Norman L. Gilsdorf

Honeywell Process Solutions
BSChE ’77

In recognition of his outstanding technical and business achievements and his contributions to Purdue

A love of process engineering and a desire for international experience prompted Purdue graduate Norm Gilsdorf to accept a position at UOP, one of the leading process engineering companies in the world. UOP, which was later acquired by Honeywell International, served the global refining, petrochemical, gas processing, and major manufacturing industries.

“UOP placed me in its pilot plant development program in Chicago for two years, and then they sent me all over the world to start up oil refinery and petrochemical plant processes,” Gilsdorf says. “I received job offers from several top companies in the oil, rubber and plastics, and chemical industries, but it was a no-brainer to take the UOP position.”

Gilsdorf worked in various positions for UOP for 30 years, eventually becoming senior vice president and general manager of the process technology and equipment business. In 2005, Honeywell acquired full ownership of the company and Gilsdorf transitioned into the role of vice president and general manager of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS).

HPS, part of Honeywell’s $14 billion Automation and Control Solutions business, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of automation and control systems. It also designs and develops the associated advanced software solutions that control and optimize refineries, oil and gas installations, pulp and paper mills, and chemical, pharmaceutical, and power plants around the globe.

“We are a business of approximately 13,000 people located in more than 100 countries around the world,” Gilsdorf says. “We are famous for inventing the first distributed control system in the 1970s, called TDC 2000. Recent projects include designing and producing the flow-metering stations that transmit gas from Russia to Europe. We designed and built one of the world’s most complex automation control systems for the world’s largest gas-to-liquids plant. This plant will make clean fuels from natural gas. We are also designing and automating one of the world’s first plants to convert biomass to clean diesel fuel.”

Gilsdorf says he enjoys the combination of problem-solving and diversity he has experienced through an internationally focused engineering career.

“I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel and work with customers in more than 60 countries,” he says. “Just in the last two months I have been to 12 countries — from Russia to the Middle East to South Africa — to meet customers, understand their challenges and issues, and work to provide solutions. No matter what time zone or country I wake up in, I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. I can say with full confidence that the choices I made with Purdue, then UOP, and now Honeywell have all worked out great.”

Career Highlights

Current President, Honeywell Process Solutions
2008–2009 Vice President and General Manager, Honeywell Process Solutions, EMEA Region, Honeywell International
2006–2007 Senior Vice President and General Manager, Process Technology and Equipment, UOP LLC
2002–2005 Senior Vice President and General Manager, Catalyst, Adsorbents and Specialties SBU, UOP LLC
2000–2002 General Manager of Technical Services, UOP LLC
1993–2000 Head Representative and Director of Sales and Services, Former Soviet Union, later added Middle East and India, UOP Ltd.
1991–1993 Senior Manager of Research and Development, Catalytic Naphtha Reforming, UOP LLC
1976–1991 Various management positions of increasing responsibility with UOP, including Senior Manager of Marketing Service, Senior Coordinator for Technical Service, and Super Chief Technical Advisor, among others
1973–1976 Co-op Engineer and Group Leader, Firestone Tire and Rubber Co.
1988 MBA, Northwestern University
1977 BSChE, Purdue University