J. Robert Benz

Retired, Vice President of International Business Development for Chemicals, Phillips Petroleum Co.
2009 DESA Recipient
Primary office:



  • B.S., Civil Engineering, 1964, 
B.S., Business Administration, 1964

After life at KU, Benz built a legacy in plastics at Phillips Petroleum Co. Until he retired in 1998, Benz continued to expand his reach throughout Phillips, overseeing everything from propane fuel programs to convenience store marketing to his final position, as vice president of International Business Development for Chemicals.

Among his many stellar achievements, in 1982, he became vice president of the Worldwide Rubber Chemicals Division. He realized companies were growing beyond traditional borders and worked to treat such clients as global entities instead of a different entity in each country. By thinking and acting with a world view, he was able to help Phillips’ bottom line at a time when it was in dire need.

Benz calls his final career stop his most rewarding and most interesting, including oversight of a joint venture with Qatar National Petroleum Co. on a $1 billion-plus petrochemical complex.

At KU, he has served on the School of Engineering Advisory Board for more than 20 years and is a member of the School of Business Board of Advisors. 
Benz and his wife, Jan, reside in Wilson, Wyo.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times