Air Products Marks Key 50th Anniversary

Career development has been an integral part of the company's success.

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Founded by the late Leonard P. Pool in 1940, Air Products began with a simple, but then revolutionary, idea: the “on-site” concept of producing and selling industrial gases, primarily oxygen.

Pool initiated another revolutionary idea in 1959 — a program for recruiting and training college graduates so they could "take a more important part in the affairs of the company." The new Career Development Program emphasized the recruitment, retention and development of the highest quality people.

A half century later, Air Products' Career Development Program continues to thrive and boasts upwards of 2,500 graduates. In celebration of this milestone, the company has launched a new Web page — "50 Forward" www.airproducts.com/50forward  — challenging its target audience of college recruits to "celebrate the past" and "make the future yours." The site offers information about the program and vignettes from current and past Career Development Program participants, including Air Products Chairman, President and CEO John McGlade.

"The Air Products Career Development Program is a significant differentiator for us as we look for the best talent in the world," says McGlade. "And for the individuals who join us, the program allows them to understand the company, develop their careers and be significant contributors to our success. It's a win-win for the entire company."

Indeed, the company recently announced the promotion of employees who have participated in the program.

Alexander W. Masetti has been appointed vice president, continuous improvement, responsible for expanding and institutionalizing Air Products’ overall continuous improvement activity, including capabilities such as Six Sigma and lean practices. Masetti joined Air Products in 1981 as an engineer and participated in the company’s Career Development Program.

Michael A. Olivares has been appointed vice president, International. An expansion of his current role as vice president, Latin America/South Africa, he now will have responsibility for the continued growth and profitability of all of Air Products’ major international joint ventures and partnerships. Olivares joined Air Products in 1978 as a participant in the company’s Career Development Program and held positions in engineering and operations.

In the five decades since 1959, Air Products has grown to become a $10-billion company serving customers in technology, energy, health care, and industrial markets worldwide. It offers a portfolio of products, services, and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, process and cryogenic equipment, and performance materials.

When asked what the next 50 years might hold, McGlade's responded: "Hydrogen fueling stations on the moon." Perhaps a little far-fetched, he notes, but Air Products is leading the technology push for hydrogen-fueled vehicles on the road, and there's no reason to believe that hydrogen-fueled commercial space travel can't be far behind.

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