William I. Koch, founder of the Oxbow Group, philanthropist, collector and sailor, has been named the recipient of the America and the Sea award which is presented annually by Mystic Seaport. Koch will receive the award Thursday, October 29, at a gala held in his honor in New York City.
The annual award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions to the history, arts or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American spirit and character. Previous winners have included pre-eminent yacht designer Olin J. Stephens II, respected author and historian David McCullough and the President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation Thomas B. Crowley, Jr.
“This award honors America’s relationship to the sea and the spirit of exploration, adventure, creativity, competition and freedom that inspires us all,” said Mystic Seaport President Steve White. “Like the honorees before him, Bill represents a passion and respect for the sea that clearly parallels Mystic Seaport’s mission – to understand and celebrate how the sea is a part of all of our lives.”
Internationally known as a businessman, chemical engineer, philanthropist, art collector and sailor, Koch received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began his career working for Koch Industries – an oil refining business founded by his father, Fred C. Koch. In the early 1980s, Koch founded the Oxbow Group, a business focused on building and operating alternative energy power plants and buying, transporting and selling petroleum coke. The diversified holding company has since been consistently recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 500 privately held companies in America.
In his role as owner and president of the Oxbow Group, Koch has helped finance, build, manage and operate clean-energy power plants throughout the United States, the Philippines and Costa Rica. Since 2000, Oxbow has developed a 6.5 million-ton-per-year, low-sulfur, environmentally compliant coal mine; found and developed a large natural gas reserve and become the largest petroleum coke marketer in the world. Oxbow Carbon and Minerals, a trading company Koch founded almost two decades ago, now has offices across the globe, operating in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, St. Croix, China, Egypt, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, and India.