Arthur Mendolia begins the interview with a discussion of his family and childhood. After graduating from high school in Youngstown, Ohio, Mendolia entered Case Western Reserve University in 1934, majoring in chemical engineering. Financing education during the Depression was difficult, and Mendolia worked at Youngstown Steel Door Company to make money. He received his B.S. in 1941 and began to work at DuPont as a research engineer.
Mendolia spent thirteen years in DuPont's adiponitrile plant in Niagara Falls, occasionally commuting to a plant Charleston, West Virginia. In 1954, Mendolia was named Assistant Director of Research of DuPont's Electrochemicals Department, a position he held for two years before moving into sales as the Assistant General Manager. In 1966, Mendolia became the Assistant General Manager of the Explosives Department. There, he sold DuPont's chemical process for making acrylonitrile to Amoco Chemical Company. DuPont recognized Mendolia's exemplary management skills and promoted him to Vice President of Explosives in 1970. In 1972, Mendolia met Ralph Landau while negotiating a purchase of ethylene glycol for DuPont. Later that year, DuPont recommended Mendolia for a position in the U.S. Department of Defense [DOD]. There, Mendolia learned more about management, organization, finances, and worked personally with President Gerald Ford.
After two years with the DOD, Mendolia became president of Ralph Landau's company, Halcon International. Later, he became Chairman of Oxirane, a Halcon and Arco joint venture. With Oxirane, Mendolia set up branch offices in Eton, England, and Houston, Texas, and set up Oxirane's R&D department. He worked to establish uniformity and standards within the company. In 1981, Mendolia and Cy Baldwin bought their own chemical company, CasChem, Inc., a castor oil and polyurethane production company. Then Baldwin and Mendolia purchased Cosan, a biocide company, in 1985. In 1987, these companies officially had their names changed to Cambrex Corporation. Mendolia concludes the interview with a discussion of purchasing chemical companies, management issues, his family, and hobbies.