Petrochemical Heritage Award

Without petrochemistry, we wouldn’t be missing just gasoline for our cars: we’d be missing such things as nylon, linoleum, and Plexiglas. The Petrochemical Heritage Award was established in 1997 to recognize individuals who made outstanding contributions to this vital field.

The Petrochemical Heritage Award recognizes those whose contributions to public understanding are noteworthy, who have displayed significant entrepreneurship in the petrochemical profession or industry, and who have been active in philanthropic and/or communal affairs. It is presented with the Founders Club each year at the International Petrochemical Conference, held by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

2024 Honoree: Karen McKee

smiling women in blue jacket and white shirt
Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Product Solutions.

Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Product Solutions Company and vice president of ExxonMobil Corporation, will receive the 2024 Petrochemical Heritage Award on March 25, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas, at the International Petrochemical Conference.

ExxonMobil Product Solutions was formed in 2021, bringing together the company’s heritage chemicals, lubes, and fuels business to create one of the largest integrated manufacturing companies in the world.

McKee joined ExxonMobil in Great Britain in 1990 and has worked in several locations around the world, including the U.K., Belgium, and the United States. Prior to her current role, she was president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company after leading several business lines with a focus on global production, marketing, and sales.

McKee holds a number of leadership positions for industry associations. She is an officer for the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and is the president of the International Council of Chemical Associations. She was previously board chair for the ACC and an officer for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, working on behalf of the producers and brands to advance policy for circularity, sustainability, and responsible care. She is an active champion of community support and engagement, leading several ExxonMobil giving campaigns that generate millions of dollars for local nonprofit organizations and national STEM education programs.

Previous Winners of the Petrochemical Heritage Award

  • Jim Fitterling (2023)
  • Aloke Lohia (2022)
  • Jim Teague (2021)
  • Albert and James Chao (2019)
  • Gary K. Adams (2018)
  • David Weidman (2017)
  • Stephen Pryor (2016)
  • James Gallogly (2015)
  • Frank Popoff (2014)
  • Jim Ratcliffe (2013)
  • Marvin Schlanger (2012)
  • Raj Gupta (2011)
  • Hiromasa Yonekura (2010)
  • Mohamed Al-Mady (2009)
  • Peter Huntsman and Dave Swalm (2008)
  • Dan Duncan (2007)
  • J. Virgil Waggoner (2006)
  • T. T. Chao (2005)
  • William McMinn Jr. (2004)
  • Harold A. Sorgenti (2003)
  • Herbert E. Doan (2002)
  • Jon M. Huntsman (2001)
  • Ralph Landau (2000)
  • John R. Hall (1999)
  • John T. Files (1998)
  • Gordon Cain (1997)

About the Sponsors

The Founders Club was founded in 1981 by a group of petrochemical-industry executives who participated in the establishment of the Petrochemical Committee of the NPRA (now AFPM) and ultimately generated the International Petrochemicals Conference (IPC) as a separate identity within NPRA. The Founders Club today is a select group of individuals with a minimum of 25 years of distinguished service in the petrochemical industry. The club proudly advances the legacy inherited from these original “Founders” as contributing stewards of the petrochemical industry with a respect for the past (legacy), activities for the present (networking), and support for the future (recognition).

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) is a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, other fuels and home heating oil, as well as the petrochemicals used as building blocks for thousands of vital products in daily life.


Featured image: Union Carbide’s First Chemical Operation, Clendenin, West Virginia, undated painting by Roy H. Brown. Science History Institute

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