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Over the course of his 40-year career with The Dow Chemical Company, Rich Wells held leadership roles in a wide range of areas, including Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (M&E), Business Leadership, EH&S (Environment, Health and Safety), Energy and Climate Change, and Public Policy. 

Rich’s final role in Dow was as Vice President of U.S. Gulf Coast Operations and Site Director of Texas Operations.  He was responsible for 10 advanced manufacturing sites, the Texas Innovation Center (a state-of-the-art R&D campus) and the Houston Dow Center (a strategic engineering and business hub). 

At the time of his retirement, Wells also served as President, Chairman and CEO of the Union Carbide Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow.

As the Site Director for Dow Texas Operations, he led one of the largest integrated petrochemical manufacturing sites in the world.  The site employs more than 8,000 people, producing products that are used in industrial and consumer applications including food packaging, health care, automobiles, construction and electronics.

Wells graduated with highest honors from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and was named an outstanding recent graduate of his alma mater in 1992.  In 2014, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni from SDSM&T. He currently serves as a member of the school’s Academic Advisory Board and Center for Alumni Relations and Advancement Board of Directors. Wells has also completed an executive leadership program at Babson University and the H.H. Dow Academy. 

A native of Minnesota, Wells resides in Rapid City, SD with his wife Trudy.  They have two sons, Zachery, a Captain in the U.S. Army, and Andrew, a mechanical engineer working in Wisconsin.  He is an avid runner having completed multiple marathons, and also enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, reading and keeping abreast of current political events.

Mines Advancement Fund

The Mines Advancement Fund supports the greatest needs of our students and faculty, including scholarships, department resources, facilities updates, industry partnerships, and more. With every dollar gifted to the Mines Advancement Fund, the Center for Alumni Relations & Advancement raises an average of $9 more to support departments, scholarships, and programs. 
Consider designating your gift to the Mines Advancement Fund to maximize your influence at South Dakota Mines.