BSE ChE '89
Margaret Gilligan, the youngest of seven children (and only girl) born to James and Marion Gilligan, originally came to the University of Michigan to major in actuarial science. However, with inspiration from her older brother, Thomas, a Michigan chemical engineer, she decided to switch to chemical engineering, a field she felt would offer her many more career options.
When Margaret was working on her degree, she and four classmates were part of Scott Fogler’s original “Think Tank Team.” The team researched a variety of problem-solving heuristics that equipped students with tools for solving real world open-ended problems. Part of this initiative involved visiting companies and collecting information that would later be incorporated into assignments given to students as part of the chemical engineering core curriculum. The end result of this two-year effort was the first draft of Fogler’s book, entitled “A Focus on Developing Creative Engineers.”
After graduating in 1989, she moved to Chicago to start her career in research and development at Kraft Foods as a process research engineer. Her entire career has been in the consumer packaged goods industry, primarily in food & beverage. Her professional development includes stints at Kimberly-Clark, Schreiber Foods, Nestle Ice Cream, and Gatorade. She is now working for Dean Foods as the director of engineering for the Pacific Coast and lives in Yorba Linda, CA with her husband, Abraham.
Although she hasn’t been back to Ann Arbor often, she has continued to be a strong advocate for the University and the department. She was pleased to be asked to become a member of the ChE Alumni Board in 2009. With this appointment, she looks forward to visiting A2 every fall for the next few years. Margaret actively recruits students who have an interest in the food industry, and takes pride and leadership in mentoring young engineers as they begin their careers. She is also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Society of Women Engineers.
Hailing from Plymouth, MI, she has fond memories of listening to Bob Ufer’s “Mee-chigan” football broadcasts. “I loved hearing his “Bo ‘George Patton’ Schembechler horn,” honked three times after every Michigan touchdown, twice for a field goal and safety, and once for an extra point.”
Outside of work, she is an avid golfer and sports fanatic, and is a huge fan of the Detroit Red Wings. Even though the Ufer days are long past, she still enjoys Michigan football. Margaret says, “Although my career has taken me to many cities, I never have any trouble locating Wolverine fans in the area.”
Article from the 2010 Chemical Engineering Newsletter