The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Darry Callahan Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

August 6, 2015


“Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Industry”  August 6, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Callahan describes his family background and upbringing in the Roseburg area, his memories of the "Roseburg Blast," his high school experience, and his decision to attend Oregon State College. In reflecting on his Oregon State years, Callahan notes his living arrangements, social activities, academic progression in Chemical Engineering, and exposure to ROTC. He likewise discusses marrying his wife during his junior year, interacting with influential professors, abiding by campus traditions of the era, and the climate at OSU during the early years of the Vietnam War.

From there, Callahan details his long career with Chevron, beginning with a summer job in which he participated while still an OSU student. He then comments on his movement up the ranks from research engineer to financial analyst, as well as the broadening of his portfolio from domestic concerns to a more international perspective. Next, Callahan recalls his first managerial position as president of Chevron Oil Bahamas, his subsequent return to the U.S., and a shift in his focus to domestic marketing.

Callahan then describes his years as president of Warren Petroleum Company, his move to Chevron Chemical Company, his introduction of a reinforcement-based leadership program, and his involvement in the merger of Chevron Chemical Company with Phillips Chemical Company. He concludes his recollections of Chevron with notes on a few controversies with which the company was associated during his career.

The remainder of the session is devoted primarily to a discussion of Callahan's more recent activities with his alma mater. In this, he recounts his involvement with the OSU Foundation and the OSU College of Engineering, his work in support of the Campaign for OSU, his efforts to promote the commercialization of research at OSU, and his service as vice chairman of the OSU Board of Trustees. The interview concludes with mention of Callahan's family as well as his activities in retirement and his thoughts on the forward progress of OSU as an institution.