Awarded to an alumnus or alumna whose professional accomplishments and achievements are exceptionally noteworthy and distinctive in his/her profession.
Ron Billings, Class of 1969, embraced the concept of "multi-tasking" while a student at Bucknell, and he displayed excellence in all areas. Consider the following: he entered his freshman year as a French major, and he graduated 4 years later Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering; he was Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi (Engineering honorary); he was recognized by Chemical Engineering magazine as "Chemical Engineering Student of the Year;" he was on the varsity track and basketball teams and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Mr. Billings was recruited out of Bucknell by Mobil Oil Corporation, so in the summer of 1969 he went to work as a Process Engineer in Mobil's Paulsboro, New Jersey, Research Laboratory. Even with his achievements at Bucknell, he started somewhere near the bottom of the Mobil professional ladder.
Mr. Billings initially worked on Mobil's process to convert natural gas into gasoline, and a large scale plant utilizing this process was later constructed in New Zealand. During his initial stint in Paulsboro, he advanced into a supervisory engineering position, and in his "spare time" he completed his MBA at Drexel University. He also caught the attention of Mobil's senior management, and in 1978 he was transferred to a developmental assignment at Mobil's Headquarters in New York. He returned to Paulsboro 2 years later, this time as Manager of Process Services, heading up a group of approximately 120 engineers who provided technical support to Mobil refineries worldwide.
Throughout the 1980's Mr. Billings progressed rapidly through a variety of planning and management positions, working in New York and Richmond, VA. He gained experience across the spectrum of Mobil businesses, Chemicals, Mining and Minerals, Marketing and Refining, and Exploration and Producing.
In 1990, Mr. Billings was named President of Mobil Oil Canada, working and living in Calgary, primarily focusing on exploration and production activities. In 1992 he returned to Fairfax, VA as a Vice President of Mobil Chemical Company, responsible for worldwide Petrochemicals.
In the mid-1990's Mr. Billings moved into the area that has become his latter-career focus, Liquified Natural Gas or LNG. LNG represents great opportunity for producers and consumers. Gas is environmentally friendly, in that it is clean-burning, and upon being transported to developed areas of the world it is re-gassified and thus able to be distributed through existing gas networks. Large quantities of gas have been and continue to be found, but they are in remote areas of the world, primarily the Middle East, the Asia/Pacific Region and Africa. In order to safely and efficiently transport gas from remote areas to developed markets, it is necessary to compress and refrigerate gas to the point that it becomes liquid, thus "LNG." The problem of course is that this requires huge capital investment for exploration and producing, cryogenic processing, transportation and receiving of LNG, as well as complex business arrangements and permitting. Mr. Billings has been instrumental in significantly expanding Mobil's and now ExxonMobil's LNG business, which has required investment of many tens of billions of dollars. Mr. Billings initially tackled the problem as an executive assigned to a vastly endowed producing country (Vice President Exploration and Producing, Middle East working in the Persian Gulf country of Qatar) and now as Vice President of ExxonMobil Gas Marketing responsible for ExxonMobil's worldwide LNG business. A current example of extension of this business, and one that may directly benefit people living in the Northeast United States, is recent announcement of a project called "Blue Ocean;" ExxonMobil is developing an LNG receiving facility 20 miles offshore of the coastline of New Jersey, and thus provide large quantities of gas into the northeast region.
During Christmas vacation of his freshman year, Ron married his wife Ruth (Ralph) '70. They now reside in Houston and are celebrating 44 years of marriage, 2 daughters, and 3 grandchildren.
It is with great pleasure that the Bucknell Alumni Association honors Ron P. Billings with its award for Outstanding Achievement in a Profession.