which was covered with an awning with the name “Charlie’s Bar”.   We never did find Charlie, but we enjoyed the setting anyway.   Sister-in-law, Judy was pregnant with their older son,  Richard, who was born two months later.  The younger siblings slept on the floor in the basement, including under the pool table, as did all of the children.  It was a very full house, but no one complained.  It was the first of many one-week summer family vacations/reunions for our family.  We met every year from 1968 through 1982 for these reunions until gatherings for family weddings pre-empted the annual summer or winter skiing vacation weeks.


Soon school was to begin for Cindie and Kim.  Karen’s classes also began.  She was tasked with writing a dissertation based on some research she was required to do.  She decided to do a research project on how clothing influenced low income children’s personality.  She designed the research, did the interviews, analyzed the results and wrote her thesis.   She did ask me to help her with her statistical analysis for the thesis.  Her thesis was accepted.  At the same time, she took several graduate program classes and made steady progress toward the MS in Textiles and Clothing.  We made a quick driving trip to Iowa to attend Nancy and Neal’s wedding on September 7, 1968.


Because of Karen’s studies and my work, Karen divided up the domestic chores between the four of us. Karen, Cindie and Kim rotated responsibility for doing the cooking, the laundry and the house cleaning.  Each of them did their responsibility for a week and then rotated to a different duty. Cindie and Kim both pulled more than their fair share.  One day when they came home from school, one of them reported that one of our neighbor friend’s children told Cindie and Kim that their family had a maid. Cindie and Kim wanted to know why we did not have a maid.  My response, to which neither had a retort, was that “Because we have the two of you, we don’t need a maid!”  One of the highlights of the year was when Ming a Ling gave birth to a litter of baby Siamese kittens.  They were the center of attention for several weeks.  The girls found good homes for the six of them within our community.  We were really enjoying the house, the pool and our family.  It was a busy but very productive time. 


In November 1968, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States defeating sitting Vice-President Hubert Humphrey.  President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for a second complete term primarily because of the Vietnam War.  Richard Nixon promised to get the U.S. out of Vietnam which was generally considered the reason he was elected.


Our work at Ashland Chemical was proceeding relatively well.  The construction of the Ashland Chemical Headquarters building in Dublin, was started.  The economy was relatively strong and businesses were doing well.  Ashland Chemical was expanding and doing  well.   That Christmas we again motored to Marshalltown for our family Christmas celebration.   Life in Upper Arlington was good.  The Chemical Products Division of Ashland Chemical was doing well.  We all kept busy with school and work. The girls did well in school.   It was so much fun watching the litter of kittens grow, teaching Astro tricks (he learned new tricks quite easily) and learning about central Ohio.  As summer approached it was decided that we would do another summer family Davis reunion at our Upper Arlington home.  Again, everyone in the family was able to attend.  Karen received her MS in June 1969 and accepted a contract to teach Textiles and Clothing at OSU that fall.  Karen created and framed certificates for Cindie and Kim to thank them for PMT (Putting Mommy Through), which we hung with Karen’s OSU Diploma.  Our  Davis family reunion was well attended.  It was a great reunion around our pool and Charlie’s Bar.  After the reunion,  Cindie began wearing braces on her teeth, as her permanent teeth were crooked.   The orthodontist enrolled her in an approximate two year program, with a fixed monthly charge.  



Karen’s Masters Degree


That fall, Ernie Wye convinced Orin Atkins to  increase the planning staff with the idea of recruiting me to join him at the corporate headquarters.   Orin Atkins was a relatively young executive, having been promoted to his position from his role in Ashland’s legal department as a lead negotiator in AOI’s acquisitions.  Ashland’s board had identified opportunities in the chemical and other related fields for AOI’s expansion.  This reinforced Atkins as the one to be president of AOI.  Four other senior executives of AOI were chief officers and board members  of AOI.  Everett Wells was a very senior executive who had played a leading role with AOI’s previous CEO and nephew of AOIs founder, Rex Blazer (who in turn was the nephew of AOI’s founder Paul Blazer).   Everett had no operating responsibility, however he served on the board of directors.  Bob Yancy who had served in the petroleum refining portion of the business and was Executive Vice-President of AOI.  He was also designated as President of Ashland Chemical, however he never moved to Columbus and spent little time on Ashland Chemical’s business.  Bill Seaton, Executive Vice President who was responsible for AOI’s financial and much of its administrative operations.  John Hall who was a young brilliant chemical engineer and business man, who was in charge of AOI’s refining operations.  He later served as President of Ashland Chemical, and eventually succeeded Atkins as Chairman, President and CEO of AOI. These five men pretty much ran AOI and controlled the board, even though AOI was a publicly held company.


We returned to Ohio early in January 1970 having enjoyed another Davis Iowa Family Christmas.  The girls really enjoyed these semi-annual get togethers with their cousins, aunts and uncles, the Hartland Church program, the wonderful food, homemade ice cream and Iowa meats.  Brother Bob had purchased a snowmobile and we had wonderful snow on which to initiate it.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed these rides.  We older “boys”, particularly, Dick, Neal, Allan and I enjoyed tromping through the snow hunting rabbits and pheasants.  It was good exercise and we usually were able to get a few pheasants to supplement the meat mom had from the freezer.


The Viet Nam war continued much to the disgust of many of our college students.  There were a number of campus protests around the country.  On May 4, 1970 major protests which had been underway a number of days at Kent State University, located on the northeast outskirts of Akron,  OH caused the Ohio Governor to call out the National Guard.  An altercation between the students and the Guard resulted in the Guard firing their weapons at the students.  Four students were killed and nine wounded.  It was a very sad day in Ohio and throughout our country.


Another Ashland promotion and move to Ashland, KY -


Ernie Wye approached me with an offer to join him in the Chairman’s office, working on long range corporate planning.  Ernie had an office for me in his small office suite on the executive floor of AOI’s corporate office in downtown Ashland, KY.  Karen and I discussed this latest opportunity, and while she was not anxious to leave Upper Arlington and her teaching at OSU, she agreed that we should take advantage  of this promotion.  I accepted the assignment as it would provide me an excellent opportunity to get to know the operations of AOI with which I was not familiar as well as great visibility from the corporate officers.   All  of AOI’s senior officers were officed on that floor.  I was advised that I would not need to relocate my family to Ashland until the following school year as Ernie knew we had two young daughters.  One of the “institutions” among Ashland Oil’s executives was the practice of working on Saturday mornings – sometimes all day – in the office.  It was a casual day but there were many business sessions among the executives and a wonderful way to keep track of various aspects of the business.


Again, Karen and I did a house hunting trip to Ashland, only to find virtually nothing that made sense for us. We were looking for acreage where the girls could have their ponies as well as other amenities.  We found nothing.  Karen was quite distraught at the thought of moving to Ashland with what she had seen as possible living areas. Ashland, KY was a community of 30,000 residents located on the Ohio River in the very northeastern part of the state.  Huntington, WV was immediately across the Big Sandy River to the east of Ashland.  Ashland’s largest refinery was located on the Big Sandy River near the Ohio River.  However, the rural area around Ashland was quite depressing and the housing even more so.


Looking through a magazine  prior to our house hunting trip, I had seen the advertisement for house plans of an attractive wood and glass contemporary house.  I showed the ad to Karen after our unsuccessful house hunting  trip.  She liked the house so we purchased the plans.  We knew of some building lots in Ashland where a number of AOI personnel had built homes.   Long story short, we purchased a lot, engaged a builder, arranged for a construction loan and built the house.  Karen and the girls stayed in Upper Arlington.  I commuted each weekend to/fr Upper Arlington and Ashland although I typically spent Saturday mornings in the office, making it a short week end. 


Early in June, our HBS ’65 class had its first fifth year reunion at HBS which was celebrated at the same time as all of the fifth year reunions, i.e., 5th, 10th, 15th, etc., except the really big 25th and 50th reunions which are held in the fall to reduce alumni crowding at HBS.  I served as a Section C fund raiser, contacting as many of our section-mates as I could and asking them to join  we section-mates in supporting HBS and its programs.  The reunion program was the typical Thursday evening greeting event which was held at the event hotel.  Some class-mates had scheduled dinner plans for later in the evening with other section-mates.  Friday morning included a breakfast in a large tent on campus with other class-mates, a welcoming program for each class, followed by a smorgasbord of classroom presentation options by HBS professors on a special topic in their field of expertise, a lunch in the large tent and more class room presentation options in the afternoon.  Friday evening was a section party and dinner organized by our section reunion chair.  Saturday morning was a class focused event on or near campus.  Saturday afternoon was unscheduled/free time.  Saturday evening was a nice cocktail/dinner/entertainment event for our class at an interesting venue, e.g., a major library or at a presentation of the Boston Pops. Sunday morning was a “good bye breakfast” at our host hotel. 


At this first reunion and  our 10th and 15th, Ben and Norma Shapiro hosted, Bill and Gayle Chorske, Harry and Marlene Skilton, and Karen and me at their home in Concord for the reunion, adding to the quality time of our reunion.  We four couples would continue to spend quality time at each of our reunions (we missed not a single reunion).  Our four couples occasionally got together in between reunions as well.


As Karen, the girls and I were between living in  Upper Arlington and Ashland, we could  not commit to hosting the Davis Family Summer Reunion in 1970.  Someone in the family came up with the idea of having the Davis Family Summer Reunion  at Lake of The Ozarks in central Missouri.  They took responsibility for contacting resorts, negotiating with the owners and renting a sufficient number of units in the Knotty Pine Resort to accommodate those of our family who would be attending.  I remember this reunion was well attended, maybe by all of our family.  Knotty Pine Resort had a number of well-worn but acceptable cabins located fifty yards from the lake.  It had its own boat dock and covered fishing dock.  The family cooked and ate our meals  together usually  grilling and eating  outside,  weather permitting.  We rented  a power boat for the week, which would enable us to water ski or fish.  Everyone except mom and dad, and the very little tots learned to  water ski that summer.   We would return to Knotty Pine Resort at least five more times, as we had our Davis Family Reunion week for ten more successive years.  The last three of those were in Utah at Nancy and Neal’s home in December where we celebrated Christmas and spent several days skiing each of those years.  The 1970 reunion however, was celebrated a month after we lost Dad’s mother, Mary Davis.  It was a downer for our reunion.  Grandma Davis was 82 years old.


We asked Cindie’s orthodontist to recommend an orthodontist in the Ashland, KY area to continue Cindie’s orthodontal program.  On her first visit to the Ashland orthodontist, he agreed to continue the program prescribed by Cindie’s first orthodontist, but told us “we dentists in Kentucky don’t get the same fees as Ohio’s dentists” and the new fee was some 25% less than what we were paying in Ohio.  (However, when we transferred back to Ohio a year later Cindie’s original orthodontist advised us that we were back on his pricing schedule!)


Our fifth owned house and first custom built home -


The Ashland house was relatively, easy and quick to build.  There was no drywall or plaster, instead we used interior plywood sheeting for the interior and lumber and glass for the exterior. The floors were all carpeted.  The house was three stories and about 3000 square feet of finished space  -  the girls bedrooms and the laundry room were in the lower level.  The main level was a kitchen, a family room, a cantilevered dining room, an office and a living room.  The second level include a large master suite, a guest bedroom and a sperate bath.  A two story circular steel staircase custom built around a four inch schedule 80 (really heavy duty) steel pipe - which provided the only structural support for the roof other than the four exterior walls - provided the access to the different floors. Working nearby, I was able to visit the job site every day and to make any decisions promptly for which the builder needed answers.  Hence the builder was able to construct the house in just six months.  We were able to move to Ashland for the beginning of school that fall.  Again, the girls were  disappointed that we did not have acreage for the ponies, however, we were convinced that we would be able to locate a stable nearby where we could board Prince and Buttermilk. 


Our Very Contemporary Ashland Home


 Karen was not happy about giving up her teaching position at OSU, however she had applied for and been awarded a teaching position in the Home Economics Department at Marshall University located in Huntington, WV about 15 miles from our home.     She was looking forward to a new teaching experience in the fall of 1970.


Cindie, wanted a Beagle puppy to add to our pet population.   We purchased Peanut, a delightful puppy, but a bit too adventurous.  She managed to wander off a couple of times and once fell some distance from some rocks.  Despite our concerns, the veterinarian could find no injury other than some bruising. The girls easily transitioned into their school – Cindie’s 7th and Kim’s 6th different school.  They walked about 50 yards to where the school bus picked them up.  The Ashland schools seemed to be somewhat behind the Upper Arlington schools.  However, both girls were industrious, intelligent and adaptable, so this new school was not a challenge for them.   However, as a result of all the changes, they never made lasting friendships with their young class-mates.


I thoroughly enjoyed the work with Ernie and the discussion with the senior officers about the long range corporate plans.  Ashland was still in a growth mode making many acquisitions in nearly every aspect of their business.   A new  president was hired for Ashland Chemical from outside AOI.   He had considerable senior management experience in the chemical industry.   One of his first major actions was to negotiate the purchase of Foster Grant which was a successful manufacturer and marketer of sun glasses. Foster Grant had integrated its business backward into the manufacture of styrene a petrochemical which is a major ingredient of many plastics, particularly the various forms of polystyrene.  The styrene plant was the primary interest of Ashland Chemical’s new president. President Orin Atkins did not like the deal and sent me to accompany an acquisition team of Ashland Chemical personnel on a visit to Foster Grant.  I was asked by President Atkins for my recommendation as the possible acquisition.  I did not see Foster Grant’s primary business of retailing sun glasses as fitting with Ashland Oil’s  business and recommended that the deal not be pursued unless we could just purchase the styrene facilities and business at a reasonable price.  This made me persona-non-grata with the new president of Ashland Chemical.   However, he did not fit the mold of Ashland executives and  left Ashland Chemical shortly thereafter.  Orin Atkins then installed John Hall as president of Ashland Chemical early in 1971.  John had a young son and a lovely wife who was suffering from cancer.  He did not relocate to Columbus but spent a considerable amount of his time on Ashland Chemical’s business and most days in the Ashland Chemical offices.  John was an exceptional business executive, his ability to identify the key issues with respect to any problem, opportunity or other possible decision making situation was legendary.


While I was in Ashland, KY the new administrative offices and the research center for Ashland Chemical were completed and occupied.  The Ashland Chemical research and engineering personnel who had remained in Bloomington, MN awaiting the competition of their new home moved to the greater Columbus area.  It was a big advantage to have these critical research and customer service personnel on our campus.


As a result of John Hall assuming the presidency of Ashland Chemical, Bill Gammon a senior executive with personnel responsibility throughout Ashland Oil, began working with Hall on some executive changes within Ashland Chemical.  Bill’s office was also on the executive floor on which I was working.  One Saturday, Bill Gammon approached me about some possible changes he and John Hall were considering for Ashland Chemical.  He questioned me about some of their thinking as to reassignments.  When Bill told me who they were considering as the next President of the Chemical Products Division, I said “that their candidate would probably work, but that I thought that they were overlooking the best candidate”.  He responded “who is that?”.  I replied that “it was me”.  He looked surprised and asked if I wanted to be considered, thinking that I would want to stay in my then current position, basically working for the chairman.  I replied that “I would very much appreciate being considered”.  



Another promotion  relocation and our sixth owned house –


A week later I was awarded the responsibility of President of the Chemical Products Division (CPD) and  Vice- President of Ashland Chemical.  I began commuting from Ashland, KY back to the newly occupied Dublin, OH office.  I would begin my fifth job at ADM/Ashland Chemical in five years.  I knew nearly all of my salaried employees in the division as I had worked with them for a year as Bob Fulton’s executive assistant and most of them before that at ADM Chemicals.  It was an easy transition, except my family was left in Ashland to finish out the school year.  We had been in our Ashland house less than a year.


Karen thoroughly enjoyed her year teaching at Marshall University.  The year she taught at Marshall was the year that the Marshall University football team was killed when the plane on which they were returning  from an away game crashed in to a mountain as a result of inclement weather.  It was an  exceptionally difficult time on campus and throughout Marshall’s extended family.  We were at home that very dreary night when we heard the news flash on TV about the accident.


We soon began house hunting in the greater Columbus,  OH area and we were determined to find an acreage where the girls could have their ponies.  We looked at a number of properties and settled on an thirteen acre parcel with a two story ranch house, which had a finished lower level that opened to a grassy area between the house and a small creek,  some 25 feet away.  The property had a good sized horse barn and corral, a one acre artificial pond stocked with large-mouth bass which was surrounded by a meadow with one-half dozen apple trees, two fenced in pastures seeded to rye grass for hay and grazing and a large vegetable garden.  It was ideal and the girls were delighted.  We agreed on a price, which included the previous owner’s Ford tractor, bush hog, and various other equipment.  We arranged for a mortgage and closed on the property mid-May. My commute to work would be about 20 minutes essentially all on Interstate 270.  Karen regained her teaching position at OSU.


The girls could not wait to finish school in Ashland and move to 8050 Clouse Road, New Albany,  OH which was located about one-quarter mile from Ohio State Highway 62, a moderately traveled two lane concrete highway.  Clouse Road was a gravel road. Kim would be in 8th grade and Cindie a freshman in New Albany High School.  They would ride a bus which required them to walk about 200 yards from our house to Clouse Road.  New Albany was a small rural community with only some 500 residents.  It was located in northeast Franklin County, whereas Columbus and OSU were near the center of the county and Dublin where the new Ashland Chemical Headquarters was located was in the northwest corner of the county.


It was another busy time, preparing for our move, listing our Ashland house (this time the corporate move policy would take ownership of our house, at our option, if we had not sold it with six months of our move).  The company would keep us whole on the cost to construct our house.  In the end this is what happened and AOI lost money on the transaction.  We had moved our family so many times that the move to New Albany was not that difficult for us.  We moved as soon as the girls and Karen’s school year was finished. We settled into the new acreage very easily.  We arranged for my dad and mom to again deliver Prince and Buttermilk to the girls.  It was good for the folks to see our new digs.  Astro loved the wide open acreage and was very good about staying close to home.  Peanut also settled in, however, Cindie had to keep an eye on her as Beagles seem to put their nose to the ground and follow a scent wherever the scent takes them.  Unfortunately, Peanut wondered onto the State Highway 62 some 600 yards from our property and was killed by a vehicle some two years  later.  Our dear neighbor found her on the side of the road and carried her back to Cindie who was distraught over losing her.  That was a sad day for all of us, including Astro who had developed a close relationship with Peanut .  Prince and Buttermilk loved their new pastures, barn and corral.  It was too late to start a garden so we left that to the following year.  However, there was ample to do, just getting the property, house and other buildings up to our liking.  Generally,  the property was in good shape as the previous owner had been diligent in this respect.  The house was smaller than what we wanted, so Karen and I began considering expanding it.  We decided that the two car built-in garage could easily be converted into a larger family room and formal dining area and that we could build a detached two car garage to the side of the house which would be connected it to the house with a covered walkway.  This was an inexpensive way to add some 1000 square feet of finished space to our house.  We found a local builder who took on the project and completed this expansion in three months. 


That summer (1971) our family again returned to Knotty Pine Resort.  This time Neal’s two sons,  Kevin  and Shaun who were 13 and 12 respectively and living with their mother in California, attended with Nancy, Colin (1 year old) and Neal.  Neal brought  his bright red power boat which gave us a boat to pull water skiers full time.   It was a great reunion particularly for water skiing and again it was well attended.  Kevin, Shaun and their families’ have been life-long friends with our family since that summer vacation and have joined us at several of our reunions.


The summer passed quickly and soon Cindie and Kim were in school at New Albany, in the ninth and eighth grades – Cindie’s eighth and Kim’s seventh AND last schools, as each of them would matriculate from New Albany High School!  Karen was again teaching textiles and clothing at OSU.  Life on the acreage in New Albany was good.  That fall Cindie and Kim enrolled in equestrian lessons.   Kim decided that she really didn’t enjoy the lessons that much after falling from her horse during an early lesson.

The Chemical Products Division was at that time the fatty chemical business and Mapleton Plant purchased from ADM and the specialty fine chemicals business located in Great Meadows, NJ.  The fine chemicals business was essentially a custom manufacturing business for complex organic chemicals synthesized for unique properties and utilized in hair dyes, tear gas reagents and chemical compounding applications.  Sales of these products were made by the Director of that business, a senior PhD organic chemist with a good understanding of the chemical manufacturing processes and economics.  He was well respected among the businesses’ customers.  The facility was modest consisting of several small buildings constructed over a period of years, equipped with small scale reactors and related equipment, staffed with only about 25 employees and located in a swampy meadow remote from neighbors and villages.


As an officer of Ashland Chemical, I was eligible for an annual physical, which I had at Ohio State University Medical School.  I have had regular annual physicals every year since.  The Ashland Chemical facility had an employee fitness center which included a fitness director.  I began a physical fitness workout at that time which I have continued pretty much  throughout my life.  I worked particularly   on cardio with the treadmills and occasionally outdoor running when not able to access a fitness center.  Other than when I was on active duty, I had never engaged in physical fitness training until then.  Growing up on the farm we did not need physical fitness programs, doing chores and farm work kept us physically fit. I have been blessed with good health and have worked fairly diligently to keep it.  In retrospect, I must have inherited good genes as well.


Ashland had purchased the fine chemicals business and a second business, a melamine crystal business from an individual investor, Bob Fisher.   Fisher had purchased these businesses from American Cyanamide who was forced by the SEC to divest the melamine crystal business for anti-trust reasons.  American Cyanamide agreed to continue to manufacture the melamine crystal for this investor and any successor owner, for up to 10 years.   After purchasing these businesses from Fisher, AOI negotiated a joint venture melamine  crystal  manufacturing plant agreement with First Mississippi Corporation (FMC) who had an ammonia and urea manufacturing plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.   First Mississippi agreed to a long term favorably priced urea and ammonia – the key raw materials for the process - supply contract to the joint-venture company, Melamine Chemicals, Inc (MCI).  Despite construction delays primarily because of some process design changes, MCI successfully built and operated one of two melamine crystal production plants in the U.S.   The melamine crystal was sold to companies manufacturing resins, adhesives, surface coatings and molded products.  MCI was one of my responsibilities, although the financial results were not consolidated within the CPD.  I served on the initial board of directors of MCI.   A single Director of Sales was responsible for the sales of the melamine crystal, as nearly all customers were large volume purchasers. 


Eldorado Chemicals, a small fatty nitrogen chemicals manufacturer in Oakland, CA owned by McKesson & Robbins, was made available for purchase.  It made a few products identical to what were made in our Mapleton plant.  The price on the business was reasonable and the CPD would be able to economize on the manufacturing of some of our products and to save on  some freight costs in distributing our products.   We purchased the plant and added to the CPD’s sales volume and profits.   The manager of this business, Ralph Fisher, an experienced chemical manufacturing executive had a more than capable plant manager working for him in the plant.  Shortly after this acquisition we moved Ralph Fisher to Dublin, OH as the CPD manufacturing manager with responsibility for all of the division’s manufacturing operations.  This was a significant strengthening of the CPD’s management organization.  It was the first of what turned out to be many acquisitions (and divestitures) that I had responsibility for during my career.


I also had primary responsibility for Ashland’s investment in a small 50 percent Ashland owned  fatty nitrogen chemicals plant in Brussels.  We provided product and processing technical support to this operation which made many of the same products produced in our Mapleton Plant.  The plant was located on a portion of our joint venture partner’s fatty chemicals plant and that partner provided the operational and sales management for the operation.  We held semi-annual meetings at our partner’s headquarters to coordinate the management of this business.


Cindie finished her two plus year experience with wearing braces on her teeth.  The braces did the job as she had wonderful teeth afterwards and was pleased with the improved appearance.  Life on our acreage was very enjoyable.  The girls and we were very much at home.  Our pets loved the acreage and freedom.   As Christmas approached, we decorated our new home for the holidays.  We decorated a large Christmas Tree in our new family room and  hung outdoor lights from the roof.  We also put lights on some of the small trees outside the house.  We were blessed with some snow storms which made our acreage a winter wonderland.  Also, we purchased a tractor mounted snow blade with the equipment bought with the house from the previous owner which came in handy on several occasions. Christmas 1971 and another Iowa Davis Family Christmas was enjoyed by all, including Neal, Nancy and Colin from Huntsville, AL.  Mom out did herself preparing all kinds of Christmas pastries and other goodies.  We must have made six freezers of home-made ice cream.  Astro enjoyed his week at the farm.  The winter in New Albany wasn’t too bad and keeping our 300 yard lane to Clouse Road was not that difficult.  Karen continued to enjoy her teaching at OSU and the girls had adapted well in the New Albany School.  They had little if any school to make-up as a result of spending a year in the Ashland school.


Cindie continued her riding lessons and became even more committed to an equestrian life.  The owner of the stable where they were taking their lessons, also bred and sold quarter horses.  And we purchased her a four year old gilding for her immediate riding.  He was named Cracker Jack.  Cindie and Cracker Jack were inseparable.  We also purchased a five-year old quarter horse mare, by the name Leo, which was bred to a quarter horse stud and due to foal that fall.  Cindie and  I would ride together when the weather was nice.  I rode Leo and Cindie road Cracker Jack.  Cindie was having the time of her life.  Cindie and Kim were both enjoying high school, making good grades, enjoying 4-H, accepting responsibilities for chores at home, including fully tending for their pets and horses/ponies.   Karen and I were very proud of them.


We began planning our approximate 5000 square feet garden which was carved out of a portion of what otherwise would have been part of a very  large lawn and hence it was not enclosed by a fence.  Along with the equipment that we purchased from the previous owner of our house was a plow for turning soil which mounted on the tactor.  As soon as the frost was out of the ground, I plowed the garden and rigged up an old bed spring which the previous owner had left in the barn to use as a make shift harrow.  The ground still needed considerable work however the previous owner had used this plot for his garden and so preparing the soil  was not that difficult.  We planted a wide variety of vegetables that spring, including tomato plants already started in a nursery.  The tilling, weeding, staking and other attention was time consuming but rewarding work.  The girls helped when they could, particularly when it came time for harvesting.  Unfortunately, the racoons found the sweet corn and ravaged it.  I tried a number of home remedies, e.g.,  acquiring human hair from my barber, purchasing dog urine and buying other commercial products to spread on the ground near the corn.  These were only partially successful, as we continued to unwillingly share our sweet corn with the racoons.  Of course, the rabbits also helped themselves to the lettuce and other leafy plants.  Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed our fresh vegetables.  As the summer came to an end, we were blessed with a huge surplus of vegetables which needed harvesting.  Our solution was to freeze a number of comingled vegetables, i.e., tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans and corn which would be used during the winter to make beef stew, merely by adding the beef. We also  froze a lesser quantity of these vegetables individually.  To store all of this food, we purchased a chest freezer and placed it in the lower level of the house.  We had beef stew the following year until the girls cried “Uncle”!


We followed the acquisition of Eldorado with the acquisition of Varney Chemical Company in Janesville, WI.  Varney made specialty chemicals including an alternative type fabric softener which enabled the Chemical Products Division to more broadly compete in this large and growing field of specialty chemicals.  This added a significant increase of some 25% to our sales volume and profits.  This was my second acquisition.


We thoroughly enjoyed another Davis Family Summer Reunion.  Our family decided to try a different resort and lake for this reunion.  We chose a resort on Table Rock Lake in Arkansas, just south of the Missouri and Arkansas state’s border. The reunion was very well attended.  Dad had purchased a power boat which would serve the family well for the next six years.  We celebrated Beverly’s birthday at this reunion, as it was held in mid-July.  We did little other than swim, boat, water ski, play cards, talk and eat.  It was always a relaxing, enjoyable time to catch up with the rest of our family.  However, we decided that this lake and resort was not as convenient as Lake of The Ozarks -  it was about 2 hours more driving time from Iowa than Lake of the Ozarks – hence we decided to return to Knotty Pine Resort the following year.


That summer while reorganizing an open sided shed in which the previous owner had stored hay and left several dozen bales for us, I was stung by a wasp on my ring finger.  Prior to getting my ring off my finger, my finger was so swollen that I could not remove the ring.  I cut the ring off my finger with a pair of wire cutting pliers.  I still have the ring however I never wore a ring since.  In the fall of 1972 Karen’s folks had retired from teaching and planned a three-week driving trip in Europe.  They asked Karen to go along and help with the driving.  Aunt Bea flew to Ohio to be with Cindie, Kim and me.    Not that Cindie and Kim needed any watching, or even help with preparing meals, laundry and other domestic chores.     I was able to set my schedule to do only a minimum amount of overnight travel.  It was a wonderful trip for mom and dad Swanson as well as Karen.  They spent most of their time in France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Sweden – where most of dad Swanson’s ancestors originated - his father was born in Sweden.  Dad Swanson took many photographs of  numerous items of interest.  The previous year, Karen’s folks had joined a six week tour for retired teachers which visited many of the wonders of southern Europe, the Middle East, southern Asia and Japan.  Dad Swanson took may photographs of these wonders as well as the beautiful scenery.  He put together a wonderful slide show which he narrated with his personal observations of what the slides portrayed.  He made numerous presentations to community and church groups about their travels, particularly those two trips.  He was kept very busy with these presentations.


Leo’s foal arrived on Cindie’s birthday, September 18, 1972.  She named the filly “Keepsake”.  To say she was elated would be a colossal understatement.  Keepsake was a wonderful sorrel color with a jagged star on his face.  Our veterinarian examined mother and foal and pronounced them to be in excellent health.  Despite our barn being quite open to the elements, Leo and Keepsake kept sufficiently warm in a stall in a sheltered portion of the barn and with ample bedding and with several other horses & ponies in adjacent stalls. 


Aunt Bea, Cindie, Kim and I did well, although, Kim broke her arm while practicing their  high school cheerleading.  That  required her to have it  in a cast for four weeks.  It was wonderful having aunt Bea to ourselves. We knew generally where Karen and her parents were as we received brief phone calls from Karen every several days.  Of course, this was before cell phones and the Internet, so we were at the mercy of land line hotel room and public phones.  We also received several post cards after a couple of weeks which continued for a week after they returned home.


Neal accepted a job returning him to  Kwajalein.  Nancy, their son, Colin and Neal were looking for a home for their St. Bernard dog,  Hans.   They decided that our acreage would suit Hans just fine and asked us to adopt him after all we already had Astro  and Peanut.   One weekend the three of them drove Hans from Huntsville to New Albany.  Hans fit in very nicely. He was a fine dog and easy to care for.  All three dogs got along well, however the dogfood bill increased substantially.  Unfortunately, a few months later Hans quite unexpectedly died of an intestinal problem.   It was a said day for us and certainly for Nancy and Neal, who by then were 6000 miles away in the southern Pacific.


President Richard Nixon was re-elected president in November 1972.  He did end the Viet Nam war. However, in 1974 he was forced to resign because of a probable impeachment over obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress.  His vice-president Gerald Ford succeeded him.  President Ford, arguing that it was for the good of the country, pardoned President Nixon of the alleged infractions.  President Ford would be defeated by President Jimmy Carter in November 1976.


Christmas 1972 we celebrated another Iowa Davis Family Christmas.  We were blessed to be able to have our annual Christmas celebration with family, year after year.  Nancy, Neal and Colin were in Kwajalein and did not attend.  Mother always had loads of home-made goodies which she prepared ahead of time and froze until we were there to devour them.  We  always made several canisters of home-made ice cream to add to the festivities and the weight gains. 


Early in 1973, John Hall came to my office and closed the door which I always kept open except on a few occasions.  John wanted to make some additional changes in the Ashland Chemical’s  management.   He was not happy with the progress being made in the Coatings Division.  He asked me to assume the presidency of the Coatings Division with the understanding that we would promote the CPD’s sales manager,  Charlie Aldag to be President of the CPD.   John and I had previously discussed my thoughts on the succession plans for our division and Charlie was clearly the best  person in CPD to assume this role.  I responded to John that I was flattered with his confidence and would gladly accept the challenge he was offering.  Later that week it was announced that I would become President of the Coatings Division of Ashland Chemical.  I was replacing my old boss Curt Burkholder, who was asked to retire.  The change occurred at the time of the announcement.  A new adventure ahead.


Also, early in 1973, Bill Gammon came to Columbus to along with John Hall to meet with the officers of Ashland Chemical.  Until then Ashland had no incentive compensation nor stock option program for key of the employees except the very senior officers.   The board had approved an executive bonus and stock option purchase plan for all key employees.   Bill Gammon brought with him bonus checks for the prior two fiscal years.  Bonuses had been accrued but not paid pending approval of the AOI board of directors.  I received two checks each representing about a 10% bonus on the salary I had earned during each of the two prior fiscal years.  It was a very nice surprise.  From then on, key employees were awarded bonuses based on how well the corporation performed, the employee’s business unit performed and the assessed performance of each key employee.  We also were able to participate in stock purchase program of AOI common stock.


We adopted two female German Shepard guide dog training drop outs.  Tillie and  Kelly were their names.  Tillie was really not very smart and was small for a German Shepard.   Kelly was a very nice large German Shepard who was fairly bright.   I built a kennel I the barn for each of them with a common run so they could be outside in nice weather.  We planned to only kennel them when we travelled or they had litters.  They each had a nice litter of  seven puppies each.  It was fun watching the two mothers and puppies for the first few weeks.  Unfortunately, selling the puppies was not easy and we gave up on the idea of making side money raising German Shepard puppies and found good homes for all of the puppies.  After that we just enjoyed Tillie and Kelly.  One of my favorite memories of Kelly and Tillie was Karen fixing lunch one day when all three dogs were in the house.  Karen had a 2 pound block of Velveeta Cheese  on the kitchen counter as she was making toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Kelly walked past the counter and grabbed the cheese from the counter and began eating it on the spot.  Karen was livid  even more so as I laughed it off.


Cindie was thinking about college and what  she wanted to study.   Cindie also was head over heels in love with her Keepsake and thoroughly enjoyed working with Keepsake and Cracker Jack.  Kim enjoyed working with her 4-H seamstress projects and baking various deserts with Karen.  Cindie enjoyed riding and showing/competing in various horse shows and fairs using Cracker Jack.  Cracker Jack and Cindie frequently had Saturday horse shows requiring her to get up at 4:30 AM to bath and prepare Cracker Jack for the competition.  We had acquired a one horse horse-trailer in the purchase of the acreage which came in very handy for attending her horse shows.  She very much enjoyed her quarter-horse western competition.  She no longer took riding lessons, something that would change many years later.


Cindie and Crackerjack


Karen was enjoying her teaching appointment at OSU in textile and clothing.  She did not enjoy the  politics the academic environment.  She developed several personal and family friendships which endured for a number of years.  Her teaching load was fairly full; however, the classes were classes she had taught previously which reduced the  preparation time required for each class.  She never considered pursuing a PhD as a university career was not something that she was interested in pursuing.  In fact, she was considering a retail store selling needle art and supplies.  She learned of a small house on the main street of New Albany which she thought would make an ideal needle works retail store.  The house was in decent shape, had good street access, adequate parking and a fair amount of street traffic.  As the school year wound down, Karen pursued renting this building and establishing a needle works store.  She became more and more convinced that this was an opportunity that she wanted to pursue. 


That summer, she made the decision to proceed.  She rented the house for a year, settled on the name  The Needleworks, began remodeling the part of the house which would be the retail operation as well as a classroom.  She spent the summer of 1973 preparing The Needleworks for a formal open on Labor Day weekend.  She ordered her initial inventory of various types of needle art supplies, including canvases, thread, knitting supplies, instruction books and such.  Earlier, she had resigned her OSU Textiles and Clothing Division  teaching position.


The Coatings Division sold primarily binders to the paint industry and unsaturated polyester resins for the reinforced plastics industry, principally for pleasure boats, bathroom components, storage tanks and such.  These products were similar technologies with a large market.  These markets attracted a number of competitors particularly from the agricultural based agricultural oils producers, hence ADM and Cargill’s interest in these products and markets.  As mentioned earlier the paint industry was migrating relatively fast to water based/solvent  paints rather than  paints with  organic chemical solvents.   However, the unsaturated polyesters were sold in an organic solvent or viscosity reducing agent.  They were normally  mixed with styrene which reduced the viscosity as well as acted as an initiator of the cross-linking/curing process.


The division had expanded its footprint in the unsaturated polyester market with the construction of a continuous production unit at the Calumet City plant, because of its location in the middle of the country’s reinforced plastics fabrication business and it, unlike the Valley Park had the space to expand its manufacturing operations.   The continuous production unit was new to Ashland and maybe the industry, as previously all production was in large batch reactors.  The start-up suffered from numerous problems and President John Hall was not satisfied that the then current division management was capable of solving the start-up problems.  In addition, he saw several management deficiencies in the division.  Prior to announcing my appointment to head the division, he and I had several talks about what organizational and other changes needed to be made in the division.  He transferred several of the management personnel to other departments and cleared the way for my appointment prior to announcing it.


The remaining staffing in the division were reasonably capable but needed management direction and focus.  That basically was my job plus getting the needed resources focused on the start-up of the continuous unsaturated polyester resin plant.  The division staff was receptive to these changes and put their shoulders to the tasks at hand.  The division’s financial performance improved resulting in better moral.    The new continuous polyester resin plant began operating as designed and added customers resulted in increased market share and growth.  


The summer of 1973 we returned to the Knotty Pine Resort for our Davis Family Summer Reunion.  Dick was unable to attend as he was deployed on a cruise, however Judy, Richie who was almost 5 years old and Jason now 16 months old attended.  We would have our summer reunions at Knotty Pine Resort for the next three years, making it six years in total and four in a row.


Cindie continued working with Keepsake who was not yet a year old Keepsake had been gelded earlier.  He was a fine colt and responded nicely to Cindie’s attention.  She however, rode Cracker Jack in various local horse shows and the Ohio State Fair.  She and I continued riding together, frequently riding on the graveled Clouse Road to the far end which ended at some open fields with creeks, woods and unfarmed land, which proved to be a wonderful place to leisurely ride.  Shortly after her 16th birthday, Cindie earned her driver’s license.  She had learned to drive both at home and in high school. 


As president of the Coatings Division, I was designated as the corporate representative to the Society of Plastics Industries (SPI) – now the Plastics Industry Association - an industry association organized to promote the use of plastics.  The Coatings Division was a member.  In late 1973 the Arab-Israel war broke out.  The US sided with Israel which caused the Arab oil exporting countries to embargo oil shipments to the U.S.  The use of plastics for many applications, because of its primary raw material source being petrochemicals, was under pressure as a  waste of precious petroleum.  The SPI undertook a public relations campaign to educate the American public of the economical and energy saving aspects of many plastic products.  I was asked to join this effort of making radio, television and newsprint presentations around the country.  The SPI retained a New York City public relations firm to guide and schedule the various SPI representatives to these public relations events.  I was one of three industry spokesmen for this campaign which lasted for the  better part of a year.  It was a broadening experience for me and hopefully educational for the public who listened to our presentations.  We had identified several specific uses of plastics that demonstrably  saved  more energy that was used to make that product.  One such product was the wind deflectors on top of the tractors which haul semi-trailers of goods throughout the country.  These deflectors improved the fuel efficiency of the tractors to the point that it was determined that these deflectors saved some ten times the amount of petroleum that was used to make the products.   Our educational campaign was considered  successful.  I conducted some 20 television interviews, with another 10 of radio and newsprint interviews.


Karen was enjoying her Needleworks store activities although she was disappointed in the level of business and lack of local traffic.  We learned that the women living around  New Albany, which was quite rural, had interests other than needlework.  Regardless, Karen worked the store hard, gave lessons, promoted the store to the community ladies and attempted to make a go of it.  Fortunately, as Christmas approached her business did pick up a bit, but still traffic was insufficient to reach financial break-even on her out of pocket costs, let alone to earn anything for her more than full-time job.   Kim was in 10th grade and had an interest in needlework so she helped her mother in the store.  That summer we added a new two car garage which was connected to our front door by a covered by a not enclosed walkway and converted the old garage and mud room which was part of the original house into a large family and formal dining room, adding about 1000 square feet of living area on the main level of the house.


Our New Albany Home On The Right With The New Garage In The Center


Christmas 1973 we travelled to Iowa for our Iowa Davis Family Christmas.  We took Astro to all of our Iowa Christmas family gatherings.  He loved the farm with all of the animals. Bob had his snowmobile for us to enjoy family snowmobiling as well as we men enjoying our pheasant hunting.   Nancy, Neal and Colin were in Kwajalein and did not attend.  We had our usual very enjoyable time.


My work with the Coatings Division focused on improving its profitability and increasing its sales volume.  The competition was ferocious as many smaller integrated paint companies sold resins to their competitors to profit  on surplus capacity and many smaller resin companies with less support in research and customer service were able to price their products more competitively.  We had to compete based on new products and technology, with valued customer service and with the highest quality.  All of these were a key focus of the Coatings Division.    One of our large industry customers were automotive paint.  We sold binders to two of the largest automotive paint formulators in the country.


Karen’s brother Ed had been suffering from depression for a number of years, accentuated by his U.S. Army service and wounding in action some twenty years earlier.  On February 3, 1974, he took his own life.   Lee, his wife of  17 years an elementary school teacher in Orange County, CA.  He left two lovely daughters ages 15 and 16.


We planted a huge garden that spring.  We fought the same battles with the racoons, rabbits and birds.  However, the taste and enjoyment of home grown vegetables made it all worth it.   That fall we  filled our freezer with vegetables for the upcoming winter.  That summer we enjoyed another week at Knotty Pine Resort.  Nancy and Neal were unable to attend as they were still working in Kwajalein.  Our  reunions just got better and better   with each passing year.  Unfortunately, one member of our family came down with the flu which managed to afflict nearly every one of us before the week was over.


That fall Cindie entered her senior year in high school.  She had made very good grades throughout her school years, including in high school.  She decided that she wanted to be a veterinarian and would enroll at OSU in the pre-vet curriculum, titled animal science the following fall.  She had become acquainted with our local New Albany veterinarian, a young lady OSU  graduate  by the name of Cindy DeNiro.  Cindie began volunteering at “Dr. Cindy’s” small animal hospital to better understand what is expected of a veterinarian. She had only about a one-mile commute each way.  We purchased a used Chevy Vega for Cindie to drive to and from her volunteering gig.


Keepsake turned two years old that September.  Cindie had been working with him since the day he was born.   When he was about a year old, Cindie began bridling and later saddling him.  She then led him around so he would get somewhat used to both.   A few months later she secured a cloth bag with a small amount of weight to the saddle.  She slowly increased the weight as Keepsake grew and was able to easily carry the weight.    That fall Cindie began riding him.   He was relatively easy to break for riding with all of this prior attention and gradual introduction to carrying weight.  She however was still showing and riding Cracker Jack and not planning to ride Keepsake  in any shows for a couple of years.  Christmas 1974 was again celebrated at our Iowa farm with all of my immediate family except for Nancy, Neal and Colin. 


At the beginning of 1975, Ed Von Doersten, president of the Industrial Solvents and Chemicals Division was promoted to President of Ashland Chemical.  Concurrently, the eight divisions in Ashland Chemical were organized into four groups;  The Chemicals, Coatings and Fabricated Products Group, The Distribution and Petrochemical Group, The Foundry Products Group and The Synthetic Rubber and Carbon Black Group.   I was asked to be the President of the Chemicals, Coatings and Fabricated Products Group.  We promoted Scotty Patrick to the position of President of the Coatings Division.  Scotty had done an outstanding job in coordinating the construction and start-up of the Melamine Chemicals Incorporated melamine crystal plant.  He fully earned his new responsibility.  This reorganization was not disruptive as little change occurred within the operating divisions.  Bob Fulton continued to have responsibility for Ashland Chemical’s administrative functions. 


I was unfamiliar  familiar with the Fabricated Products Division as I knew little about the three small companies within this division.   The three businesses were a plastic drain pipe manufacturer located in Connecticut, a bitumen pipe, reinforced with waste paper fibers also used for drain pipe located nearby the  Catlettsburg, Kentucky  AOI refinery and a fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) manufacturer of pleasure boats located in Florida.  All three operations were run by the management teams who were in place when AOI acquired the businesses.  All three were small operations which had insignificant financial or operational impact on AOI.  The bitumen pipe operation used a small amount of heavy petroleum left after distilling the gasoline and more valuable fractions from the barrel of petroleum.  The other uses of these heavy ends were asphalt manufacturing,  primarily for highway construction, heavy fuel oils (frequently called Bunker C) for fueling power plants and other heavy duty industry boiler operations.  The fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP)  used unsaturated polyester resins however, because of the location of our resin manufacturing plants, the cost of transporting the resins made us noneconomical  to supply the Florida location.  Regardless, AOI acquired these businesses as a way of testing the possibility integrating our businesses “down-stream” to capture more value added from these manufacturing operations.


Charlie Aldag did an admirable job as President of the CPD, as did Scotty Patrick as President of the Coatings Division.  Both of them were expanding their product lines, judiciously expanding their manufacturing capability and trimming those product offerings which were less profitable. 


The country was extricating itself from the Viet Nam war – which ended officially in April, 1975.  It was a long and dismal almost 20 years in our history.  The U.S. suffered 58,000 deaths, 47,000 from combat, and 300,000 wounded one-half of which required hospitalization.  The war divided the country, drove many young men of draft age to depart for Canada which did not have a draft, and triggered a protest at Kent State University in which an activated National Guard opened fire on protesting students resulting in the death of four students and wounding of nine students, in 1970.  The U.S. was recovering from the 1973–75 recession.


Cindie graduated from New Albany High School with honors in May.  Her class had 100 students.  We celebrated her commencement with family and friends and several parties.  Mom and dad drove from Iowa to be with us.  Over the proceeding and succeeding years mom and dad would attend every high school commencement of their thirteen grandchildren, except for Richard  (“Richie”) who graduated in Italy.  (Our parents planned to attend his high school graduation but there was  terror unrest in Italy at that time and they cancelled the trip.) We rented rooms in the local Holiday Inn “Halidome” an enclosed swimming pool with many water features/slides/etc.  The younger nieces and nephews thoroughly enjoyed the water, the slides and comradery with their cousins. 


Cindie applied to OSU and was accepted.  She worked for “Dr. Cindy” that summer and became even more convinced that she wanted to be a veterinarian.  We had a wonderful summer with the girls enjoying their horses, ponies, dogs and cats.  We again had a large garden and resumed battles with the racoons, rabbits and birds, who thought that our garden was their personal feeding station.  Regardless, we had ample for the freezer and we would only  have three of us to feed for  most meals this fall as Cindie would be in a dorm at OSU.


We returned to Knotty Pine Resort for our annual summer vacation/reunion.  Our reunion again was well attended only Nancy, Neal and Colin  who were in Kwajalein and Dick who was deployed at the time, missed several of this reunions.  The water skiing was good, the evening boat rides were great, the fishing never very good and the family reconnecting was always most enjoyable.


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