Dwight L. Wiggins
Fueling the Future of Engineering
Inducted in 2006
For four decades now in the petroleum-refining industry, Dwight L. Wiggins has been making his mark. But transcending that, by making friends, he has become an energizing presence in the Alabama engineering community.
From colleagues and clients, and especially from class after class of engineering students at Auburn University, Mr. Wiggins receives trust, respect, and real affection. They bring him their computations, or their hopes, seeking his advice. They bring him their failed designs, or their fears, seeking his encouragement. He has worked at extending his expertise and support—personal and financial—to those who benefit from it, just as he worked at establishing America’s third-largest refining business. Mr.
Wiggins simply surpasses every standard for Hall of Fame induction.
Currently he is a principal in Silver Eagle Energy, a leading consultant to the petroleum and petrochemical industry. Mr. Wiggins earned bachelor’s (1962) and master’s (1967) degrees in mechanical engineering at Auburn and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before joining Exxon Corporation in 1967. Across a quarter century at Exxon, he became known as the solver of operational problems others couldn’t fix. From the first, he involved Exxon in creating year round hiring networks at his alma mater.
In 1993 Mr. Wiggins joined Tosco Corporation as president of its Bayway Refining Company. This huge East Coast plant had lagged for years, but Mr. Wiggins affected a complete turnaround. Mobilizing its workforce and upgrading its technology, in a year he had generated earnings allowing Bayway to present all employees year-end bonuses for the first time. He was a true pioneer in performance-based bonus plans in the U.S. refining industry. Soon, he added to his titles the executive vice presidency of Tosco Corporation. Under his guidance, refining became Tosco’s core business, with quadruple the number of refineries it had held. Mr. Wiggins eventually directed eight refineries in six states coast-to-coast. By his 2001 retirement from Tosco, Mr. Wiggins had grown a firm that refined up to 1.3 million barrels daily, employed 5,000 people, and logged annual capital expenditures nearing $500 million. With such a strong finish, Tosco was the 20th century’s outstanding petroleum company, by earnings growth, asset growth, and share appreciation.
Appreciation of another sort follows Mr. Wiggins as well. To its great profit, Auburn University’s Formula SAE team of student engineers is Mr. Wiggins’s avocation. He routinely participates as advisor, even to the point of attending races as far away as Australia. His input helps the team hold its top-10 spot among 140 exemplary engineering institutions representing Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Team members are thankful for his help, which is always forthcoming, whether with cars or careers.
As an Auburn undergraduate, Mr. Wiggins earned Omicron Delta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi membership; today he belongs to Auburn’s Samford Society and Alumni Engineering Council. He is leading the alumni campaign for new facilities for the mechanical engineering programs. He formerly chaired the Western States Petroleum Association and was a National Petrochemical Refiners Association board member. Mr. Wiggins grew up in Monroe County and now lives in New Jersey. He is married to Sally Price Wiggins (Auburn ’62) and has one son and one daughter.