Michael F. X. Gigliotti - Pg 9
While getting the project started, the early trucks and vehicles began experiencing blown out tires caused by the cast-out cast iron sprues and runners from the foundry. Michael received a proposal from a local scrap dealer to re-work all of the land, removing all of the cast iron sprues and runners, plus giving Monsanto a substantial payment per ton for valuable cast iron scrap!
Michael hired a couple of young engineers from the Cincinnati University cooperative program, George Drebo and Glen Smith - to be his assistants, and the project progressed speedily and efficiently towards an on-date and below-budget start-up in 1953. In the midst of this project, the plate & frame polystyrene process was converted over to produce Krilium, the new miracle soil conditioner that turned mud into workable soil. Because Krilium was cut 1/100 with lime to be used, in only a few months this little plant had produced a five-year supply of this material against sales forecasts, and was converted back to polystyrene.
Upon start up of the several polymer units and the river port in 1953, under budget and on time, Michael turned down the offer of Plant Engineer in the new Port Plastics plant, and instead, accepted assignment as the project construction manager for a high density polyethylene plant to be built in Swedesboro, New Jersey, based on licenses from BASF (Badische Aniline and Soda Fabriken) from Ludwigshaven, Germany, for their high-pressure process (3,000 atmospheres). BASF fell behind on its scheduled delivery of data and process information, so the Monsanto process team in Germany (Clem Smith, John Chamberlain, Chet Knowles) called for Michael's presence in Germany to put the project back on its time schedule. Michael left Miriam in Swedesboro, New Jersey, purchasing a home, and the children remained with grandparents in Hoboken and Springfield.
Michael discovered that, because none of the Monsanto engineers had doctorates, but the Monsanto interpreter had one, the German hierarchy believed that the interpreter was in charge of the project, which caused great confusion and resulted in a major breakdown in the delivery of drawings and documents. Michael corrected this by sending the interpreter back to the United States and, after some table-pounding, the project went back on schedule. In the midst of his stay in Ludwigshaven, Germany, Michael received a "Hello, Tex" telegram from Miriam, which made him phone his bosses in Springfield, Massachusetts, to discover that the Board of Directors had reversed its decision to build this plant in New Jersey and instead, had agreed to build it in Texas City, Texas, at the urging of the Monsanto Texas City Monomer Division Manager.
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Article SeriesThis article is part 2 of a 2 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
Michael F. X. Gigliotti Biography