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John Waller

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John Waller

John Waller

OkChE Advisory Board Member

President (Retired), Toefco Engineering Company


After OU and the army, we were corporate gypsies chasing better jobs from town to town, generally in the “greater Chicago” sphere. Thinking it was another six month assignment, we moved to South Bend, Indiana in 1976 and to our dismay stuck there for over twenty years. (I will listen to someone complain of snow if they are from Buffalo, but no one else!)  My employers have been The General Electric Company, The Richardson Company (where the work load was so light that I was able to receive an MBA, with honors, from Northwestern University while “working” there), Kennecott Copper Company, and a privately held automotive OEM supplier. By promising the bank they could have my house and everything I would ever own if I didn’t pay them back, I was able to buy a specialized, thirty-five year old, slightly unprofitable manufacturing company in southwestern Michigan. The company grew significantly and became pleasantly profitable.  We sold it shortly before moving to Norman in 1996.

My wife, Lou, and I are members of the OU College of Fine Arts Board of Visitors, where I served a term as president.  Additionally, I’m on three fine arts departmental support boards. I chaired the Centennial Pride of Oklahoma Reunion, am active in Rotary, and have chaired a Norman charity, Food and Shelter for Friends.  I am currently serving on the board of the Norman Community Foundation.

I arrived in Norman with the crazy notion that perhaps my experience might be of value to some Chem E undergraduates. I’m particularly focused upon students who do not have outstanding grades and are seeking employment or those who want to use their degree for something other than “normal” engineering ... both situations, I know well.