Howard Gandelot ’64: “Help others succeed, and always give back for the riches you have received”

Howard grew up living on Hampton Road in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. In 9th grade he had to write a “Career Book” for English class so chose chemical engineering probably from a love of chemistry (from the Gilbert chemistry set) and fascination with the colored pictures of large refineries and chemical plants in annual reports from Exxon, Mobile, Rohm and Hass, Dow and others. At the same time, he began dating Judy Mitchell who would become his wife and life long best friend. Two life directing decisions made very early in life. 

After graduating from Grosse Pointe High School, he entered Michigan in the fall of 1960 to study chemical engineering and was living in South Quad Huber House. Spring rush brought him to the Delta Chi house where he was welcomed by all the brothers including Keith Hellems who was also from Grosse Pointe. Our pledge class of Bob Sielski ’64, Dave Huggett ’64, Tim Curtin ’64, Jim Richhart ’64, Bob Todd, Jim House, Howard Travis ’63 and Dave Siglin ’64 learned much from Pledge Master Lane Kendig ’62 and we studied, worked and played together spring of 1961. We turned Hell Week into Help Week executing Big Magoo’s (Mike McGuire) many improvement ideas for the party room and serving area plus other improvements to the house. 

∆X was the perfect place to learn how to motivate a group of brothers to work together to accomplish great things.  Translating Lane Kendig’s dream of a Viking ship for a Michigras float into the real thing that won first place serves as great example. As house manager, Howard helped the brothers learn many DIY skills as we remodeled the lavatories, dining room and all the basement rooms except the pit. He was elected A for 1963 which was another excellent experience for learning leadership skills in a low risk environment. Howard married long time sweetheart, Judy Mitchell, in May ’64 with many brothers in attendance. They lived in Ann Arbor that Fall while Howard completed double degrees in chemical and metallurgical engineering.  

The Gandelot family in front of the Biltmore in Asheville, NC. Left to right: Howard, Judy (wife), Colette (daughter), Derek Boyd (granddaughter’s husband), Courtney (granddaughter), Brian (son).

In 1965, they moved to Cincinnati when he joined Procter & Gamble’s Engineering Division as a process engineer. During his 26-year career, he held senior management positions in R&D, engineering, manufacturing and product supply in the soap, food and paper business units at both domestic and international locations. Work focused on product, package and manufacturing process development; design, construction and commissioning of manufacturing facilities; plus, ongoing product, process, package and supplier improvements to improve quality and reduce costs. Highlights include design and building of P&Gs Lima plant in 11 months from ground breaking to startup, successful commercialization of Pringles manufacturing plant, and world’s first multi-layer tissue paper and use of a jet engine to dry tissue paper. Assignments took the family to Lima, OH, Jackson, TN and Newcastle, England.  

While at P&G, he was exposed to quality management and breakthrough organization design concepts. He introduced some of the first Deming-based quality improvement projects at P&G. He developed a deep interest in quality and organization design technology and did post graduate work at a variety of locations acquiring expert level capabilities in all strategic planning and major quality/process improvement methodologies. He joined the American Supplier Institute in 1991 to further his skills in this area and became president of ASI in 1993. In 1995 he formed Gandelot & Associates, an organization that specializes in helping organizations better meet their customers’ needs through simultaneously improving the work processes and people systems. He has consulted more than 100 organizations engaged in manufacturing, financial, health care, educational, advertising and non-profits to help them grow by better meeting their customer’s wants. 

Howard has always believed in “giving back” to the communities they have lived in. In Cincinnati, he served on the Wyoming, OH City Council and various city committees, was president of the Wyoming Civic Center, and a Red Cross volunteer. While in Detroit, he was a board member of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology that served the visually impaired and served as chairman of 1998 “Eyes on Classic Design” car show featuring more than 225 exhibitors of classic vehicles. While wintering in Savannah, he consulted with the boards of the Landings Association and 

Landings Club to improve work processes and strategic thinking. He is an Elder in the Presbyterian church and has helped build more than 70 Habitat houses. Additionally, he led the four-person team of Frank Morrey ’64, Keith Hellems ’62 and David Falconer ’62 who worked thousands of hours over a three-year period to raised more than $1.1 million that enabled our new ∆X chapter house to be built in 2018. 

Judy and Howard have two children, Brian, an operations manager for System Four a commercial cleaning company in Cincinnati and Colette, who owns a design/build remodeling company in Minneapolis. Additionally, nephew Jeffrey Pilley joined the family at age 13 after both his parents had passed away. Jeff is manager of information systems development for a Boston based investment firm. Judy and Howard summer in northern Michigan and winter in Savannah. 

Howard’s advice can be summed as: lead by example, think strategically and broadly, work hard, get it done as only actions count, help others succeed, and always give back for the riches you have received.