Hall of Distinction Class of 1995-1996

Roy D. Gerard, retired vice president of Shell Oil Company, is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Louisiana State University and received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1953. Following military service, Gerard returned to LSU to obtain his master’s degrees in chemical engineering. Immediately after graduation, in early 1958, he began his career with Shell Chemical Company as a chemist at Shell’s Norco Plant. His assignments included process engineering, plant troubleshooting, and plant operations during and extensive plant start-up activity.

In 1961, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where he worked in a market development environment streaming small scale plants. By mid-1965, Gerard moved to Shell’s southern California chemical plant as the manager of process and mechanical engineering. Two years later, he was relocated to the Shell Chemical head office in New York, where he worked as a liaison between research, engineering, and manufacturing for the Industrial Chemicals Division of Shell Chemical.

He ventured back to northern California as department head of a process development department at Shell’s Emeryville Laboratory in 1969. Then two years later, he traveled to Houston, Texas as a supply and economics manager for the Lubricant’s Organization. While still in Houston, Gerard became a research director with responsibilities for industrial and base chemicals research and development for all of Shell Chemical. During this period, a number of new Shell processes were developed, including Shell’s “shop” process for manufacturing detergent range olefins.

In early 1977, Gerard was appointed general manager of engineering with responsibilities for refining, marketing, transportation, and chemicals. During this period of intense activity, Shell was streaming a new plant approximately every six to eight weeks.

Gerard was appointed the first president of Saudi Petrochemical Company in 1980, with responsibility for the design, construction and operation of a multi-billion dollar petrochemical complex in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The novelty included extensive use of modules designed in the United States, constructed in Japan and Europe, and installed in Saudi Arabia.

In 1982, Gerard returned to Shell Development as the first general manager of Shell’s Westhollow Research Center, which is the center of research and development for all of Shell’s downstream businesses. IN early 1990, he became vice president of health and safety for Shell Oil Corporation. Eh retired in late 1992.

During his career, Gerard has maintained an active interest in Chemical research and development, including activities related to health and toxicology. In addition to serving on the LSU College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, he has served on university visiting committees at LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. He is past chairman of the Council for Chemical Research, past vice-chairman of the Conference Boards Council for Environmental Affairs, and past executive committee member o the American Petroleum Institute’s Health and Environment General Committee.

Mr. Gerard is married to the former Jackie Harper of Belzoni, Mississippi. They are most proud of their four children, Roy Jr., Carl, Nanette Gerard Helmcamp, and Denise, all with university training in areas ranging from medicine, through accounting, finance and education. IN addition, the Gerard’s are blessed with six grandchildren.