More on the Life of Robert (Bob) Gloyna

On June 9, 2017 I posted an article “Search for Wendish Patents Continue”.  Part of that post focussed on Robert Gloyna and his brother, Dr. Eanest Gloyna, with more of an emphasis on Dr. Gloyna’s accomplishments.  Since then, I have learned more about Bob Gloyna and would like to share that here.  This was shared with me by Bob Gloyna.

Bob Gloyna always wanted to build things. His early years were spent on the farm and ranch, but when he had a chance to attend college, he gladly took the opportunity. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas in 1951, was married, and was called to active duty in the Army in the same year. The Army provided a good training experience because his unit, the 332nd Engineer Aviation Battalion, was primarily made up of experienced construction personnel and was used in training other units and personnel in airfield and general construction techniques. Bob started out as Platoon Leader in charge of heavy construction equipment, and after promotion to 1st Lt., he was appointed Company Commander of Headquarters Company.

Bob joined Phillips Petroleum Company upon release from active duty, and was employed at McGregor, Texas, in their solid rocket fuel and rocket booster development program. Construction consisted of a pilot plant, a semi-works plant, and finally, a production plant which required extensive remote control systems. Bob transferred to Philips Chemical Company near Houston in 1956. He was engaged in engineering design and maintenance in a complex of chemical units, which included a new polyethylene manufacturing process. During the years with Phillips, Bob attended the University of Houston night school and received a MBA in Management.

Bob’s interest in polyethylene led him to join U. S. Industrial Chemicals (U.S.I.), a division of National Distillers and Chemical, in Deer Park, Texas, in 1962. U.S.I. was in the process of developing a new high pressure manufacturing process for polyethylene. As a result, Bob’s expertise grew with the developing process, and he was soon called on to join design and construction teams to build the new plants, not only for U.S.I., but for licensees all over the world. He made trips to Japan, Germany and Switzerland, as well as U.S companies, to procure and inspect equipment. Bob was part of a start-up team for a plant in Taiwan. Bob moved his family to Holland in 1970, where his team designed a newer version of the plant. Two plants were built in Europe and one in Brazil from this design. Later, Bob and family moved to Brazil, where he was assigned as Engineering Manager in charge of the civil and mechanical portions of the work. His duties also included hiring and training Brazilian personnel for engineering department positions. Several trips were made in the following years to operating plants in Japan, Belgium and Brazil to assist with mechanical maintenance and training.

The final years of employment before retirement in 1961, were in Port Arthur, Texas, where Bob was appointed Engineering Manager of the Quantum (name change from U.S.I) multi-plant complex, composed of four different varieties of polyethylene manufacturing units and other chemical units.

Immediately after retirement, Bob accepted a project management position, in Austin, Texas, to design, build and start up a unique process plant for Huntsman Chemical, to convert hydrocarbon contaminated waste water to pure water and CO2. After this assignment was completed, Bob continued to perform consulting services in civil and mechanical areas in and around Austin. He served on the Board of Directors of an emerging engineering design company for two years and finally retired again in 2002.

Bob married Edna Knippa in 1951 and they have two children. After retiring the second time, Bob researched and wrote a genealogy book on the family of Edna’s great grandfather, who immigrated on the Ben Nevis in 1854. The book is in the Wendish Heritage Museum at Serbin. Bob and Edna are now living in a retirement facility in Austin.


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