March 22, 2006

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Ron Billings will give the lecture, "The World is Flat: A Perspective," April 3 at 7 p.m. in Dana 113 at Bucknell University. The lecture, which is open to the public without charge, is part of the ongoing Derr Lecture Series.

Vice president of LNG with ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company, Billings graduated from Bucknell University in 1969 with a degree in chemical engineering and received an MBA in business administration from Drexel University in 1976.

The presentation will provide a perspective on Thomas Friedman's recent book, The World is Flat, based on Billings' own experiences in international business.

The World is Flat describes a relatively recent phenomenon where new computing and communications technology has allowed knowledge workers in developing economies to compete head-to-head with those in advanced economies like the United States and European Union. In other words, the playing field has been leveled or "flattened."

Billings will discuss the critical developments in technology, business practices, and the global economy that Friedman highlights as the key enablers for a "flat" world, or "flatteners" as he calls them, as well as examples of how these "flatteners" have been applied in the oil and gas industry.

In addition, he will explore the implications of a "flat" world at the macro-level (i.e., global geopolitics, national interests) and at the micro-level (i.e., corporations, individuals), again with perspectives from the oil and gas industry.

Billings, who joined Mobil Oil Corporation in 1969, has served in numerous positions in research and development, engineering, planning, supervisory, and management including assignments outside the United States, as general manager of Mobil Oil Canada and general manager of Mobil Oil Qatar.

In September 1996, he assumed the positions of president South America and the Caribbean and executive vice president of Mobil Oil Corporation; two years later he was named president of Global Gas and Power and appointed to his current position following the ExxonMobil merger in December 1999.

The Ralph B. Derr Memorial Lectureships are given annually in the department of chemical engineering at Bucknell by a person in the profession who is aware of the need for and the benefits to be derived from the close cooperation between industry/government and the university.

Established in 1970, the lectureship honors Ralph Derr, a 1950 graduate of Bucknell and former chief chemical engineer in the refining division of Alcoa in Pittsburgh.


Story posted March 21, 2006


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