Dexter Baker begins the interview by discussing his childhood and early education in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After graduating from Upper Darby High in 1945, Baker was drafted into the US Navy and admitted to the Naval Academy Preparatory program. Before he completed the program, however, World War II ended, and Baker was discharged. He then enrolled at Lehigh University, where he studied mechanical engineering and developed an interest in turbines. After graduating in 1950, Baker took a job with Allis-Chalmers but was soon drafted into the US Army and served in the Korean War. While in the Army, Baker was appointed to the engineering research and development laboratories, where he worked on the development of high-speed, small-size gas turbine engines. After he had completed his two years in the Army, Baker accepted a position with Air Products and Chemicals in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. He worked in sales while attending night school at Lehigh to earn his MBA degree. He was soon sent to England to begin a division of Air Products in Europe. A decade later, Baker returned to the United States and completed his climb up the corporate ladder, becoming president of Air Products in 1978 and Chairman of the Board in 1986.