NEW ORLEANS--Longtime synthetic rubber industry veteran James McGraw and Guy Wouters, retired from Exxon Chemical Co., were presented with the International Synthetic Rubber Producers highest honors April 12 during the association's Annual General Meeting in New Orleans.
McGraw was selected as recipient of the IISRP's General Award, while Wouters received the Technical Award. The Houston-based IISRP represents producers of synthetic rubber around the world, along with a group of affiliate members who supply the SR firms.
McGraw's 40-plus year career in the rubber industry began in 1975 with American Synthetic Rubber Corp., where he spent his first 23 years in the industry. He then was named deputy director of the IISRP in 1997, and he was elected managing director in October 1999, a post he held until retiring from it last July. He currently is serving a one-year term as an adviser to the IISRP Executive Committee.
During his emotional acceptance speech, McGraw called the IISRP “more than just a trade association; it's an institution. He noted that the first IISRP Annual General Meeting he attended was in New Orleans. "I had no idea 33 years later I'd be back here," he said.
Wouters joined ExxonMobil Chemical in Belgium in 1980. During his 32-year career with ExxonMobil, he was involved in the development of such products as Vistaflex-brand thermoplastic olefins, Excorez hydrocarbon resins and acrylic emulsions, Veistalon EPDM elastomers, Exxelor functionalized polymers and Exact plastomers.
He said during his acceptance address that scientist must be concerned with three things: understanding the necessary end use properties; understanding how it must be processed; and design a polymer to fulfill those two requirements that can be efficiently produced.
Wouters is the inventor or co-inventor of more than 20 patents, and he has authored or co-authored 16 scientific and technical papers.
He retired from ExxonMobil in 2012 and now serves as a consultant in elastomers chemistry and technology.