A former chemical industry executive turned entrepreneur and philanthropist will appear in the College of Business and Economics Distinguished Speaker Series on Nov. 8 at West Virginia University.

Verl O. Purdy, a WVU alumnus who was an executive for companies such as B.F. Goodrich Chemicals, FMC Corporation and BASF, left the industry and turned his interests into successful entrepreneurism and philanthropy. A native of Poca, W.Va., Purdy is a “snapshot of success and a fantastic role model for B&E students,” according to Dr. “Jose “Zito Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean.

“Mr. Purdy is a great story, and it would be very beneficial for students, the University community and any interested person to hear him speak,” Sartarelli said. “He was very successful in the chemical industry and was able to continue his interest in business through his entrepreneurial interests. He is also very philanthropic and has a very keen understanding to the funding side of business.”

The B&E Distinguished Speaker Series is presented in part by Wells Fargo. Purdy will speak at 10 a.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center. The event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served to attendees.

Purdy, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1964 and received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina in 1973. After working for B.F. Goodrich Chemicals, he joined FMC Corporation as an area production manager in 1967. In 1969, he joined the BASF group where he played a major role in developing the company into a multi-billion-dollar corporation. While employed at BASF, he held numerous positions before becoming vice president of the Intermediate Chemicals group, a corporate officer, and a member of the executive committee.

In 1980, he left BASF to become CEO of Rio Tinto Zinc Chemicals in the United States and Canada. He shaped the company from the ground up into a leader in the chemical treatment industry. In 1984, Purdy established the AGDATA group of companies, now one of the largest agricultural, animal and human health data analysis and marketing companies in the world. Purdy sold AGDATA in 2010 and currently sits on its board of directors. He is also a co-founder of Cadrillion Capital, a closely held private investment firm located in Charlotte, N.C.

Purdy represented the chemical engineering department of WVU in the Building Greatness Campaign where the college raised more than $22.5 million. His generosity and leadership also led to the renovation of the Alfred F. Galli Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory at WVU. He is a member of the WVU Chemical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was appointed to the board of directors of the WVU Foundation, served as chairman from 2010-12 and continues to serve on the board.

His other roles at WVU include his membership in the Woodburn Circle Society, the WVU Alumni Association, Order of the Vandalia (2011), the Academy of Distinguished Alumni (2005) and the Academy of Chemical Engineers. He was a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science (2009), Honors Convocation Commencement speaker (2009) and College of Engineering commencement speaker (2007), “A State of Minds” Campaign Committee for the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and the National Campaign Committee co-chairman, along with Bob Reynolds, of the WVU “A State of Minds” comprehensive campaign.

Purdy’s membership in professional organizations includes the British American Business Council, Habitat for Humanity and the National AgriMarketing Association. He has three grown children.

For more information on this event or the B&E Distinguished Speaker Series, please visit be.wvu.edu.



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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics
patrick.gregg@mail.wvu.edu or (304) 293-5131