00:00:00TRAYNHAM: This is tape one, side one of an interview with Dr. Mary Good on June
2, 1998 in her office, Venture Capitol Investors in Little Rock, Arkansas. The
interviewer is James G. Traynham. Mary, I know from things that I've read before
that you were born in Grapevine, Texas on June 20, 1931. Can we start off by you
telling me something about your childhood and how you found your way from Texas
GOOD: Sure, it's kind of a long story in a way. But as you know, by 1931 the
Depression had begun, and my father was a schoolteacher by profession, but he
hadn't actually finished his degree. My grandfather was working in a grocery
store in Grapevine, Texas. His family had lived there for a very long time. In
fact, both my mother's family and my father's family immigrated to Texas after
the Civil War from south Alabama. My grandmother's family came to Texas in the
00:01:00land rush and they actually homesteaded land in east Texas, close to College
Station. And my grandfather's family--my father's family--moved to Grapevine and
had lived there for a very long time. They owned some property, and so during
the Depression we were fortunate in many ways. We didn't have any money, but we
had farmland that could grow things. Grapevine was a good "truck farm" part of
the country so we always had food. My father, in particular, was a very good
gardener in the sense that he could grow most anything.
So, during that period of time he continued to go to school. He went to North
Texas State Teachers College, which in those days was in Denton. We lived on a
small farm outside of Grapevine until I was about six, and then we moved to
southwest Texas. I had an aunt, my father's sister, who lived in Sabinal, Texas,
00:02:00which is in Uvalde County and their only claim to fame is that Uvalde is the
home of "Cactus Jack" [John Nance] Garner, vice president in [President Franklin
Delano] Roosevelt's first term. My father taught school there for about five
years in a little rural school called Trio Public School and I started to school
there. I must have been in about the fourth grade when we moved back to Central
Texas, just about the time the war started. My father had a job at the North
American Aviation Plant in Irving, Texas, where the Dallas Cowboys play football
today. He worked there for, gosh I don't know, it was probably a couple of
00:03:00years. Then we moved to Arkansas that fall because he did not want to go back to
southwest Texas because he didn't like the desert. He was offered a
principalship at Kirby, Arkansas, and he liked it a lot. It was nice and green,
and it had wonderful places to run foxhounds. My father raised and bred
registered Walker foxhounds.
So we moved to Kirby, about 1942 or so, and I was just starting in junior high
school. I must have been in the seventh grade or something. We were there until
I was in the ninth grade and then we moved to Willisville, Arkansas, where my
father was superintendent of schools. Willisville is down in south Arkansas--not
very far from El Dorado. I graduated from high school there. So I was in several
schools. I always liked school, frankly, but the biggest thing about my
00:04:00childhood was that we always lived in the country. We grew up playing baseball,
and I mean baseball, not softball, [laughter] and basketball, because in those
days, in the high schools in Arkansas, the only sport for which they had
adequate equipment was basketball. It was a very lively sport, both girls and
boys played, which was not true everywhere in the country. My father, as I said,
raised registered Walker foxhounds, and I always enjoyed the dogs, and I used to
go with him to hunt and also to show his dogs. But we really did have a very,
very good childhood, I must say. My mother was a very unique person. She was one
00:05:00of those people who felt that you could do whatever you wanted to do and she
encouraged all of us to do that, even when we were small. We really did have an
unusual childhood in a sense, but were able to do things, particularly with our
parents. I don't think that happens today.
TRAYNHAM: Where were you when you went through high school?
GOOD: In Willisville.
TRAYNHAM: As I recall, from something that I've read, you didn't have much
science introduction in Willisville?
GOOD: No, my whole graduating class was seventeen students and that was a big
class for them. First of all, I graduated in three years, because there were
four of us children and we were fairly close together. So we needed to spread
out our graduations a bit if we had any chance of getting through college. So I
graduated from high school in three years. I took some correspondence courses
and took some extra courses and things like that. But the only science classes
00:06:00that Willisville High School offered in those days were general science and
biology. I never had any chemistry or physics, and no laboratory science at all
because we had no laboratory in that school in those days. But they did have a
small library and I read every book in it, I think.
TRAYNHAM: It sounds much like the high school I attended. After graduating from
Willisville High School, then you went to college?
GOOD: I did.
TRAYNHAM: How did you choose where you went?
GOOD: Well, for two reasons. I was fairly young at the time, so my mother and
father did not want me to go too far from home. So they moved. My father took a
job as principal at Enola High School, which is not very far from Conway. In
those days, the university--what is now the University of Central Arkansas--was
00:07:00Arkansas State Teacher's College. I started there in 1947 as a freshman. I guess
we chose it primarily because it was what my family knew; it was school
teaching. Secondly, it was not too far away, and thirdly, the fees were not too
TRAYNHAM: All important considerations.
GOOD: Very important considerations, right.
TRAYNHAM: Well, since you did go to teacher's college, was your ambition at that
time to become a teacher yourself?
GOOD: You know, it really wasn't exactly, but my father always thought that you
should at least take something that would allow you to make a living if you had
to. If you didn't have to, that was wonderful. So the first semester I signed up
for a major in home economics and the reason for that was very straightforward.
In those days, vocational teachers (as they were referred to)--who were home
economics and shop teachers--got paid significantly more than the rest of the
00:08:00teachers because they got a supplement from the federal government. So I signed
up for home economics because if you wanted to teach, that was by far one of the
best things to do. But I only stayed in that curriculum for one semester. I
ended up taking freshman chemistry, which you had to take. We had an elderly
freshman chemistry teacher by the name of Mr. Cordrey. He did not have a Ph.D.
He had done all of the research for a Ph.D. in his graduate work at the
University of Chicago. Apparently, he had gotten in some controversy with the
faculty at Chicago over whether or not his thesis had been superseded by
somebody else's work. It was one of those classic discussions. So he never
actually got his Ph.D., but he was probably the best freshman chemistry teacher
00:09:00I've ever seen. People just became enamored of his class--those who could handle
the intellectual material. I liked it so much, particularly the laboratory, that
I switched majors in mid-term.
TRAYNHAM: Tell me something about your college career after that freshman year.
GOOD: Well, I double-majored in chemistry and physics. In those days, the only
criticism I would have of the undergraduate curriculum I had was that the
mathematics department was rather weak. That was a handicap, frankly, for a long
time. Even going into graduate school, because if you didn't have a good
mathematics background, that was a problem. But other than that, the courses
were really pretty adequate and I had a grand time. I just had a great time as
an undergraduate. I started in 1947. That was the year that the huge volume of
veterans came back to the university on the GI Bill. So the enrollment at
00:10:00Teacher's College, in those days, was very high compared to their actual
capacity. But it was a really wonderful time because those people came to work
and to study, and to move on, so the atmosphere was really very, very good. I
participated in a lot of extracurricular activities. One in particular--I could
not have afforded to join a sorority--was involvement in what was known as the
Organized Independents. We decided that the kids on campus who were not part of
the Greek system ought to have some sort of an organization, and somebody had
started the Organized Independents a few years before that. That turned out to
be a really great organization. We did a lot of things on campus--leadership
kinds of things--and it gave you an opportunity to do some things that you
wouldn't have had if you had not belonged to an organization like that. I played
00:11:00softball, of course. In those days, women's sports at colleges were pretty far
down the pecking order, but we had fun. [laughter] Actually, I was a very good
softball player. My father played in the old semi-professional Texas league, so
I had learned to play baseball when I was very, very small and I had a great
time with the athletic program there. I guess the other thing I remember most
about my undergraduate career there was the teachers that I met. It is kind of
interesting the things that you remember, but there was one mathematics
professor, Dorothy Long, and there was also Lucy Savage, who taught physical
education and who taught me swimming and tennis. Physical education was required
and, in fact, during my final semester I had to take that swimming class because
I was one course short in physical education.
00:12:00We just had a wonderful time, although today people would say that we were sort
of deprived. The laboratories were not as well equipped as we would expect
today. Today's faculty members would think that they had been bumped off to New
Guinea or something. [laughter] But the end result was that the classes were
very well taught. You had to design some of your own gear, which frankly was a
plus, not a deterrent. You just learned an awful lot about hands-on work. The
laboratories were fun. I really enjoyed chemistry and I really majored in it
because of the laboratories. I enjoyed the laboratories immensely--all the way
from freshman chemistry through physical chemistry.
TRAYNHAM: You spoke particularly strongly about the introductory chemistry
course that won you over to being a chemistry major. Does any other chemistry
course in your undergraduate curriculum stand out in a similar fashion?
GOOD: Oh, a couple. I particularly liked qualitative analysis. In fact, I think
00:13:00it's been a big mistake that chemistry departments have dropped this course. It
was one of the most interesting and fun courses. I enjoyed that. I also enjoyed
the course we had in organic synthesis. In those days, the safety restrictions
were not quite so strict and you could still do very interesting experiments.
[laughter] I also liked the quantitative analysis class. The fellow who taught
our organic synthesis class was very good. Now that was an excellent class. But
the one class, I guess, that salvaged my graduate career was the course that he
taught in organic analysis. What was that old course called?
GOOD: Qual-organic. In fact, had I not had that course, I never would have
passed the graduate-school qualifiers in organic chemistry. There's no question
00:14:00about that. The only course that saved my career was the course in qual-organic.
TRAYNHAM: When you graduated from Teacher's College, had you already planned to
go to graduate school by that time?
GOOD: Well, I had because this same gentleman who taught freshman chemistry, Mr.
Cordrey, was chairman of the chemistry department. He had talked to me for a
long time about going to graduate school. In fact, I had an interest in going to
what in those days was called The Carnegie Institute, because they had a really
good program there in radiochemistry, which I thought would just be fun to do. I
had also thought about going to the University of Chicago, where Mr. Cordrey
came from. But the University of Arkansas offered me a fellowship, and it turns
out that I went to the University of Arkansas because they offered me a
fellowship. I really could not have gone without it. We just wouldn't have had
00:15:00the money. Because by the time I graduated, my sister had already started to
college, and two years later my second sister started. So I took the fellowship
at the University of Arkansas and went immediately. The semester after I
finished, I went directly to graduate school. I have to say that the four years
that I spent at the University of Arkansas in the graduate program is probably
the most enjoyable four years that I ever spent. I just enjoyed every minute of
it. I liked everything about it.
TRAYNHAM: You already had been inclined toward radiochemistry before you went to
GOOD: Well, because of Marie Curie, who else? I mean, you know, in those days,
there weren't very many role models around and I had read her material and it
00:16:00was just fascinating to me. In fact, I even had thought about the possibility,
at one point, of being able to go to the
Sorbonne, but my French was so bad that it was hopeless. My Texas accent and
French did not agree.
TRAYNHAM: Perhaps Madame Curie's French was a little troublesome when she first
came from Poland.
GOOD: Her French was almost totally nonexistent when she went to France--well,
that's not quite so true. They actually taught French in the Polish schools. Her
French did have a severe accent. It apparently caused her some grief early on.
TRAYNHAM: You were fortunate that the University of Arkansas had a
radiochemistry program when you went there.
TRAYNHAM: With whom did you share your graduate work?
GOOD: With Raymond [Richard] Edwards, who was from Arkansas. In fact, he was
from Fort Smith. His family ran a funeral home in Fort Smith and, as far as I
00:17:00know, still does. But he had gone to MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology]
and gotten his degree with [Charles Dubois] Coryell, who of course was one of
the major figures in radiochemistry in the early days. Both of them were very
much involved in the Manhattan Project. Ray Edwards had actually done some
really interesting work on what was known in those days as "hot atom" chemistry,
if you remember. He came back to the University of Arkansas after the war as a
faculty member, then he was appointed chairman. He, because of his connections
to the Manhattan Project, managed to get a very large research grant from the
Atomic Energy Commission [AEC] and I was an atomic energy research assistant. I
was on a teaching assistantship in the first year. The second year, when I
started working with Edwards, I got a research assistantship from the AEC, which
00:18:00was very interesting in those days. What that means is that I've had a secret
clearance--the old Q-clearance--from the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] since I
was nineteen years old.
TRAYNHAM: Still active?
GOOD: No, actually, when I left the government, I deactivated all of my
clearance. But from graduate school forward, I actually had serious secret
clearances, even when I was in industry, because of the kind of work we did.
TRAYNHAM: What was the nature of your graduate research in radiochemistry?
GOOD: It essentially was a continuation of some of the work that Edwards had
done in the early days of radiochemistry, looking at the effects of
radioisotopes--not the isotopic effects, but the effects of radiation on the
surrounding chemistry. One of the things that we looked at was the
disassociation of iodine molecules in aqueous solution. The reason for that was
00:19:00that radioactive iodine had already been found to be a very good therapeutic
material for thyroid conditions. One of the biggest problems, however, was that
Oak Ridge National Laboratory would ship what they thought was radioactive
iodide, but by the time the hospitals got it, it clearly was a different
chemical species. Why was that the case? It turned out to be a dilution effect,
or a Nernst equation effect. If you calculate (through appropriate measurements)
the chemical concentrations of the radioisotope and apply the Nernst equation,
you can predict that disproportionation of the iodine species should occur. What
people didn't realize was that you needed to add just a little bit of carrier
iodide to the solution as it left the separation plant and it was as stable as
could be. But if you didn't do that, by the time it got to people that needed
00:20:00it, you ended up with an absolutely wrong chemical material. So we did a lot of
work on segregating and identifying the various iodine species.
TRAYNHAM: Was it your research that identified the necessity of having that
GOOD: Essentially that's right, yes. It also was important in the sense that we
looked at the ionization effects in the aqueous solution to determine what other
kinds of chemistry were caused by the radiation. This was really kind of
interesting stuff in those days. It sounds very simple today.
TRAYNHAM: While you were in graduate school, I believe, you were married?
GOOD: That's right. Bill and I got married. In fact, I married my old lab
partner from physical chemistry. [laughter]
TRAYNHAM: You'd both gone to Fayetteville?
00:21:00GOOD: Both of us had gone to Teacher's College, actually. Bill had come there in
1946 or 1947 on the GI Bill. We both graduated in 1950 and we both went to the
University of Arkansas on graduate fellowships--he majored in physics and I
majored in chemistry. We were married in 1952, the second year I was there.
TRAYNHAM: While you were in graduate school, I believe your first child was born?
GOOD: That's correct. He was born in October of 1953, and in those days it
worked out really quite well because you still had large numbers of GIs and
their families. In fact, we lived in a place at the University of Arkansas,
which no longer exists, called "Terry Village." It was a big housing development
00:22:00that was built during the war for military students and their families. Then
after the war, it was used for married student housing and it was full of
people, so you had no problem finding a baby-sitter. Everybody was essentially
in the same boat and so it worked out very nicely.
TRAYNHAM: You then graduated from Fayetteville with your doctorate degree?
GOOD: I actually finished my thesis in the summer of 1954, went to LSU
[Louisiana State University], and then came back to Arkansas in January 1955. My
degree says 1955 since it was January of 1955 when I received it. The reason I
came back to graduate was that, in those days, the University of Arkansas had so
few Ph.D. students that they would not send you your diploma unless you came for
the graduation exercises. [laughter] They would send a piece of paper saying
00:23:00that you had completed all the requirements, but they wanted a few folks to walk
across the stage. So you couldn't get your diploma unless you came to pick it up.
TRAYNHAM: Must be present to win.
GOOD: Must be present to win, right. [laughter]
TRAYNHAM: How did you happen to choose LSU as your first employment?
GOOD: Well, that's really an interesting story. First of all, Bill wanted to
finish his Ph.D. in physics, and at that time the University of Arkansas only
offered a master's degree in physics. During the last year we were in
Fayetteville, he had actually been an instructor in physics, where he taught
sophomore physics. So we were looking for a place where I could work and he
could go to school. I had an offer from Shell Oil in Houston, and he clearly
could have gone either to the University of Houston or to Rice University. We
looked seriously at that. I also had an opportunity to go to Hanford--the
Hanford Works in Washington. The problem was that unless you went to Washington
00:24:00State University, there really weren't many other options. LSU was looking for a
director for the radiochemistry laboratory. Dean [Arthur] Chopin and Ray Edwards
knew each other as friends. Apparently Doc Chopin knew about the radiochemistry
program in Arkansas and called Ray Edwards to see if he had anybody, and he said
yes. So they called me and I went to LSU for an interview. Bill and I decided
that LSU was a really nice arrangement because I could teach and he could go to
school. He liked the physics department, so that's the option we picked.
TRAYNHAM: Now, we're back in the days when the "old boy" network worked.
GOOD: Absolutely. That's right. In fact, without those kinds of contacts in
those days, I don't know how students found places, to be honest. Some of the
00:25:00industry would come and interview and would look for people, but the
universities did not advertise in those days at all. Unless you had contacts, or
your major professor helped make those contacts, I don't know how people made out.
TRAYNHAM: Tell me something about your career, your initial full-time employment
as a chemist?
GOOD: Well, my first full-time employment at LSU was exciting because--you
remember as well as I do--those were the days before Coates laboratories were
air-conditioned. Quantitative analysis was taught on the second floor. It wasn't
so bad during the winter, but I needed the money, so I taught quantitative
analysis in the summertime. [laughter] That really was a trial, I can assure
you, because the temperature in that laboratory, I'm sure, got to be 105 or 110
degrees in the summertime. Both students and faculty were wrung out by the time
00:26:00we got finished. So I remember that quite vividly. I came as an instructor
because in those days, you didn't really start as an assistant professor. The
other thing that I remember is that Doc Chopin was a very interesting man. He
always--you know as well as I do--back in those days, ran the department as an
autocrat. He might tolerate faculty participation a little, but he didn't pay
much attention to it. He always tested people to see whether they could make it
or not. So he assigned me, the very first semester I was there, to a freshman
laboratory lecture that had three hundred freshman students in it, in a huge
auditorium. The first two times I taught that thing, it was just chaotic hell.
People paid no attention, nobody paid any mind to what you said. Nobody cared
00:27:00about that laboratory anyway. All those kids were in there because they were
required to take it. So I commandeered two graduate students--two teaching
assistants--and we put a seating chart together. I said, "You put them all down
in a seat. They're all numbered. When they come in, tell them what their seat is
and you all stand at the ends. Anybody who gets up, says anything, or throws his
book, take his name." After that, everything worked just fine. [laughter] But I
also remember trying to call the role because the French names down there were
very difficult. I had one class that had two students--both whose names were
spelled R-I-C-H-A-R-D. One of them insisted on being called "Rishard," and the
other one was "Richard," and you had to know who was who. They got very insulted
if you got that mixed up. So there were some very interesting teaching
assignments in those days.
00:28:00I was actually able to get some research started very quickly because, once
again, I had the same "old boy" network through the AEC that my major professor
had; obviously, coming up through the AEC ranks. So I got an AEC grant very
early to do some research. The first one was essentially to continue what we had
started at the University of Arkansas. Then I moved into some new areas. I did
some work early on with Seán [Patric] McGlynn. He was interested in doing the
spectroscopy of some molecular complexes with very weak interactive forces.
Knowing a fair amount about iodine chemistry, my students and I made a bunch of
iodine adducts for him, which he then subjected to spectroscopic measurements.
He also used the results for further theoretical calculations. He was also
00:29:00interested in sulfur compounds where you looked at the molecular complexes
between organic sulfur molecules and the halogens. We made a number of
disulfides and sulfur compounds and we were in a laboratory immediately above
Phil [Philip William] West's laboratory. At that time, Phil was working on the
very early stages of gas chromatography.
So we were upstairs and he was downstairs and his students had their detectors
out the window trying to pick up pollutants because he was one of the very early
people looking at environmental chemicals, as you remember. So they had their
detectors out the window seeing what they could do with gas chromatography. We
had an old hood on the second floor that worked--sort of, but more importantly,
that hood vented out the side of the building. [laughter]
00:30:00[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.1]
GOOD: So West's group was just measuring stuff we were pouring out of our hood
from upstairs. [laughter] Well, as you can understand, me being an instructor
and Phil being a professor--I think he might have been a Boyd Professor even
then--we got moved to a different laboratory space. [laughter]
I also managed the old radiochemistry lab in those days and that was kind of
fascinating. We actually did the radiochemistry, not only for the work that I
did, but also managed the space and did some of the radiochemistry for all those
physics people who were doing nuclear energy levels. You remember [Max] Goodrich
00:31:00and that group, who did some of the very early work on nuclear energy levels. I
was actually sort of overseeing their work, from a safety point of view. It was
very difficult because those physicists didn't care about that sort of thing.
They just wanted to make their sources and get their results. They had worked
that way for a number of years--even before I got there. However, that
laboratory was the source of an awful lot of nuclear work that was done in
physics, as well as some of the work that was done in chemistry.
The teaching part of the assignment I always found to be very exciting--I always
enjoyed teaching, and I liked research. I liked working with graduate students,
and in those days I had some really interesting students. LSU did not have a
large number of graduate students in those days, but we had some very
interesting ones. It was the period right after the Cuban problem, and we
00:32:00actually got from Cuba some very good students--people whose families had
immigrated. We also had at that time a number of Palestinian students. How they
got to LSU, I don't know, but we did. Some of them were just excellent. In fact,
I followed the careers of two of the female Cuban students for a very long time.
I don't know where they are today, but every once in a while I run into one or
the other of them. Both of them now work for the industry.
TRAYNHAM: We'll get to your very significant management position later, but I'm
just prompted to ask, do you think that your management of the radioisotope
facility at LSU had prompted your interest in management?
GOOD: No, I don't think so. In fact, it probably should have turned it off, if
00:33:00anything. However, I will say it was a very good learning experience for
management. Here you had a young, twenty-three-year-old instructor, who was
director of the radiochemistry laboratory, telling a full professor, Professor
Goodrich, that he could not do what he was doing. [laughter] This was very
interesting, indeed, as you can appreciate, but we did manage to shape it up
reasonably well and got them to the point where they at least did not poison
themselves, which was helpful. Because in those early days, people really didn't
have much of an appreciation for radioactivity; particularly, the people who
just used it for sources and things like that.
So I think you learn how to handle those kinds of situations and, to be honest,
the management skills are--you know, all this business about teaching management
skills and all that--primarily just people skills. If you can manage the people
00:34:00and get them to do what it is you want them to do, that's management. I learned
a great deal about how to manage that without getting fired or facing other
problems, because I had to write the sheets for the AEC, certifying that we had
handled this material in certain ways that they recognized as being appropriate.
TRAYNHAM: Well, it sounds as though you had a very good start to your academic
career at LSU with a variety of experiences in teaching, research, and management.
TRAYNHAM: What prompted you to cut short your career at that institution?
GOOD: Oh, that's very simple. Bill finished his Ph.D. in low temperature physics
with Joe [M.] Reynolds there and then did a year of postdoc with Joe, which he
enjoyed a lot. But then we needed a position where both of us could teach or
have some other career. So we spent the year that he was a postdoc looking for
00:35:00academic positions. Clearly, it wasn't feasible for him to stay at LSU. That
didn't make a lot of sense. We actually were interviewed by the University of
Arkansas and that was a very interesting encounter because we were both offered
positions, but with the stipulation that only one of us could have a
tenure-track position. That was in the old days of rules on nepotism. So we
didn't take the positions. You never know whether these things are the right
things to do or not. Probably, the rules would have been changed over time, but
they certainly weren't friendly at that time. One of the reasons that we could
turn down the Arkansas offers was because of the other offer we got from LSU. So
we had the LSU opportunity and one at the College of New Bedford in
Massachusetts. They were trying to build the College of New Bedford and offered
us both positions. Each of us had offers at other places, but we couldn't get
00:36:00two together, which by the way, is not an unusual problem today. As you know,
you still have a lot of two-career families where this is the same problem.
LSU was making preparations to open the LSU campus in New Orleans. Homer Hitt
was appointed the first--I guess he was dean the first year. You know, he came
from the rural sociology department at LSU. He and three or four other major
folks from LSU--including George Branum, who had been in the English department
(and I guess had been chairman of English department at LSU), and Lamar Cooper,
who came down as the business manager. They came to New Orleans to open LSU in
New Orleans. Homer offered both Bill and me really good positions because he
needed to get the College off the ground and he needed people, he had to hire a
00:37:00whole faculty. So he offered both of us associate professor positions, and we
took them. Both of us got good tenure-track opportunities. The other reason we
accepted was that the idea of building something from the ground up was
intriguing. Our backgrounds were such that those sorts of things didn't seem
like impediments. You know what I'm saying, if you have to build some of your
own equipment, so what? We were used to doing that.
So, it was an interesting transition. I enjoyed the LSU Baton Rouge campus. I
mean, I would have been perfectly happy to stay, but family circumstances just
made that almost impossible to do. But I got a good start there. I was able to
move my research, of course, almost without any problem, to New Orleans.
00:38:00TRAYNHAM: You had a good career at New Orleans.
GOOD: Yes, I did. The first few years down there were truly exciting in many,
many ways. We opened in 1958 and you remember the fight in Louisiana over the
area where the university was going to be built. Actually, the university
managed to get what is a beautiful piece of property. It belonged to the Levee
Board. It had been the old New Orleans Naval Air Station and after the war it
was decommissioned and given back to the Levee Board. The Levee Board is
actually appointed by the governor, but the air station was within the city of
New Orleans. [DeLesseps Story] "Shep" Morrison, who in those days was the mayor
of New Orleans, decided that he wanted that piece of property put on the public
tax role. He wanted to open it all up for residential housing because it is the
00:39:00most desirable part of New Orleans in which to live--out there on the lake
front. Earl [K.] Long, who was governor at that time, decided that he really
wanted a campus that would have his signature on it. LSU-Baton Rouge had been
the pet project of his brother, Huey [Pierce Long], and so he really wanted to
do this. Furthermore, he disliked "Shep" Morrison more than anybody. So he
decided that he would see that LSU got that piece of land.
Well, Morrison tried to keep it from happening and he talked the Levee Board
into voting against it. What he didn't remember was that he didn't control their
appointments. So Earl simply un-appointed all of them, re-appointed a new board
and guess what? They voted to give the property to LSU. [laughter] That's how
00:40:00LSU got that very choice real estate. Without Earl Long's intervention, it would
not have happened. Morrison would have put them in an old piece of property in a
very small space in downtown New Orleans. The growth of the campus would have
been very different, indeed, had that been the case. It really would have been a
very different story altogether.
So the property was wonderful, but we opened the university in the old Navy
barracks because that's all that was on it. We opened it with a freshman class
in 1958 and it was the only integrated--by court order--campus in the south at
that time, which was an experience to end all experiences in many ways. We
opened with fifteen hundred students, five hundred of them Black.
TRAYNHAM: Nearly all the students were from New Orleans?
GOOD: All the students were from New Orleans, there were almost no students from
anywhere else, certainly in the first few years. They were all New Orleans
00:41:00students, and for all practical purposes, they were all first-generation college
students. They were students whose family had never been to college, who'd never
had the opportunity, kids who didn't have any money. Fees, if you remember, at
LSU in those days were not very high. Kids could just come across town, and so
we opened in that mode. We had nothing. We stocked the laboratories from
scratch. In fact, Homer Hitt hired those of us that he could to begin on June 1.
The reason was so that we could help get the laboratories and the classrooms
ready for people to come into. So we spent the summer buying and stocking labs,
and getting ready for the freshman classes.
The students were interesting, as well. We had some very good students who came
from some of the schools in the city who just didn't have any other opportunity
to go elsewhere. They couldn't afford Tulane [University]'s or Loyola
00:42:00[University]'s fees. Remember, at that time, New Orleans was the largest city in
the United States without public higher education. So it was just natural to put
the university there. We spent the summer, essentially, stocking laboratories
and getting ready to go. The students that came ranged all the way from some of
the brightest students that I've ever had to students who truly were illiterate.
I mean, that's a fact. You remember we had no standards. Anybody who had a high
school diploma could come, and clearly some of the public schools in New Orleans
were just unbelievably bad. So some of these kids never had the opportunity to
have any sort of an education, so the failure rate on that first class was just
terrible. The faculty--and to give him credit, Homer backed it--decided that if
00:43:00the school was going to have any future, they had to apply standards and make
them stick. Take anybody, but don't graduate everybody. Of the first class, my
guess is that out of those fifteen hundred, no more than two hundred and fifty
or three hundred students eventually graduated.
But those who did graduate were really good kids because they got a lot of
personal attention. Any you could salvage, you tried. We also built research
laboratories in those days. We managed to get cast-off equipment and cast-off
furniture from LSU. LSU was extensively remodeling at that time, so we managed
to get laboratory equipment, including hoods. We built a research facility in
one of the old barracks. They just gave us the building. They said, "We're not
going to use this building. If you guys want to do research in this building,
fine. You can do whatever you want to it." Which turns out to be absolutely
wonderful, because if you can do whatever you want to it, then you can set your
stuff up wherever you like. You can design it however you like, and it was fun
00:44:00We had some very good faculty at that point, for reasons that are still unclear
to me. Albert [Irving] Meyers came that first year and, as you know, became a
Boyd Professor in organic chemistry and is now a member of the National Academy
of Sciences [NAS]. He has been at Colorado State University for quite a long
time now. He came from New York, primarily because good teaching jobs were hard
to find at that moment. We just had a very interesting mix of folks. Jack
[Hubert] Stocker came over from Tulane. We also picked up some people who we
should not have. [laughter] There were clearly some of those, as well. Over the
years, we weeded them out. I mean, it was amazing to me that we were able to get
as many of what I consider to be really good people. The art of building
00:45:00something like that is really invigorating--you don't get an opportunity like
that very often--and it was an enormous lot of fun and provided a great deal of
satisfaction. And it is interesting. I still keep in touch with several of the
students that were in that first class, just because we got to know them so well.
TRAYNHAM: Those students must have, in a sense, had an opportunity to experience
what you did as an undergraduate--having to make do with limited equipment and
make some of their own.
GOOD: Exactly. The university began to build and we got building monies and
built new facilities. Today, it's a very attractive campus. I was down there
last year at the ACS [American Chemical Society] meeting. Nobody would ever
remember what it looked like in 1958.
TRAYNHAM: You built a research group there and were very successful with it, I
00:46:00believe, but you didn't stay with the radiochemistry, did you?
GOOD: No. Well, yes and no. We still did some of the radiochemistry work when I
first went down there. After the work I had done with Seán McGlynn, I got very
much interested in physical inorganic chemistry, particularly spectroscopy,
which in those days was a fledgling area, if you remember. In the late 1950s or
early 1960s, people were just beginning to use those types of physical tools to
truly understand molecular systems better. Those were the early days when people
like Al [F. Albert] Cotton were looking at metal/metal bonding and other
inorganic structures. Crystal field theory had just begun to catch on in
inorganic chemistry. Things like molecular orbital chemistry for inorganic
00:47:00people had really not started--it was a later development. But the whole idea of
being able to take spectroscopic equipment, and to begin to understand what the
bonding in molecular systems looked like, and being able to describe that in
quantitative ways, was developed during a ten-year period from the late 1950s
until the end of the 1960s. It was a very, very fertile field for people. It was
particularly advantageous for people who knew how to make compounds. We had
always made our own materials for other kinds of studies, so we knew how to make
compounds. People had also begun to look at the theory of inorganic systems. So
you could actually make new compounds, make measurements on them, and make
comparisons between your measurements and the theory in ways that had not been
possible before the development of spectroscopic equipment after the war. You
00:48:00know, when I was a graduate student in the early 1950s, the only spectroscopic
tool we had was an old Beckman DU, if you remember. We could do solution work,
and an old Perkin-Elmer infrared machine allowed you to do a little bit of solid
states work, but it was pretty primitive. By today's standards, it would be
very, very primitive. But the equipment got better and we were beginning to
learn how to use it and how to integrate experimental work with theoretical calculations.
One new technique was to use radioactive nuclei as a measurement source in an
atomic spectroscopy called Mossbauer spectroscopy. In Mossbauer spectroscopy,
you had a very narrow energy line for your spectroscopy tool that could be used
to look at the very small differences in energy between electrons within atoms.
00:49:00For example, in an iron atom, you could look at the difference in the energy of
an electron in a bonding orbital versus one that was not. In other words, you
could actually see the difference in the energy levels between, say, an iron
atom in an oxide, and an iron atom in a sulfide. So all of a sudden, you
actually had a tool that allowed you to really look at and measure those energy
differences, which the theorists were trying to calculate. Being a radiochemist,
I could do the sources. I understood how to make the sources that would allow
you to do that sort of spectroscopy. So the radiochemistry was a help all
through those years, because we did a lot of tracer work, as well, where you
could use radioactive "tags" to follow reactions and determine reaction pathways.
00:50:00TRAYNHAM: Mossbauer spectroscopy studies won rather extensive acclaim for your
research, I believe?
GOOD: Yes. We got lucky, as sometimes you do, because at that time we had been
very interested in ruthenium chemistry for two reasons. We still had money from
the Atomic Energy Commission in those days--research money--and they were very
interested in the behavior and the chemistry of the fission products that were
still in those pots on those big tanks at Oak Ridge. You know all of the hoopla
that's being discussed about them now. Well, if they had followed through on
what some of the chemists that were working on those problems at that time were
talking about, they would have been in better shape, but they didn't do that.
Anyway, they were interested in those fission products. Ruthenium is one of the
fission products that was always difficult. It exists in so many oxidation
states that when you get ready to try and extract it out of a mass of material,
it's hard to do because you get one oxidation state, but you don't get the
00:51:00others, and it disproportionates quickly. So we were very much interested in
that. The nuclear levels for ruthenium suggested that you ought to be able to
carry out ruthenium Mossbauer experiments, which meant that, all of a sudden,
you could actually talk about the differences in those energy levels within the
So we set up to do that. I had a graduate student who decided we'd tackle that
for his thesis. We had done a number of really good theses using iron and tin
Mossbauer spectroscopy, but ruthenium spectroscopy was really difficult because
it had to be done at very, very low temperatures. The experiments had to be run
at liquid helium temperatures. In those days, liquid helium containment was done
in glass dewars with ground glass fittings. You didn't have all these metal
dewars with nice windows and all the stuff that's been invented and constructed
00:52:00since that time. We were still running these experiments in glass dewars. And,
of course, you also had to have very thin windows because you wanted to analyze
the radiation energy coming out. We decided we'd give this thing a try. Well,
most people thought this was going to be hopeless, because nobody had ever seen
the Mossbauer effect in ruthenium. It turned out that Rudolph Mossbauer (the
inventor of the original spectroscopy) decided that he would look at ruthenium
at about the same time. So we set the experiment up. We knew where the energy
levels were. We knew where we were supposed to be looking, but the gear was--by
today's standards--really quite primitive, frankly.
I had two graduate students working on it and we tuned the equipment. We worked
on it, got it all set up, got the source out of Oak Ridge, and finally got the
experiment set up and running. We didn't find a thing! We ran the spectrum and
it was flat as a pancake, no resonance peaks anywhere. So we kept at it for two
or three days and finally one of these graduate students, who was a bit older,
00:53:00came in on Saturday morning and said, "Okay, we're going to run this thing one
more time. If we don't get a signal, I'm going to go play golf." So we tuned it
up and found nothing. I said, "Look guys, let's re-tune it and let's do it one
more time." "All right, we'll humor you." Sure enough, all of a sudden this
beautiful little resonance peak comes out of the background and we had it made.
From that point on, you knew where you were and we did some really nice work on
TRAYNHAM: What do you think was the barrier to getting the resonance peak in the
GOOD: My guess is that it was as much luck as anything, because the detector
systems that we had, and particularly the amplifiers, to do this detection were
all analog in those days. You know what I'm saying. You had to get exactly in
00:54:00the right position and remember, you're looking for differences in energy of
about 10-9 ev, so you don't have much leeway. I think as much as anything, it
was in the tuning system. I mean, today you'd have no problem at all. The way we
tuned the equipment was to use a little Doppler motor that does the same thing
that a speaker does when you put sound in it and you put a signal on it and it
goes back and forth. You tune the signal through the Doppler effect. The motors
(or drivers) were fairly primitive. But once you see the signal, you know where
you are, you know what you've done to get there, and then you're okay.
TRAYNHAM: After that first success, you didn't have problems getting the
resonance after that?
00:55:00GOOD: No, after that, we didn't have problems. The only trouble we had later on
with the ruthenium compounds was that many of them had such diffuse energy
levels and molecular structures that they spread the signal. In other words,
you'd get mixed oxidation states and therefore you'd get two mixed energy levels
and sometimes, they'd be rather close together. So the quality of your spectrum
was not as good as in some other cases. But on some of the compounds, we got
some very nice results and we were able to resolve some really interesting
questions in the literature.
TRAYNHAM: That research became internationally well-known and lead to your
designation as Boyd Professor at the university?
GOOD: That's probably right. I suspect the Mossbauer spectroscopy results were
what really gave us our best scientific recognition. People noticed that work
00:56:00outside of LSU. The other work that we did about the same time was also, I
think, part of it. We did some of what I consider, still today, to be some of
the very best early work on metal complexes in non-aqueous systems. From my old
days of radiochemistry and using solvent extraction techniques, we were able to
use large quaternary salts that were organically soluble. We'd use those
positive quaternaries to extract into an organic solvent inorganic ions like
FeCl4=, for example. These complexes were now in an organic solution and we
could do far infrared measurements on them and get their inherent structure in
00:57:00solution where you could really talk about what the bonding really was. If you
do the experiments in solids, you get all the crystal effects, as well, and you
don't actually get the inherent rotational energies and the details of the
Some of our work was really quite well-received and pioneering, as well. In
fact, we had two major successes, in my opinion--at least the students thought
so. First, we got into print with our ruthenium Mossbauer experiment before
Professor Mossbauer did his ruthenium experiments. We thought that was kind of
nice. The other one was that we managed to extract a rhodium complex, which was
a bimetallic rhodium/rhodium chloride complex, and we actually got the infrared
structure for that and were able to show pretty unequivocally that it was
00:58:00bimetallic. The characterization of these rhodium/rhodium bonds scooped Al
Cotton's group, for which I don't think he's ever forgiven us. [laughter] He had
worked on this complex for a long time. But since that time, Al and I have been
friends because he always remembered that paper.
TRAYNHAM: Well, he was able to go on and do some other things.
GOOD: Oh, yes, indeed so. In fact, he really is a very prolific inorganic chemist.
TRAYNHAM: Just for the record here, I'll mention that Boyd Professor is the
highest, most distinguished rank in the LSU system. Were you the first person at
the New Orleans branch of the university to receive that honor?
GOOD: No, Al Meyers was the first Boyd Professor. Right. I was the second one.
TRAYNHAM: The second one, all right. Well, the achievement of that highest, most
00:59:00distinguished rank was a real source of pleasure for you.
GOOD: Absolutely. I mean, there's no question about that. In fact, when I found
out about it, it was 1974 and we were on vacation in Scotland, when somebody
sent me a telex, actually, saying that they had approved it. To be honest, I
really did not know that the nomination had gone up at that time and it really
was--just one of those things that's extraordinary. The reason that those kinds
of honors are so important and people take them seriously is that they really
are recognition by your peers and that's kind of different. These are people you
work with all the time and people you know and people who are quite free to
criticize, also. [laughter] So it was really a very nice honor. I guess, in
terms of firsts, I was the first woman at LSU to ever receive one. I think there
01:00:00are now several, but in those days there were not.
TRAYNHAM: Was there anything about your career at that time that was less than happy?
GOOD: Not at that time. Actually, things were really going very well. We had
built a pretty decent department in New Orleans. The group there was doing some
very good work.
[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.2]
01:01:00GOOD: You know, there was always friction back and forth between LSUNO
[Louisiana State University-New Orleans] and Baton Rouge. We had fought very
hard to get the Ph.D. program in New Orleans, which the Baton Rouge campus had
opposed. One would expect that, but we also had some good collaborations at the
same time that all this discussion was going on, with people on the Baton Rouge
campus. There was a fair amount of back and forth in those days. We also had
very good working relationships with the chemists at Tulane and some at Loyola.
In fact, in the 1970s there was a really--what I would consider to be--very
active, very vital academic environment in New Orleans between LSUNO, Tulane,
and Loyola. There was a lot of interaction between the physics departments and a
lot of interaction between the chemistry departments.
01:02:00That, I understand, has pretty much disappeared today. Loyola's programs have
sort of dissipated. Tulane went through some very bad times. I understand
they're coming back now fairly well, but in those days it really was a very
vital kind of a place. There were very good symposiums going on all the time. I,
at that time, was a member of the Review Panel for the General Medical Sciences
of NIH [National Institutes of Health] and we were able to bring together a
major conference there, sponsored by that review panel, on bio-inorganic
chemistry, which was probably one of the best that's been held almost anywhere.
So there was just really a lot of good stuff that went on.
Things were really going very well. Like I say, the friction back and forth with
01:03:00respect to the Baton Rouge campus was ongoing. About that time, the chancellor
at the New Orleans campus decided that one of the ways to get around these
issues was to change the name of the New Orleans campus; he was the one who
wanted to change it to the University of New Orleans [UNO]. We kept trying to
insist that regardless of the problems, UCLA [University of California-Los
Angeles] would not have been what it is today without having the University of
California as part of its name. The faculty really wanted to keep the LSU
designation, but the administration felt that they'd get better support out of
the city, and they'd get better support out of the New Orleans legislators, and
so forth--which is probably true. Except that the problem is that it's a
state-supported school. It's not supported by the City of New Orleans.
01:04:00There was a big, big discussion about all these issues. At that time, I was
chairman of the Faculty Senate and we had a major discussion about it. We had a
vote, and the faculty voted not to change the name, but the chancellor pursued
it anyway and actually got the LSU board to change it. I still think it's
probably a mistake, but I think it's a mistake for the state, not necessarily
for the school per se. Those were some of the political issues. You know
universities are hotbeds of political issues anyway.
Then, in the late 1970s, we had a group of faculty, a couple of them in
chemistry, who decided that they were not getting their share of what was going
01:05:00on at the university. They decided that what they wanted to do was to topple
some of the deans. It was not just in the sciences, and although it was a
minority group, you know minority groups in faculties can create major problems.
They decided that the deans had been there too long and they all needed to be
booted out. So what the chancellor did was to put in a review system that said
that all the deans would get reviewed every five years. What this group of
dissident faculty tried to do was to be sure that the reviews all came out badly
[laughter] so that you'd have a shot at taking these people out. Well, my
husband was the dean of the College of Sciences at LSU-New Orleans in those
01:06:00days. They attacked him, the dean of the College of Business, and I guess the
dean of the College of Education was the other one that was really in their
headlights. But they didn't make as much headway as they'd have liked. So they
decided to attack my husband by saying that my Boyd Professorship and all the
other things that I had received as a faculty member were only because I was the
wife of the dean. That was very unpleasant and, indeed, they actually got the
Louisiana Ethics Commission involved. I don't know whether you remember that or
not, but they got the Louisiana Ethics Commission involved, and that was a very
unpleasant time, no question about it.
01:07:00It was always interesting to me, because it's kind of like some of the
accusations and the scandals that are going on today. Once accused of those
sorts of things, there is no way to put them to bed. There simply is not. I
mean, there is no way because you're put in a position of trying to prove what
you did not do. There's no way to do that, ultimately, although the university
held a hearing and no misconduct was found. Then the same group sued the
administration and that finally got settled in court. It was settled in favor of
the university, pointing out that there had been no skullduggery going on, but
the problem is it didn't make much difference. All the damage has been done
01:08:00anyway. So that was unpleasant, to say the least. When I was offered a position
by the dean of [the School of] Engineering to come back to LSU as Boyd Professor
of Material Science--he was trying to get a material science program started at
LSU--I did. I decided that it would be better to move back to the other campus
and just get out of the situation. There were two problems with that. One was
that to try to develop the materials science program required real cooperation
between engineering, chemistry, and physics. With all of our skills and effort,
we couldn't get that cooperation going. It never got high enough on anybody's
priority list to make it actually work, and I think that was a big mistake
01:09:00because I think it was an area in which LSU had some real horsepower if it could
have been organized. There was a really high-quality group in solid state
physics; you had some very good, well-known, world-class solid state
spectroscopists in chemistry; and talent in the engineering school. Actually,
the engineering college didn't really back it, either, because it meant that you
had to have cooperation between mechanical engineering and electrical
engineering. [laughter] They didn't perform very well either. There was just no
way to get it done. What the university wanted to do was compete for a materials
research center. Actually, if we could have gotten a proposal put together, in
which we could have gotten those three groups of people to participate, I think
we would have gotten it. It was in an era in which they were trying to do a
better geographic distribution of some of those kinds of facilities. I think LSU
01:10:00would have competed very, very well. But we just couldn't get it coordinated,
and whether we would have been able to, with another couple of years' effort, I
TRAYNHAM: Was your role mostly research?
TRAYNHAM: Its direction or management of the program?
GOOD: Well, it was to try to manage the process. It was to try to develop the
program and do my own research. I also actually taught classes in mechanical
engineering. I taught their materials science classes, which are nothing more
than solid state chemistry, frankly. [laughter] I taught some classes for
chemistry, as well, some advanced spectroscopy graduate courses that were taken
by the graduate students in chemistry.
TRAYNHAM: Did you have any feeling of discomfort of being identified with engineering?
01:11:00GOOD: No, not at all. In fact, the difference between chemistry and engineering
is not high, anyway. If you read the technical press--it's really funny to
me--we now have this enormous argument going on about what basic research is,
what applied research is, and where engineering
fits. You have people who define basic research as that research which is done
with no thought about what its value is going to be. Well, I think that's
hilarious because I don't believe I have ever read a chemistry proposal that
does not at least in the first three paragraphs set out why, if their work is
successful, it's either going to let you do something you haven't been able to
do before, or it's going to give you insight into some practical problem that
everybody is interested in--you know what I'm saying. When you think about it,
yes, sure, there are theoretical people in chemistry, but when you compare
01:12:00polymer chemists and solid-state chemists, there's not that much difference
between chemistry and engineering. I like engineering anyway. I like the
applications and the fact that you can take something that you've done and you
can actually see that develop into something that the engineers can take and
build something from. I think that's kind of a fun thing to do.
TRAYNHAM: Before you took that position, trying to create the material science
program at the university, had you been involved in engineering applications in
GOOD: We had done some. For example, we had some major research money from the
Navy. We had been looking at their antifouling coatings and trying to figure out
ways to improve those both from the point of view of giving them better
01:13:00compounds, but also figuring out better ways to make them adhere, figuring out
ways to get them to release slowly. We did some of the early work on the
organo-tin compounds, which, as you know, are still being used because they're
the best material around, but people don't like them very much because they're
an environmental problem, as well. But yes, we had done some work. We had gotten
into doing some surface spectroscopy, where we could actually look at the
coatings and make predictions about how to make them better. Although it wasn't
an engineering project per se, it was awfully close.
TRAYNHAM: Well, after you had been at LSU in the appointment in engineering with
material science for--two or three years?
GOOD: Yes, two years, right.
TRAYNHAM: Two years. You left academia. Was that solely because of the
attractiveness of the industrial offer or was it frustration trying to bring
01:14:00these disparate groups together or both?
GOOD: It would be hard to say that the frustration of trying to make that work
at LSU at that particular time didn't have something to do with it. However, the
most important reason for doing it was the challenge of doing something so very
different--I just wasn't able to turn that down. I had no idea whether I could
be successful or not. I'd certainly never managed anything of that magnitude.
TRAYNHAM: Do you have any idea of how UOP [United Oil Products] happened to
identify you as the one who would do that job?
GOOD: Oh, yes, I do. I had been very active in the American Chemical Society. In
fact, I had been chairman of the board of the American Chemical Society. I had
been elected to the board in 1972. In fact, I was the first woman ever elected
to the ACS board, which is kind of interesting. I was chairman of the board in
01:15:001978 and again in 1980, and at the time I was chairman of the board in 1978,
Herman [Samuel] Bloch, who was a director of research at UOP, had been president
of the ACS. No, I guess that's not right, he was on the board. The year he was
chairman of the board, I guess I was chairman of the Publications Committee.
Anyway, I got to know Herman very well and they began to look for a new vice
president for research at UOP in the late 1970s. UOP is a very interesting
company. It's a company that depends on fairly fundamental work because they
depend on licensing their technology, which means that you have to have the best
01:16:00technology and you have to have it first. There's no place for second-place
players and they license process technology all around the world.
They had had a succession of people as research directors who had been chemists,
or at least very chemically oriented. In the 1970s, they had hired from GE
[General Electric Company] a person who was known for his management skills
rather than his technical skills, because they thought they needed to manage the
laboratory better. Well, it turned out to be not a very good choice. So the
president of UOP decided that to cure that, he had to have a chemist. He did not
want an engineer, but he wanted somebody who actually had some practical
experience and who was willing to work with engineers on a day-to-day basis.
Herman, actually, was the one who sent my name forward.
01:17:00The first that I knew about it was from Val [Vladimir] Haensel, who, of course,
is probably the most famous person ever to come out of UOP because he's the guy
who invented the platforming process. In fact, he designed the very first
commercial use of platinum catalysts in refining. In the late 1970s, he was the
senior vice president for technology for UOP. They had a number of other
companies, other activities, but the old UOP, the refining and the petrochemical
part, had a vice president for research of what they called the Process
Division. He called me up one day and he said, "Would you be interested in
talking about an industrial job?" I said, "Val, I have no idea. I never thought
about it. I'm perfectly happy with what I'm doing. I've got good research money.
I've got good students." He said, "Well, I want to come down and talk with you."
Well, at that time, he was doing some work with the Exxon Refinery in Baton
01:18:00Rouge. He said, "I've got to come to Baton Rouge next week. I've got an
appointment out at the refinery. I would like to have some time with you." I
I picked him up, and we spent about three hours discussing the possibility of
joining UOP. He said, "I really would like for you to at least come and
interview." So I said, "Well, I'll talk to Bill." We said, "Okay, what the
heck." I went up to interview and it was just kind of exciting. The UOP
laboratories in those days had about five hundred people and the development
laboratories probably had about another five hundred people, but the VP and
director of research actually had the five hundred research people. Your job was
to manage them, be sure they were doing cutting edge stuff at the same time that
they passed that off, and interacted with the engineering development group
quick enough that you could get it developed and ready to commercialize in a
time frame that would make money. [laughter] That's what it's all about. It was
01:19:00just exciting. It still absolutely amazes me. I went once to interview and to
give a seminar--UOP actually did most of the early work on the automotive
catalysts, and they had tried ruthenium in those catalysts. Ruthenium is a very
good material in an automotive catalyst. The only problem is that it oxidizes
very quickly and so it's not usable. So I had done some fundamental work using
ruthenium Mossbauer experiments to prove that as you cycle the catalysts, every
time you cycle you got more oxide than you did the time before. Ultimately, over
about a hundred cycles, you just couldn't recover the metallic activity. I
decided that these guys were all experts in catalysis, and it would be a mistake
01:20:00to do that catalysis talk. Instead of doing that one, I did the one on the
surface spectroscopy of the tin compounds because they had not at that time
begun to use things like ESCA [Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis] and
surface spectroscopy to look at their catalytic materials. It seemed to me this
would be really a nice thing to do. So I gave the seminar and it seemed to work
out very well. I had a lot of conversations with the various people. They then
invited me back. I came a second time about three weeks later and after I had
gone over to visit with the research folks, I came back to the president's
office. He just sat down and wrote me out an offer. I said, "Well, give me a
couple of weeks and I'll decide." I went back and talked with Bill. Bill, my
husband, had left the deanship two years earlier and had gone back to physics.
01:21:00He had always wanted to paint. So he had spent two years working with an
accomplished artist [Louise Beeson] in New Orleans, who is probably one of the
best known restorers of oil paintings in the country. He really enjoyed the
experience. He said, "Look, if you want to take it, do it and we'll move to
Chicago." They worked out a way to get him a teaching position up there and he
said, "No, I don't want to do that. I want to paint for a couple of years and if
it turns out to be good stuff, that's what I want to do."
So I took the position. I took it primarily because it was just a challenge you
couldn't turn down. I had no idea about the details. I didn't know enough to
know I couldn't do it. [laughter] To this day, I still don't have any idea why
the president hired me, because UOP's Process Division, in those days, was
managed by hard-nosed chemical engineers, all of whom had had field work. To say
01:22:00the least, these hard-hat guys had never seen a woman in a position like this,
and a chemist to boot. You can't imagine. I mean, this was a shock, I'm sure. I
mean, give me a break--a university chemist, for God's sake? But we got along
fine, actually, after I got up there. Like I said, I didn't know enough to know
I couldn't do it.
TRAYNHAM: Well, apparently the president was unusually astute because after you
had been there, what, two years, you were selected as industrial scientist of
GOOD: That's true, which is still a mystery to me.
TRAYNHAM: Do you have a clear idea of what activity you did that brought about
that particular award and recognition?
GOOD: You know, this whole re-engineering that has been going on in industrial
01:23:00chemistry laboratories, and in the industry in general in the last few years--at
UOP we had begun to do that much, much earlier. The reason was that UOP makes
its money by designing a process that it can license and then designing the best
catalyst in that process. What they do is they get you coming and going. You
license their process and then you buy their catalyst. You can ask a premium
price for that catalyst if it makes that process run 2 percent better. Two
percent better in a refinery where you are refining millions of barrels of oil
is a huge profit line. So the whole deal at UOP was to do fundamental work in
01:24:00the catalysis area, improve the process and get that converted to something the
process guys could actually sell, manufacture, and install, as quickly as
possible. We had iteration going on between some very fundamental chemists and
some applications engineers all the time. We had all kinds of friction
associated with that, okay?
But I did two things when I first came. One was that I was appalled that the
laboratory had no computing equipment, or very little. They were still--in
1980--using punch cards that went to the mainframe IBM [International Business
Machines Corporation] machine across the street in the administration building
to do scientific problems. So the first thing we did was to begin to buy PCs
[personal computers] and to network DEC computers, and to provide computer
01:25:00literacy for the lab as a whole. This approach immediately gave our scientists
enormous improvements in productivity. The second was to bring in more
analytical technology so that you could analyze what you had and not have to do
so much empirical work. Because if I can do the analysis properly and not have
to do six pilot plant runs to find that out, the savings are enormous.
What we did was to think about how you could, in research, do your work in such
a way that you cut down both on time and pilot plant facilities. I think that
was probably the basis of the R&D Magazine award. We had a lot of fun doing
those new things and today UOP is probably as good as anybody at creating
efficiencies and taking time out of processes. A lot of the things that we
01:26:00started then, they've continued, and in fact moved beyond where we were. It was
an exciting place. In fact, of all the jobs that I have ever had, I enjoyed
being VP and director of research at UOP better than any of the rest.
TRAYNHAM: Company mergers changed the character of your appointment and your locale.
GOOD: Lord, yes.
TRAYNHAM: Tell me a little bit about that.
GOOD: You know, the 1980s were--in fact, it looks like the 1990s are going to
now be the same, or at least the back end of the 1990s are going to be the
same--really a time of all kinds of reorganization, acquisitions, and spin-offs.
When I went to UOP, UOP was a stand-alone company. It was one of the Signal
companies, true enough, but Signal Companies managed the four companies they had
01:27:00as a portfolio, and each company would behave independently. Signal owned UOP;
Ampex [Corporation], who made magnetic audio/video tapes; and they owned Mack
Trucks [Inc.]. They also owned the Garrett Aerospace Company, which made small
jet engines, and they owned 49 percent of the Los Angeles Angels [now the
Anaheim Angels]. [Orvon] Gene Autry owned the 51 percent. In fact, UOP had a
board of its own, which managed it separately.
In the early 1980s, business theory taught that you couldn't get any synergism
01:28:00between business units without a much more hands-on operating, headquarters kind
of group that managed centrally. The old Signal Company headquarters in La
Jolla, California, had, when I first went there, seventy-five people. It was
about a four billion-dollar company in those days because each of these single
companies was about a billion dollars apiece. In 1992 and 1993, they merged with
a company called Wheelabrator-Frye, whose CEO was Mike [Michael] Dingman and
their principle financial officer was Paul Montrone. They were both experts at
coming into ailing companies, shaping them up, sort of ruthlessly doing that,
01:29:00and then getting them ready to compete in moving towards a global economy.
So they merged with the Signal Companies. The Signal Company's executives'
motivation for that was to get the kind of management skills that were required
to manage the company as a whole rather than just have it managed at each
business level. The transition was interesting, to say the least, because they
did not know anything about UOP at all. They were people who had managed
manufacturing companies, primarily. For example, in their portfolio, they had
Fry Copy, which was an old company in Des Moines, Iowa, that started off in life
making carbon paper from carbon black. At the time of the merger, they still
made carbon paper, but they also made airline tickets, typewriter ribbons, and
01:30:00computer ribbons. The reason it was called Wheelabrator was that there was a
company down in South Bend, Indiana, called Wheelabrator that made a big
cleaning device they called a Wheelabrator. It had a big rotational brush on the
bottom and you used it to clean floors.
So they manufactured that. Here you had a group of people who were used to
taking over companies that were old-line manufacturers. Taking out staff.
Shaping them up. Redoing the management. Parts of UOP were like that, too,
because UOP had made a lot of money in the past and they acquired some companies
they had no business having. I mean, UOP had a company that, believe it or not,
01:31:00made seats for farm tractors. We had one that made things for airplanes--the
carts that go up and down the aisles and other similar things. But the part of
the company that actually made money was the UOP Process Division, which was the
one that sponsored the really fundamental research, had very high-quality
development, and licensed their technology. The only manufacturing that we did
was to make catalysts, and the cost of the manufacturing was not truly an issue.
We never priced them by cost, anyway. We priced them by what the market would
bear, which had nothing to do with their cost, actually, because their market
value was the intellectual property they represented, not the cost of the
materials that went into them. So you have these folks who come and look at UOP
and they try to do what they had done in other types of companies.
01:32:00Well, this was a disaster. I mean, you just can't imagine. Fortunately, Paul
Montrone, in particular, recognized that this was a different kind of an
operation. Mike Dingman was a guy who was really interesting. He actually liked
the laboratory and had a real interest in it. So the UOP Process Division was
able to continue its culture and approach to research and the market.
01:33:00[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.3]
GOOD: The Signal Companies didn't have much in the way of a corporate
laboratory. So we designed a plan where we could provide research services for
the rest of the company. The Garrett Aerospace division had superb engineers in
the Signal part of the company, but the Wheelabrator companies were not research
oriented. So we designed a program and went to Dingman and said, "Look, this
laboratory can do not only work for the UOP Process Division, but we can do
things for your other divisions that will make you more competitive in those
businesses, as well, without you having to build laboratory facilities in each
01:35:00and every one of those other divisions." Well, we sold that and they changed the
name to the Signal Research Center. At that point, we were able to branch out.
To be honest, that branching out was helpful, not only to those other companies,
but frankly to UOP as well, because it opened up for them some new problems in
material science. New ideas came that probably they would not have looked at had
we not been involved in the other company activities.
So the merger worked out and we were back doing reasonably well in 1985, when
everything changed because we were essentially bought out by the Allied
Corporation. Ed [Edward] Hennessey, who was the CEO at the Allied Corporation,
was very much interested in the Garrett part of the company. He was the person
who had provided the "white knight" in the Martin Marietta [Corporation]/Bendix
01:36:00[Corporation] fight and had bought out Bendix. Allied owned the Bendix
automotive sector and the Bendix aerospace sector. Garrett had both an engine
division and an equipment division that made air-conditioning units, avionics,
and other components for airplanes. The combination of Bendix Aerospace plus
Garrett Aerospace really made a very nice match and made a very good aerospace
company. So they merged--that was 1985 when the merger happened. I will always
remember that because a few of us were in China when that merger happened. We
were in the process of talking to the Chinese about increasing our presence in
01:37:00their petrochemical and refining development programs and in selling them
aerospace components when the announcement was made and all of us had to come
home very quickly.
Then after the merger, it turned out that we had some people from the chemical
sectors in the old Allied Chemical Company who really understood the value of
the UOP laboratory and the pilot plants. So the Engineered Materials Sector,
which was the old chemical sector of Allied, was grouped with UOP. We became
part of the Engineered Materials Sector and so the laboratory at UOP became the
laboratory for that sector of AlliedSignal. They already had a small corporate
01:38:00laboratory in Morristown, New Jersey, at the Allied Corporation's headquarters,
which became the headquarters for AlliedSignal. So the laboratory then began to
serve not only UOP, but several of those chemical companies, as well--the fibers
division, the plastic division, and others. That worked very well. We had some
things going that, really, I thought, worked out very well. It was beneficial,
again, to both sides because UOP was able to see opportunities that they'd not
seen before, and clearly we were a help, particularly in the pilot plant area,
for the chemical businesses.
Then in 1988, Alan Belzer, who had been the president of the Engineered
Materials Sector at AlliedSignal, and to whom I reported, became the president
01:39:00of AlliedSignal, Inc. At that time, two things happened. One was that they made
the decision to create a joint venture between UOP and the Molecular Sieve
Division of Union Carbide [Corporation]. We had tried back in the early 1980s to
get the Molecular Sieve Division from Carbide because one of the things that UOP
had not done--they had missed the window on zeolite development for catalysts.
They still used them, but they missed the window to really be a big player in
that. They tried to buy the Molecular Sieve Division in the early 1980s. Carbide
wouldn't sell. We tried again after the AlliedSignal merger, and they still
wouldn't sell. But in 1988, when Carbide had some big problems, they came back
and said, "Look, we won't sell, but we would consider a joint venture." So they
01:40:00put UOP and the Molecular Sieve Division together in a joint venture which is
now UOP. The UOP of today is the joint venture between Carbide and AlliedSignal.
It's a 50/50 joint venture--probably one of the most successful of those that I
know. Several joint ventures have been done around the industry. Some have
worked, most have not. This one worked very well because it was really
appropriate. I mean, they do have major synergisms because UOP has all the
knowledge about how to apply their zeolites and the Molecular Sieve Division of
Carbide was probably a very big player in new zeolitic materials.
So the joint venture was created and Alan Belzer became president of
01:41:00AlliedSignal, Inc. He wanted me to come to Morristown to be the senior vice
president for technology for the company as a whole and manage the corporate
laboratories rather than just the UOP ones. To accommodate, we split the
laboratories in Des Plaines and gave a big chunk of them to the joint venture,
and we kept a small segment of AlliedSignal people there who were working on the
other AlliedSignal projects.
We had laboratories in Morristown, which had been the corporate labs for the old
Allied Chemical Company, plus Allied had kept a laboratory in Buffalo, New York.
That had been part of the corporate laboratories, as well. We put these pieces
together to form the Corporate Research Labs of AlliedSignal.
01:42:00TRAYNHAM: This merger-changing identity of the parent company--was there any
disruption of the scientific personnel?
GOOD: Clearly, there's always some. For example, after the Wheelabrator merger,
we were forced to reduce staff and we managed to do that in ways that did not
hurt the long-term viability, but that's always tough to do. What we decided to
do was that since we had to do it, we would truly take out the lowest performers
and the people who were at the fringes. By doing that, it helped the morale a
01:43:00lot because some people had not been pulling their weight all that much anyway,
and so people who had been working hard kind of appreciated your noticing who
was doing what. So we managed to survive that okay.
Then after the AlliedSignal merger, because of the fact that we could pool our
resources with the old Allied Chemical group, we could make that work. By the
way, after that reduction in staff, we built up fairly quickly, as it turned
out. After the AlliedSignal merger, we had to regroup, if you will. But that
wasn't so bad because we had things to offer that the Allied Chemical people
really wanted. That was not such a disruption. In fact, we managed that one, I
01:44:00thought, in a pretty decent way. With the creation of the UOP joint venture,
personnel issues were really pretty traumatic because this meant dividing up
some people who had worked for UOP forever--some stayed with AlliedSignal and
some went with the joint venture. But I think we handled that in a way that most
people didn't feel too badly. But you always had some people who were concerned,
and there's always some trauma associated with actions like that.
TRAYNHAM: I believe I read that one of the achievements at UOP during your time
there was in very successful anti-fouling agents for ocean-going vessels?
GOOD: No. That was some of my old LSU research. We never translated that work
into work at AlliedSignal.
TRAYNHAM: All right.
01:45:00GOOD: We looked at it at one time, but we decided because of all the
environmental issues that were associated with it, it probably was not something
we should be doing.
TRAYNHAM: I would like to back up a bit now, before we go on to your later and
current employment opportunities, to take a look at your service to the
profession and your roles in the American Chemical Society and the government.
GOOD: Yes. [laughter]
TRAYNHAM: Could you give me a synopsis view of that activity?
GOOD: Oh, gosh. Well, that's interesting. Actually, I was fairly active in the
local section of ACS in Baton Rouge when I first came there because it was a way
to meet people and I kind of enjoyed it, anyway. Then when I joined LSU in New
Orleans, there was a fairly active chapter in New Orleans. Again, as I said, at
01:46:00that time there was a really vital academic chemical group there, and some
companies participated, as well. The old Freeport Sulfur Company and Shell Oil
had a number of chemists there in those days, so there was industry activity as
well as university activity. The New Orleans section of the ACS was a pretty
vital group of folks.
So the interaction with the ACS section went very well and I just enjoyed it for
lots of reasons. I always thought it was good to get your students involved if
you can, because they need to get some professionalism as well as some technical
training. We used the section for student programs and all kinds of things. I
had been appointed to a couple of national committees and, I guess, the first
01:47:00real attention I got in ACS was in 1970 when I was chairman of the Meetings and
Expositions Committee. I don't even remember how I happened to get appointed.
However, the Society met in Miami Beach. I don't remember whether you went to
that meeting or not, but that was one of the worst meetings the ACS ever put on.
Housing was atrocious. I was active in the Inorganic Division and I was asked to
go and make a presentation to the Meetings and Expositions Committee about how
badly the arrangements had been handled. We had people that didn't get their
rooms--it was just a disaster. So we made a major presentation to the committee
and apparently that came to the attention of several governance people.
[laughter] So what happened was that I got appointed to the committee. It's what
01:48:00usually happens--you should keep your mouth shut. But anyway, then in 1972, Hap
Fisher, who was the director of the Regional Agriculture Laboratory in New
Orleans, was running for the ACS Board of Directors as a regional director. In
those days, the Southern Regional Research Facility was a really good lab and
they contributed in a big way to the New Orleans section. We had put a lot of
effort into getting Hap nominated for that seat on the board.
So the Nominations and Elections Committee called me up and wanted me to run for
the board and I said, "I can't do that because I've actually worked to get Hap
01:49:00on the ballot." They called back and said, "No, we really would like you to run
because we'd like to have two good candidates on the ballot." I said, "Well,
I'll think about it." So I went over the see Hap Fisher and I said, "Hap, what
should I do? We worked very hard to get you on this ballot." He said, "Well, you
don't have any choice but to run." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Well,
they have never asked a woman to run before. You don't really have a choice." I
said, "Well, if you think that way, I'll do it. But I'm not going to do
anything. I'm not going to campaign. I'm not going to do anything." He said,
"Fine, neither will I." So to this day, I don't know how I got elected. I think
part of it was that I had been the program chairman for the last joint
southeast/southwest meeting in 1970, and so a lot of people in the region knew
01:50:00me from that activity. I suspect it was because of that. That was my
introduction to ACS governance and I was elected to the board in 1972. I was put
on the Publications Committee and Bryce [Low] Crawford [Jr.] from the University
of Minnesota was chairman. I got to know him very, very well through the years.
He's just a wonderful person.
So I stayed on the board for, I guess, three terms and was elected chairman of
the board in 1978. That was back in the days of all of that nonsense from the
"grass-roots group", if you remember. We had several people trying to dismantle
the ACS because they thought the governance was unfair and undemocratic. There
were major political battles in the board itself on these things, but I was
re-elected chairman in 1980.
01:51:00Then when I moved to Chicago, in 1980, I was asked to run for the ACS
presidency, but that was the year that I was appointed to the National Science
Board. I was going to this new industrial job and I just couldn't see that I
could do both the ACS presidency and the National Science Board. So I withdrew
from the ACS presidential race. That was the year that Bob [Robert Walter] Parry
won and everybody thought that I withdrew because of the write-in candidate, so
it would leave Bob a clear path to win. But that really was not the case. I
really did withdraw because I couldn't see how I could do both that and be a new
01:52:00member of the National Science Board. I did agree to run in 1986 for president
and I won. Had I known that I was going to be promoted and reassigned to
Morristown as the senior vice president for technology for AlliedSignal, no way
would I have done that because it was really more than anyone should have taken on.
TRAYNHAM: But you seemed to manage to do both?
GOOD: Well, yes, I did. But like I said, had I known that was going to happen I
would not have stood for election, but you're stuck. I mean, you're already
there. You have to do the best you can. The AlliedSignal people were very
supportive, I must admit, as well. So I had help and it wasn't all that difficult.
TRAYNHAM: Like a lot of the presidents of the American Chemical Society, you had
experience being chairman of the board, as well as president of the society.
TRAYNHAM: Did you find those executive positions satisfying?
01:53:00GOOD: Oh, yes. In fact, I really enjoyed being chairman of the board. Actually,
being chairman of the board of the American Chemical Society probably was
another big help when I was interviewed by the president of UOP. I went for the
interview and he said to me, "Have you managed a budget?" I said, "Well, yes. I
managed my own research budget and I have about fourteen or fifteen people. In
addition, I am chairman of the board of directors of the American Chemical
Society, the management group for the society. We manage a budget of about a
hundred and sixty million dollars a year." I think that probably did make a
difference. I suspect that reassured him that I really could look at the budget
and the money and decide how it should be spent and how it should be managed.
01:54:00TRAYNHAM: You mentioned about innovations, particularly with computer access,
that you made when you went to UOP. Do you recall any particular initiatives you
made while you were in ACS governance?
GOOD: Yes, there was one in particular. Bryce Crawford and I, together, I think,
actually caused Chemical Abstracts to move towards computerized publications--I
mean, the whole issue of moving to computer databases and on-line delivery. We
finally set a target for them that they should get 50 percent of their income
from that sort of activity in a certain period of time. He and I had, from one
01:55:00time or another, both been chairman of the Publications Committee, where CAS
[Chemical Abstracts Service], in those days, still reported. It was clear that
if CAS did not move in that direction, they were not going to survive. My guess
is that of all of the changes--I mean, the real initiatives and what I consider
to be changes that made a difference--I think the modern CAS is the most
important. I'm not saying that we did all of it, by any stretch of the imagination.
TRAYNHAM: Set it into motion.
GOOD: Exactly. Right, and the other one that I helped them do was their
interaction in the international environment. We actually put together a joint
agreement with the British, a joint agreement with the Germans, and, ultimately,
a joint agreement with the Japanese in publications and Chemical Abstracts
Service. Those were initiatives that we put into place. Again, CAS would not be
01:56:00where it is today, had it not done those sorts of joint initiatives.
TRAYNHAM: Now it is, in effect, almost an autonomous operation, in terms of
separation from reporting to the Publications Committee and the board there?
GOOD: Right. Well, actually, they've gone now even further than that. The new
Outside Governance Board now includes publications as well as CAS. In other
words, they put publications and CAS back together again, which I find
fascinating. But they have essentially removed the control of them, certainly
the business control, to this outside autonomous group. The board does not have
that much clout in these areas today.
TRAYNHAM: Had that type of organization been in place when you were in
governance structure, it would have been improbable that you and Bryce Crawford
01:57:00would have made the initiative and the goal setting that you did. Do you see
that as an impairment to the future of CAS?
GOOD: That's true, except if you had had a board like that in place, they
probably would have seen it, as well, because truly it was a business issue. My
guess is that they would have seen the need long before the academicians that
sat on the Publications Committee would have seen it. I think probably it would
not have mattered. I think it would have gotten moved because of the business
issues. Now, the real problem today is that CAS in some ways, in my view--and
the publications program too--is at the same sort of crossroads they were back
in the early 1980s. In those days, the whole issue was you needed to get the
01:58:00Today the issue that's on the table is the role that ACS and other scientific
organizations have in on-line publications. I think there are two major issues,
and organizations like the American Chemical Society should focus on them. One
is that in this age of being able to put up anything you want on the Internet,
people are putting up their pre-prints and all kinds of material. The question
is, what does it mean to get a paper published in a journal? How long will you
be able to get people to publish in journals? My guess is that they wouldn't
publish there today, except for the fact that universities only recognize
peer-reviewed journal articles in support of academic promotion. But at some
01:59:00time that will crack, as well. There will be no driver, actually, and so the
question is, what will the scientific literature look like in the next ten
years? The two big questions that affect the American Chemical Society, both
from the journal side and CAS side are: number one, how do you access quality?
How do you decide whether a paper is worthy of archiving or not? The second is,
how do you archive it and who does it? I think those are the questions that
nobody knows the answers to yet. No one has put appropriate thought and effort
into these issues yet.
TRAYNHAM: Also, there's an issue of what reliability to ascribe to the paper, if
it has not been reviewed by experts in the field.
GOOD: That's exactly correct. For example, should you bother to archive it if it
02:00:00has not been reviewed? How do you decide whether this is a paper worthy of an
archival spot or not? It is essential that you work that out because you sure
don't want people re-inventing the wheel, either. But I think this is an area
that's not even being addressed in what I consider to be a holistic way today.
Within ten years, it will have to be addressed because the Internet is here.
It's not going to go away and the rapidity at which you can disseminate
information is so great, that to not have the ability to both do the quality
control and decide on how to archive material is a major problem. Frankly, I
don't see as much work being done here as we need.
TRAYNHAM: Peer review does not guarantee that the paper is reliable, but it's
02:01:00the only way we have.
GOOD: No. Well, between peer review and the editor's oversight, you certainly
have a quality that you don't have if you just dump it on the Internet when you
want. There's just nobody, and I think the ACS oversight board that has the
oversight responsibility for ACS journals and for CAS is the right vehicle to
begin to worry about these issues, because the ACS is one of the biggest
scientific publishers. The other question is, without hard copies, how do we get
paid for publication costs? The questions on the table with these two issues
are: who's going to pay for that quality control? Who's going to pay to do the
archives? That's not clear at the moment because even university folks are
02:02:00beginning to be somewhat upset by not being paid to review. You know, you keep
hearing rumblings in the background about that. People are aggravated that the
journals get all this free reviewing and then they charge more for the journal
than they think they should pay. There's always a bit of rumbling out there. So
I don't know how that's going to come out. I don't think people have really
addressed it yet.
TRAYNHAM: Tell me something about your work on the National Science Board and
your association with the National Science Foundation [NSF].
GOOD: Well, I was, as you know, appointed to the National Science Board in 1980
by President Jimmy [James E.] Carter. I suspect that a lot of the legwork to get
me appointed was really done by Joe Reynolds of the LSU physics department. You
know, Joe had been on the National Science Board and his term was essentially
over. I'm sure that he and some of the people at LSU ran all of the
02:03:00traps--political traps--to get that appointment made. So I came on the board in
1980 and it was an interesting time because that was the days of the Golden
Fleece Award. It turned out that at one of the very first meetings that I
attended--[Burton W.] Adkinson was the director at NSF--we were discussing this
whole business about Golden Fleece Awards. Finally we tried to explain to him
that what he needed to do was to clean up the titles of research projects so
that they represented the science but did not provide "silly" project titles
that could be distorted. So that was my introduction to the National Science
Board. I very much enjoyed working with the National Science Board.
I think the National Science Foundation is certainly one of the best government
agencies, even today, even though it's getting a little old, and has some of the
02:04:00problems of aged government institutions. But it still does a very good job. Its
overhead is about 5 percent. In other words, for every dollar it gets, about
ninety-five cents goes outside. That's not bad compared to other agencies that
we could talk about--in fact, that's excellent. I think that over time, it has
really done what it should have done. That's not to say that every program has
been the right one or any of those things. It never is. They've always managed
to come up with somebody to truly provide some oomph for it at the right time.
Erich Bloch really sort of re-vitalized the agency. He really moved it forward
and he got them to do some new things. He led the agency to create the
engineering centers and the science centers, although the academic community,
for the most part, wasn't in favor of these programs because they wanted only
02:05:00peer-reviewed, single-grantee awards. But what they didn't realize was that
because of the politics, he could sell those centers and get more money for
single applicant awards at the same time. In other words, he used the centers as
levers to create excitement in Congress to get the entire budget of NSF
improved. I think without them, you wouldn't have seen the increases that you've
seen in the last few years.
TRAYNHAM: How long were you on the National Science Board?
GOOD: Until 1991. I was re-appointed in 1986 by President [Ronald Wilson]
02:06:00Reagan. That appointment was an interesting one. Having been appointed by
Carter, you wouldn't expect to get re-appointed by Reagan. But some of my
Republican friends weighed in and Erich, I think, made a big pitch, as well.
02:07:00[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.4]
GOOD: The NSF also has another thing going for it. It has always had a rather
good staff. The policy of bringing in rotators has really served the Foundation
very, very well. They don't do as many rotators today as they used to and I
think that's a mistake. I really like the idea of rotators. I mean, you don't
want everybody to be a rotator. I'm not suggesting that, but to have a fairly
decent number of rotators in all of the research programs that come and stay one
or two years, or three years at most. I think that's really a very, very good
mechanism because it brings new blood in and it brings new ideas in and so on.
TRAYNHAM: It's educational for the rotators.
GOOD: Is it ever! I mean, they take back as much information as they bring. The
problem is that it's hard to get some of the best scientists to do it because
they see it as a break in their career. They see it as time out of their
02:08:00creative juices, which is kind of a shame, in a way. You really would like to
see some of the very best people participate. It's always been difficult to get
some of the very best people to even take the assistant directorships or the
division chairs. But on balance, I think the NSF has been able to get rather
good people. Certainly the 1980s was an interesting time for research and
development. Through that period, support for R&D was pretty bipartisan in
nature. There wasn't much quarrelling. There was just a question of how much
people thought they could afford. Then in 1991, President [George M.] Bush
offered me a position on PCAST, which is the President's Council of Advisors for
Science and Technology. Alan Bromley was the director of the Office of Science
and Technology Policy and chair of PCAST. Remember, he was the science advisor
to Bush. I accepted that appointment and I resigned from the Foundation board a
02:09:00year before my term was over.
PCAST was kind of fun, meeting in the old Executive Office Building with Alan
Bromley, who is a very energetic guy anyway. We actually did get a few things
done, I thought. For the first time ever, the President put out a document that
actually said "technology policy" on it. They'd never been able to get a policy
statement of any kind out before. That was the time, also, that a couple of new
programs got started. Bush pushed the Advanced Technology Program and Bromley
certainly did. It started, you remember, with only about ten million dollars, as
a way to begin to connect the country's research base to the technology base. I
still think those are extraordinarily good programs.
02:10:00TRAYNHAM: All the while you were serving on the National Science Board, and now
in this new office, you were still research director at AlliedSignal?
GOOD: That's right. [laughter]
TRAYNHAM: How much time out of your paid employment did these public positions take?
GOOD: They take more time than you have! [laughter] But you just do the best you
can. Those positions in the industry today, at that level, simply take however
much time you have. I mean, there is no such thing as a normal workday. It just
doesn't happen and so you learn how to manage your commitments. There are times
when there are conflicts and you have to resolve it in favor of the company. It
turned out that being chairman of the NSB [National Science Board] wasn't such a
bad deal, and there were two reasons for it. One was that we had an
02:11:00extraordinarily good person who was the staff director for the board at NSF and
if you've got good staff, you can manage these things. It really is that simple.
If you've got poor staff, it's a disaster. You cannot do everything yourself.
But we had good staff.
Secondly, the company was very gracious to provide me with support. In other
words, I could use a couple of my administrative people to help. What the
country doesn't understand is that we've gotten ourselves now into these
conflict of interest positions where it's very hard for people who work in the
industry to be in these positions today. That is a real shame because the input
back and forth is excellent. Not only that, but AlliedSignal didn't get much out
of me being chairman of the National Science Board. You know what I'm saying. On
02:12:00the other hand, the company viewed it as public service and were pleased with
the visibility. That meant something to them, and they were perfectly willing to
give me support, which turns out to be quite a contribution. So by having good
staff and support, you can manage the demands from both constituents. On
occasion, I would get NSF folks to come up to Morristown--it's not that
far--rather than me making the trek down there. So you can make it work, but
it's not easy to do. A lot of people really don't want to do it because it is a
burden. I mean, the company, on the other hand, gives you little slack on your
job. They think the outside activity is wonderful--fine, carry on, so long as it
doesn't interfere with your responsibilities to the business.
TRAYNHAM: Just do it instead of sleeping. [laughter]
GOOD: Yes, right, so long as it doesn't interfere with what I need. [laughter]
It's doable. But it's tough to do. I was fortunate because my husband is very
02:13:00supportive of these sorts of nutty ideas and that's a big help as well. If that
were not the case, I don't think it would be possible--to be honest.
TRAYNHAM: Then you were persuaded to really shift into the public sector of the government.
GOOD: Yes. That is true. When I was asked to become the Under Secretary For
Technology in [Department of] Commerce, I must admit that would not have been my
first choice for government service.
TRAYNHAM: What would have been your first choice, besides being President? [laughter]
GOOD: You know, you're much better off being science advisor or something like
that. Anyway, I must say Ron [Ronald H.] Brown, the Secretary of Commerce, was
very persuasive. But the real reason you do it is none of that. There were two
reasons. One was that for the first time, President [William Jefferson] Clinton
02:14:00and his transition team had put together a technology plan, a science and
technology plan. If you remember, it's the first time ever that that's been
done, to my knowledge. I mean, presidential candidates in the past have said
little things, but in terms of really looking at the science and technology base
as being a part of what makes the country great was a new idea for politicians.
This plan was really quite well done. The transition team did a very good job
with it. When you think about it, the ending of the Cold War says--and as it has
now been borne out--that the Defense Department support of R&D is going to
continue to diminish. Indeed, our biggest problem in research support, at the
moment, is that we've lost the fundamental kind of work that was supported by
Defense and no one has picked that up. That's why you have this disparity now
between NIH, which continues to get funded because there's good rapport in the
Congress for it, at the same time you have reduced support for engineering and
02:15:00the physical sciences. A big chunk of that used to come out of the Department of
Defense. You remember the people even at LSU, who had support from the Air Force
and the Navy. That's all drying up.
When you think about that, somehow you've got to elevate the concept of civilian
technology, and civilian science that underpins it, in such a way that you can
get the civilian work funded in the same way that you used to get it funded
under the Defense rubric. We haven't done that yet.
So the opportunity to be in a position to articulate those needs was a
compelling factor. The other issue, really, was that I had been extraordinarily
fortunate in my career and the things that I had been able to do. It was an
opportunity to try to give some of that back. I know that sounds trite, but it
was a motivating factor.
02:16:00TRAYNHAM: No, it sounds more inspirational than trite. I was just wondering,
what was the particular persuasive argument that Ron Brown used?
GOOD: Two things. One was that he fully agreed with the President's science and
technology plan. Not only that, he believed that the whole commercial
enterprise, and issues associated with commerce, depended on it. He believed
that if the country wants to grow, it has to have the technology base and he
understood that. The second piece that he used to get me was that I could pick
my own people and he meant that. I was never forced to take a single political
appointee I didn't want. I got to interview them. They sent me people that they
wanted me to interview, which was fine, but I did not take anybody that I didn't
want or who didn't fit what I wanted to do.
TRAYNHAM: Did anyone from AlliedSignal move with you?
GOOD: No. The person that I would have moved, if I could have, would have been
02:17:00my secretary, but she lived in Morristown and was pretty close to retirement, so
it wasn't feasible to do. Since then, a couple of AlliedSignal people have come.
One of the guys that used to report to me is now running the Partnership for a
New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). He was very, very knowledgeable about our
whole automotive division. So we needed him. In fact, I hired two AlliedSignal
people to do that. The first one that I hired for PNGV had been in the
Washington office of AlliedSignal. I wanted him to manage that program, because
he knew how to work with the government. But other than that, no, we didn't.
TRAYNHAM: In your role as Under Secretary for Technology in the Department of
Commerce, you were called on to make a number of significant speeches or addresses.
02:18:00GOOD: I'd thought you'd like to see that. [laughter]
TRAYNHAM: Whose titles are impressive. Can you tell me something about some of those?
GOOD: Well, it turns out that if you look at them, the content of the pieces are
pretty much the same, in the sense that what we were trying to argue was that,
first of all, the country needs a science and technology policy that it can
articulate so that the public can understand it and be willing to make it a
priority to pay for it. The second was to generate some understanding of what
the federal support of R&D in the past has meant to the country. We put together
two or three documents on that that I'm really quite proud of. One was
Technology in the National Interest which really outlines what government
support has meant.
For example, things like the
Internet wouldn't exist today without the support that came out of Defense and
02:19:00NSF. Semiconductors, all of that was started with government money. Things that
we take for granted were really nurtured with government money early on and
clearly the biotechnology revolution in the United States is totally dependent
upon the NIH budget. It wouldn't be here had we not spent that kind of money.
What we tried to do in that office and the Office of Technology Policy was to
get people to understand the fact that technology today, and by definition the
science that supports it, really is the basis on which you're going to compete
in the next century. Those countries that have it will compete. Those that don't
won't. It's really not very complex. Secondly, that support for R&D for civilian
02:20:00technology is as serious as the support for R&D for Defense technology was in
1960. Thirdly, that you've got to be willing to spread it across a fairly broad
range of disciplines. I can't predict for you where the next major commercial
breakthrough is likely to come. I need to have a portfolio of things. Now, I'm
not opposed to making some plan that says these are the areas in which we really
need to focus. But I don't want that focus down to three, which I think is very detrimental.
Our program was going very well. We were really making quite good progress. The
Presidential Science Advisor, John Gibbons, set up a new National Science and
Technology Council, which brought in all of the major players: me from Commerce,
the Under Secretary from Defense, the Under Secretary from the Department of
Energy, major players from EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and NIH. The
02:21:00intent was to begin to have the government people talk to each other; understand
the overall government base, take out the duplicates, try not to duplicate each
other's programs, and try to collaborate when you can. The collaborative
programs, like the Partnership for A New Generation of Vehicles--which was so
difficult to get up and running--are classic examples of what you can do if
you're willing to take the time and effort to get these groups to play together,
rather than everybody playing his own game.
We were, I thought, making some real progress. The 104th Congress that was
elected in 1994, however, took major wind out of all of our sails, because R&D
was not on the agenda for that group, particularly in the House [of
Representatives]. As much as anything, in my view, it's because they didn't have
any clue as to why it should be. The other issue was that they came in with this
02:22:00anti-government mindset that said that any interaction of the government with a
company really should be prohibited and that any development of commercial
technology ought to be done by the private sector and the government should not
intervene. This is a very simplistic view of the world today. It just is not
sustainable because they did not understand the connection. They didn't know how
federal R&D feeds the economic machine and that without it, you can't make it
work. If you're going to get the energies and the speed out of the system,
you've got to have pretty decent connections between them.
The other thing was that in his technology plan, Clinton and the transition team
recognized that the Department of Commerce really ought to become the advocate
02:23:00and the driver for civilian technology in the same way that Defense had been the
driver for Defense technology. Two things happened. One was that programs like
the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) became "Clinton programs," and therefore
targets of that 104th Congress. Without thinking about what was in them, they
became highly political because Congress saw them as "Clinton programs" even
though ATP was started back in the Bush Administration. The person who had my
job in the Bush Administration had pushed very hard to get it done, had pushed
the legislation, had pushed the organizational changes that made it possible to
do it, but that didn't seem to make any difference to them. As far as they were
concerned, it was a "Clinton program" and they were against it. So you ended up
02:24:00with at least a year, almost two years, of very partisan politics over R&D
spending. I think we managed to just keep going. Our approach was, don't talk
about the politics, just keep talking about why you need the programs. Just keep
making the speeches. Go to the hearings, make the same speech--why you have to
have the programs, why it's so important, and why you can't exist without it.
Actually, I think we prevailed; at least to some extent. We salvaged ATP. It's
still there. It's about two hundred million dollars, where it ought to be half a
billion. That's okay. It's still there and it's now a regular program,
hopefully. We have begun to get some movement in the Senate, they truly began to
look at R&D to see if they couldn't move the agenda. [Senator William] Frist,
from Tennessee, [Senator Jeff] Bingaman from New Mexico, [Senator Joseph]
Lieberman from Connecticut, and [Senator John] Rockefeller from West Virginia,
in particular. [Senator Pete V.] Domenici from New Mexico even came into the
02:25:00mix. The House is still confused, if you will. Then we had Mr. [Robert] Walker
from Pennsylvania to contend with. Mr. Walker had been a colleague of Newt
Gingrich back when they were in the minority. He was one of Newt's "bomb
throwers," creating problems to try to get a political position. He was
absolutely opposed to anything that the government might do to support
technology. I went in and spent about an hour with him. He told me once that it
was his opinion that if you cut the capital gains tax, that he would guarantee
that within a year, the industry would be building research laboratories on the
university campuses and hiring university people to do research. I said,
"Congressman, I came from that community. I can assure you, that's not going to
02:26:00happen. I don't care what you do. That's not the way it's done. It's not going
to occur." He stood by his position and that was the way it was. Which, of
course, is just devastating to the whole concept of how you build a science and
But when he retired from the Congress, everybody in the Administration was
relieved, to say the least. Congressman [F. James] Sensenbrenner [Jr.] from
Wisconsin, who succeeded him as chair of the Science Committee, is a much
different person, very rational, fiscally conservative, but very knowledgeable
about R&D and why it needs to be a federal priority. The last year or so has
been a whole lot less political and so we were able to make some real progress.
The question is whether or not it will result in any funding. I'm not at all
sure yet, to be honest with you, whether it will or not. I'm very concerned
about the 1999 federal R&D budget because the President put in some nice
increases and all that, but many of them were dependent upon the cigarette tax
02:27:00bill and the politics of that, as you know, are pretty chaotic at the moment.
How that's going to come out, I don't know. Congress seems not disposed to use
the money for R&D. Then you have this absolute budget-breaking highway bill that
is now there. The reason that's important is that there are caps on the
discretionary spending and all of that excess in the highway bill has to be
taken out of what could have gone to R&D under those caps. I think the caps will
stay and so there's a real possibility that in 1999 you will get some increase
for NIH, possibly a flat NSF budget and decreases everywhere else, which I think
will be a disaster. But it's possible that will happen, because the priority
level for R&D is too low.
We finally, I think, are getting the industry to begin to move to help and
02:28:00that's going to have to occur; otherwise, it's not going to work. The Council on
Competitiveness is moving the agenda very well. I was up there for their summit
meeting last week and the report that is coming out of that conference looks
very good. You've got major CEOs in the industry now who are willing to make the
argument too. The issue was to try to reach as many groups as you could and to
try to get the message as widely distributed as you could.
TRAYNHAM: Well, you had appointments in Washington, of one sort or another, by
four presidents in sequence.
TRAYNHAM: Two Republicans book-ended by two Democrats.
GOOD: That's right.
TRAYNHAM: Would you care to comment on the prevailing style differences among
these presidents or your experiences with them?
GOOD: The thing that I know most about is their approach to research, R&D and
02:29:00science, and technology policy. When Reagan first came in as president, we had a
very difficult time because he brought some ideas with him that said that NSF,
for example, should not fund social sciences. You know, part of the social
conservatives' agenda. The problem that you've got today is that you're
fighting, on the one side, fiscal conservatism, which affects both the
Republicans and the Democrats. Then you've got the social conservatism that's
coming in from the right side of the Republicans and you've also got some
strange philosophy, frankly, from the left wing side of the Democrats about what
you shouldn't do in things like the ethical issues of environmental policy.
You put all that together and it's been kind of a difficult time. When Reagan
first came in, it was a very difficult time for NSF, because he just cut all of
the budget for the social sciences. We were left with the problem of how to
02:30:00maintain the social-science databases. Because if I can't maintain the
databases, I'm going to loose continuity and I can't restart social science
research. So the NSF board took those databases and their support and moved them
into odd places in the foundation. We managed to salvage them for a later time.
Then, of course, after a year or so, we were able to go back and convince
everybody that this was a dumb thing to do. You talk about computers today and
the ubiquitousness of computer operations. You had nobody putting up any money
to study the human-computer interface problems. We were able to restore much of
that work. So you've got these discontinuities and hiccups that take place from
time to time, depending upon the point of view of politicians in power.
The interaction with the Bush Administration was relatively positive, from my
02:31:00point of view. Clearly, Dr. Alan Bromley, the science advisor, really wanted to
move the R&D agenda, and he moved it in very difficult times. I think he did
very well under the circumstances. Then, of course, the Clinton Administration
started off in the R&D area, you know, in really good shape and with a good
understanding of what you needed to do. They've stuck to it pretty well. It's
been tough to do that because it's been just a frontal attack since 1994. Now
that has sort of ceased and everybody is now back to where yes, R&D is a good
thing. That's fine, but now I need a priority for it and I don't have that yet.
They all had their different styles and they all had different mindsets. In many
ways, the people who were science advisors for them made a difference as to how
02:32:00these things went, as well. Because in no case did the president's people have
strong science or engineering experience.
Oh, gosh, what's the guy's name who was president of the National Academy of
Sciences, who was Carter's science advisor? Dr. Frank Press, he's a really
hard-core R&D person--in particular, a research person with a long academic
research career. Then Reagan brought in that guy from Los Alamos [National
Laboratory], [George A.] Jay Keyworth [II], who was a very conservative
Republican, and he was the one who really thought that social sciences should
not be supported. Of course, Bromley, who was the science advisor for Bush, was
a plus. I think the science advisors have had a lot of impact on how these
things go with respect to R&D and the interaction with organizations like NSF
02:33:00and other R&D agencies.
TRAYNHAM: Now, a feature article in an Arkansas newspaper about you included
what was identified as a self-portrait by you, in which, among other things, you
identified your favorite U.S. President as [George] Washington.
TRAYNHAM: Then your fantasy dinner party included, among the four presidents
that gave you appointments in Washington, only President Clinton? What was the
reason for picking him for the dinner party?
GOOD: Oh, that's easy. He is one of the most interesting people and one of the
most intellectually talented that I've ever met. He has an interest in a lot of
things and can discuss issues at great depth. I mean, really philosophical kinds
02:34:00of issues at great depth, and he is very articulate. He is just fun to talk to.
If you were to rank him, as time goes on, with respect to the quality of his
presidency, who knows? But in terms of being able to engage in a challenging
discussion on the kinds of topics you might be interested in, I think he's just
TRAYNHAM: Now you are out of government service, but have retired into a very
active role with Venture Capital Investments. I would like for you to comment on
what prompted you to retire from the government post, where you seemed to be
02:35:00exercising considerable impact. It surely was not because you were tired of
working; you're here in a prominent office in Little Rock.
GOOD: Well, that's true, except that I probably was tired of working fifteen
hours a day. But I had two reasons. One is that I promised my family I would
stay one full term, and I did that. We had bought a retirement home here seven
or eight years ago. You get to the point where it's time to do that. That
essentially was what I thought, because another four years would have been
pretty far down the road. We had done a lot of remodeling on the house here and
so it was just time to do something else. That's hard to define exactly why not.
The other issue is that jobs that are as intense as those--and, well, I guess
02:36:00that's my own fault for doing them as intently as I do--I don't seem to have any
capability of handling them any other way, which is probably a mistake. Four or
five years is probably the optimum time, frankly.
02:37:00[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.5]
GOOD: I stayed until all of our budget issues had been handled by the
appropriation committees for last year. That's a good time to bring in somebody
new, because then they have time to get settled and you don't really have to
start the next budget cycle and all that until the fall. Well, a new appointment
hasn't materialized, unfortunately, and I've been kind of distressed by that,
but the fellow who was my deputy, Gary [R.] Bachula, seems to be doing quite well.
However, it's different to have somebody there who really can exert the kind of
influence you would like to see. I have been sort of disappointed that a new
appointment has not been made. Actually, the real issue about your question, I
think, is that four or five years of these intense jobs is enough--in fact, the
job as the senior vice president for technology at AlliedSignal was a very
intense time. We had a new CEO, [Lawrence A.] Bossidy, come from General
02:38:00Electric about the second or third year that I was there. He began to change the
company and to really make demands on where we were going, and the upper
management positions were really intense jobs. I think five years, six years, is
probably adequate. You may use up your best ideas.
TRAYNHAM: What is the particular nature of your work here now?
GOOD: What we're in the process of doing here is to stimulate the creation of
some technology-intensive companies, and I have no idea of how successful we're
going to be. We're trying. But the reason I'm doing this is that I have an old
friend, Bill [William] Bowen, who was the CEO of the First Commercial Bank, the
bank building where this office is. He, during his tenure as the CEO of First
Commercial, had worked with the state and the community to do a lot of community
things. He's always been very active in trying to build the community and the
State of Arkansas. He had organized the National Advisory Committee for the
02:39:00State of Arkansas, which the bank financed and nurtured. He asked me to be a
member of that board back in the early 1980s and I've been a member ever since.
It meets once or twice a year here in Little Rock. In fact, it began back in the
days when Clinton was governor. What Bill has tried to do is to bring at least
one really important topic for this group to discuss and to have a report and
put that out for the state government to use every year. He has always wanted to
start some venture capital activity here. There has been very little, and
particularly not for start-ups and early-stage, technology-intensive companies.
The timing is pretty good right now. The University of Arkansas Medical School
has about fifty or sixty million dollars in research money every year and
they've had that for about seven or eight years. So they're beginning to build
up a cadre of very good people. They have a few world-class activities, one in
geriatrics and another at the Children's Hospital here, their pediatrics
department. Arkansas' Children's Hospital is ranked quite high in the country.
02:40:00So they're beginning to throw off some research results that can be exploited.
The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville has an incubator that's doing quite
well; it has a number of companies in it and they're beginning to move some of
them out as successful companies. We actually have a pretty aggressive software
service industry here. Alltel is headquartered here. Acxiom is headquartered
here. Several other related companies are here, so there's enough activity now
to build on. Just within the last two years, part of the old Pine Bluff Arsenal
has been designated as the National Center for Toxicological Research. The FDA
[Food and Drug Administration] is moving all of its toxicological research base
here. So you've now got a base on which to build.
Bill Bowen had always wanted to start a venture capital activity, so when it was
02:41:00clear that we were coming back last June, I said, "Look, I'll make you a deal.
If you'll get the investors put together, I'll come and review the technologies
and get the office up and running for you and we'll see what we can do." He
managed to get about twenty-four investors and we're now looking for
opportunities for things that we can do, start-ups and early stage companies
that can be nurtured here in the state. It's an educational problem on both
sides, because we don't really have the infrastructure that supports these
little fledgling companies and we're trying to get the universities to help with
that. We need the business school to help with business plans and the small
business group here to work with technology intensive companies. We are trying
to get that to work. So we are trying to get the infrastructure activity in
place and at the same time we are trying to educate a group of investors whose
own money has been made, for the most part, in banking, financial houses, and
02:42:00real estate development. We have a couple of investors where that's not the
case. I have the fellow who was very instrumental in starting Systematics, a
software service company that was absorbed by Alltel. He really knows about
technology and start-ups, and does some venture funding himself. Another member
was a partner, and I guess still is a partner, in Goldman Sachs [Group, Inc.].
He has funded many ventures personally, and through Goldman Sachs has been
involved in lots of start-ups in his career. But it's very hard to get people to
understand that if you're going to do this sort of venture capital, you've got
to have a portfolio of investments because there's no way to guarantee that any
of your specific projects are going to work. The group has resources, but we
must convince them that these technology intensive companies are good
investments. We're working on it.
TRAYNHAM: Have you yet moved this particular agency into sponsorship of some new venture?
02:43:00GOOD: We have two on the table at the moment, which for a first year is not bad.
We are actively raising money for one of the potential companies, and I
presently have about half of what I think is necessary to get it off the ground.
I'm going to see if I can get some more from outside the group. The second is
one about which I expect to send them a letter, perhaps today, outlining what I
think they should do. Then we've got about two or three others that we're
actively doing due diligence on. I think we're not doing badly, but, again,
people who are not familiar with venture capital think that's very slow. But
it's not really, because venture capitalists will look at a hundred deals and
make maybe five.
TRAYNHAM: Is your role to make the pitch for the in-flow of capital?
GOOD: Well, no, really my job with this group--and I'm doing this on pro bono
02:44:00basis by the way, but anyway--is to look at the opportunities that I can either
generate, or that come in over-the-counter, and also to look around to see what
opportunities are out there. For example, talking to the universities to see if
there's anything that they have and then deciding which of the opportunities
look like they could be promising for us here in this state. The next step is
working with the group to get a decent business plan together that my executive
committee can look at. Then our executive committee decides whether or not we
should pursue that particular opportunity or not. If they choose to do that,
then we'll do a thorough due diligence on it, be sure we understand "where all
the bodies are buried," what kind of outstanding loans they have, and whatever
other outstanding issues may be important. If that all then comes together, and
we can make a good enough deal with the people who own the technology or the
company, then we will put together an offering for our members. Then the issue
is to sell that offering to them.
02:45:00TRAYNHAM: During the course of your long and varied career, your achievements
have been recognized with several significant awards. Would you like to comment
on that record of awards?
GOOD: Oh, I don't know. I really do appreciate them, and there are times when I
don't understand why they give them to me, but certainly some of them are more
significant than others. Clearly, the Boyd Professorship at LSU was a very
significant one. It was early on, and had a lot of impact, which was, I guess,
the reason why all of the nonsense came up over the politics in the university.
Why that was so difficult a time for me was the fact that my colleagues
challenged whether I should have gotten the distinguished title. One of the
things that I've tried during my lifetime to do is to not take anything that I
thought was offered just because I was a woman. The accusation that the
chairmanship was offered to me because I would be the first woman was an
02:46:00underhanded attack, I thought. Anyway, certainly the Boyd Professorship was very
appreciated by me.
My election to the National Academy of Engineering was really neat for a lot of
reasons, primarily because of the Academy's leadership in technology issues in
the industry. One of the others, which you'll find kind of strange, but I felt
was wonderful, was that I was elected to the Swedish Academy of Engineering. I
have found this organization just fascinating because I've been to a couple of
their annual meetings and it was really fun. I guess the Priestley award from
the ACS, I would say, is really one of those things that one remembers and
appreciates because it is for chemists. That is a very prestigious award. I must
02:47:00admit that this award, the recent one, from the Chemical Heritage Foundation,
was totally unexpected and very, very pleasant. In fact, I'm very pleased that
they're doing that award and I hope that they keep that going.
TRAYNHAM: You're speaking of the Othmer Gold Medal.
GOOD: The Othmer Gold Medal.
TRAYNHAM: Which was awarded just last month to you.
GOOD: That's right.
TRAYNHAM: You have made reference two times during the course of our
conversation to your husband, Bill, and his very supportive attitude of all of
your activities. You have other family members?
GOOD: Yes, I sure do.
TRAYNHAM: Tell us something about your family.
GOOD: Well, I have two sons. One we talked about earlier, who was born when I
was still a graduate student. The other one, whom I should have made reference
to when we talked about moving to LSU in New Orleans, was born in September of
02:48:001958 when we moved to New Orleans. One of the things that happened because of
his birth was that I missed the first two weeks of school and everybody had
divided up the teaching loads. The best I can tell, they decided what they
didn't want to teach and I ended up with it. [laughter] But anyway, that's
neither here nor there. Both of them have turned out to be just wonderful
people. I've been very pleased with them. The older one has a Ph.D. in marine
biology on the botany side from LSU, and is presently, as you know, the director
for the Wetlands Programs for Louisiana. He absolutely loves the job and hates
the politics; which is not new or different. He has two sons, one of whom just
graduated from high school last week, who is going to Rensselaer [Polytechnic
Institute] in the fall. He is going to RPI to do aeronautical engineering. At
02:49:00least that's where he's going to start. My second grandson will be a junior at
Catholic High in Baton Rouge next year.
My younger son is an architect who graduated from Tulane. In fact, it's kind of
interesting, his wife is the daughter of Professor [William] Ward, who is one of
the best-known geology professors at UNO. They spent two-and-a-half years in the
Peace Corps in the Philippines after she graduated from Brown [University] and
he graduated from Tulane. That served them very well. They had a great time and
enjoyed it a great deal.
TRAYNHAM: Was he doing architecture-related work there?
GOOD: Yes, actually, they did everything. They were assigned to some little
island down south of Cebu, called Siquijor, and they did everything. They built
an icehouse. The fishermen had no way to keep their fish fresh to get to the
02:50:00mainland. He designed and helped them build an ice plant--all the way from the
generators and stuff they bought from Germany, and the whole bit. She started a
library and did all kinds of educational things for these people. They learned a
lot, because in building this ice plant, he had to go to Manila to manipulate
all of the legal and government issues involved with ordering the equipment and
getting funding. So they really learned a lot in their Peace Corps experience.
He and his wife have two sons. The oldest one is now thirteen. They live in
Madison, Wisconsin. They moved to Madison when they got back from the Peace
Corps because she wanted to go to graduate school is soil science. They were
looking for a school that had that, and also a place where he could get a job as
an architect, and they found the combination in Madison. They like Madison a
lot. It's a lovely community and it's been just great. The schools are good and
the kids like it there. He spent about five or six years as an architect, four
or five of those as the architect for the University of Wisconsin, where he
02:51:00learned everything. I mean, they build everything on those big campuses.
Then he and a friend put together a partnership. He had always wanted to do his
own firm, which they did. They got started doing some disaster work after
Hurricane Hugo. They were asked to go down to the Caribbean for FEMA [Federal
Emergency Management Agency] and evaluate the buildings down there and give them
some feedback on how they should rebuild. They did that, and that apparently
went very well. Well, they began to get some contracts from disaster agencies
and things like that. At this point in time, they essentially do no
architecture, in the normal sense of the word, and they now run a major
consulting firm that has about six or seven permanent employees and another five
02:52:00or six that they keep as consultants. They do disaster-relief work all over the
world, including working on major refugee issues. They run workshops for
non-governmental agencies and other government aid and disaster agencies. He, as
a high school student in New Orleans, was in the academic high school and they
taught Russian. He took four years of Russian, so he reads and writes fluent
Russian. This gives them an edge on all of the disaster things that the State
Department, USAID [United States Agency for International Development], and the
United Nations do in the old Soviet Union, because the only Western language
those people speak is Russian. He's kind of the State Department's expert on
Outer Mongolia and does a lot of work in the "Stans," you know, Kazakhstan. In
fact, one of the neatest contracts that they've gotten recently is that they
have the contract from the International Red Cross to help those particular
02:53:00former Soviet Union Republics build a Red Cross structure, a National Red Cross
Structure for each of them. In other words, Kazakhstan would have a National
Kazakhstan Red Cross, which they've never had before. They have the contract to
help them build and design the organizations for those countries, which is
really fascinating. They do all sorts of things and they do go to some bad places.
TRAYNHAM: You have four grandsons, I believe?
GOOD: I do, yes.
TRAYNHAM: You referred, quite early on in your review of your career, to the
absence of women scientist role models when you were a student, and Madame Curie
was the one that lead you into radiochemistry. You are such a strong role model
02:54:00for women in science, it's kind of a pity that you don't have any
GOOD: Well, that is true. I agree with that. My husband, I think, was even more
disappointed about that than I was. [laughter] He would really have liked to
have at least a granddaughter. You know, you go with what you get. They're all
healthy and quite intelligent and that's good enough. I'm real pleased with our
sons. They've turned into really good people and they are good parents and
that's about as good as you can do. God, in these days, that's better than most.
TRAYNHAM: They saw the role model and picked up on it.
GOOD: Who knows? But, yes, it is also true that my husband has always been very
supportive, and, in fact, one of the reasons that the boys, perhaps, have done
as well as they have is that he's always been very hands-on with them, as well.
That's made a difference.
02:55:00TRAYNHAM: Well, you've had this remarkably successful career in academia,
industry, and government service. It is seldom that a chemist combines success
in all those segments of the possibilities for chemists. As you look back on
your career, is there a segment that you wish you could have had a longer stay
in or did the division among the three segments about balance out the way you
GOOD: Actually, I think it turns out pretty well, really. Like I say, I suspect
the job that I enjoyed the most was being vice president of research at UOP.
However, I was there for about eight years and you need to move on, frankly. I'm
actually consulting for them these days. That's kind of fun.
02:56:00TRAYNHAM: As you look back, when did you really make the transition from being
an experimental chemist to being manager?
GOOD: Oh, gosh, you know, it's interesting about that. I think most chemists do
that, whether they admit it or not. You do it slowly, certainly. By the time you
end up with three or four research grants from three or four agencies, fifteen
or sixteen people in your group, your days of doing hands-on stuff is pretty far
gone. I think that's true of most senior faculty. They don't admit it to
anybody, but I think if you go into their labs, you will find that's the case.
They spend their time managing that portfolio. That's not to say that they don't
put intellectual thought into the science, still, I don't mean that, but in
02:57:00terms of going into the laboratory, they don't do much of that. In fact, by the
time they get to that level, their graduate students would be absolutely
appalled if they went into the laboratory, frankly. [laughter] I think that's
more common than not, actually, rather than the other way around. That's always
been pretty much the case, except for the single inventors and folks like that.
In some ways, that's appropriate, because if you learn enough and if you've done
it well, you learn enough over a period of time that your time is better spent
in teaching young people how to do it and providing the input that your
experience allows. When you really come down to it, your success in all this
stuff depends on how good your graduate students are.
TRAYNHAM: Is there anything you think of that needs to be included now to make
02:58:00the story complete? You've been very generous with your time on this interview.
GOOD: Well, only a couple things, I guess, that didn't get mentioned. One is
that I did have a role model, as you very well know, when I went to LSU.
Virginia [Rice] Williams was there, which was a big help. People don't realize
that, but Virginia was there, and she had been there all by herself for a long
time and had a lot of good wisdom to share, which was very helpful. Secondly,
the other thing that made it work was that we were able to hire help in those
days. We actually hired a housekeeper when I first went to LSU because Billy was
only nine months old at that time. The ability to have somebody who you trusted
taking care of your children makes a huge difference. In fact, I'm convinced the
biggest problem that professional women have today is quality childcare. It's
hard to find.
On the other hand, and I say to some of the young professionals who moan about
02:59:00it, "Well, you know, it's just too expensive and all that." I say, "It's not too
expensive." Because we paid our housekeeper more than Bill made. [laughter] You
know, that's what you have to do. I don't think people should bitch about that.
That's the choice you make. The people that I feel sorry for, with respect to
childcare, are those who are at the bottom of the economic scale and really
can't afford very much because they have to eat off of what they make.
Two-career families, in my view, can afford quality childcare and ought to pay
for it. The only way we're going to get good workers in the domestic field is to
pay a decent salary to people. But that's true, I did have a housekeeper who
worked for us for quite a long time--a wonderful woman who was very, very
helpful. I think, as it turned out, it was helpful to her. I think it was a
win/win situation all around.
03:00:00I guess the other comment that I would make is that my siblings have all done
extraordinarily well. My sister, who lives here in Little Rock, is the medical
director of Children's Hospital, the hospital that I told you is now in the top
five in the country. She came here when it was not the top five in the country
by any stretch of the imagination. She has been president of the American
Academy of Pediatrics and is probably one of the most widely respected
pediatricians in the country.
My second sister has a Ph.D. in nutrition. Presently she is director of the
Delta Project that has south Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi looking at the
nutritional issues in the Delta Region for the Department of Agriculture. My
03:01:00brother, who is the youngest, just retired as the senior supervisor for the
Western Forest, the U.S. Forest Service. I think that our success is because of
our parents. My mother, in particular, was one of those memorable people. She
worked all of her life and taught school all of her life. A very, very bright
lady, brighter than any of us, actually. She really instilled in us the idea
that you can do whatever you want to do. I never understood how valuable this
concept was. It never occurred to me to even think about whether I could shift
to chemistry or not. It was exciting, and it sounded like fun, so you just did
it. When I got through and wanted to go to graduate school, it never occurred to
03:02:00me whether women did this or not. People don't believe me, but I'm absolutely
serious. I never thought about it. I think that was an unusual gift. Talking to
lots of women who have not had that experience and had some real tough times
making it, I think that's perhaps more important in my success that people would believe.
TRAYNHAM: Thank you very much, Mary, for being so generous with your time. Your
interview will certainly be valuable.
GOOD: My pleasure. It's kind of pleasant when it's an old friend, you know. That
makes it easier. [laughter]
03:03:00[END OF AUDIO FILE 1.6]
[END OF INTERVIEW]