Fred Chase Koch (September 23, 1900 - November 17, 1967) was an American chemical engineer and entrepreneur who founded the oil refinery firm that later became Koch Industries, the second-largest privately-held company in the United States. Early life and education, Fred C. Koch was born in Quanah, Texas, the son of a Dutch immigrant, Harry Koch. Harry began working as a printer's apprentice in Workum. He worked over a year at printers shops in The Hague and in Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1888, and owned the Tribune-Chief newspaper. Fred attended Rice Institute in Houston from 1917 to 1919, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1922, where he obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering Practice. Business career, Koch started his career with the Texas Company in Port Arthur, Texas, and later became chief engineer with the Medway Oil & Storage Company on the Isle of Grain in Kent, England. In 1925 he joined a fellow MIT classmate, P.C. Keith, at Keith-Winkler Engineering in Wichita, Kansas. Following the departure of Keith in 1925, the firm became Winkler-Koch Engineering Company. In 1927, Koch developed a more efficient thermal cracking process for turning crude oil into gasoline. This process led to bigger yields and helped smaller, independent oil companies compete. The larger oil companies instantly sued and filed 44 different lawsuits against Koch. Koch won all but one of the lawsuits. (The verdict was later overturned when it was revealed that the judge had been bribed.) Nevertheless, this litigation effectively put Winkler-Koch out of business in the U.S. for several years. Koch turned his focus to foreign markets, including the Soviet Union, where Winkler-Koch built 15 cracking units between 1929 and 1932. The company also built installations in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the early 1930s, Winkler-Koch hosted Soviet technicians for training. The contract that Winkler-Koch signed with the Soviet government paid the company $5 million. Having succeeded in securing the family fortune, Koch joined new partners in 1940 to create the Wood River Oil and Refining Company, which is today known as Koch Industries. In 1946 the firm acquired the Rock Island refinery and crude oil gathering system near Duncan, Oklahoma. Wood River was later renamed the Rock Island Oil and Refining Company. In 1966 he turned over day-to-day management of the company to his son, Charles Koch. Political views, During his time in the Soviet Union, Koch came to despise communism and Josef Stalin's regime, writing in his 1960 book, A Business Man Looks at Communism, that he found the Soviet Union to be "a land of hunger, misery, and terror.". During his time in the Soviet Union, he toured the countryside with his handler Jerome Livshitz. Livshitz gave Fred Koch what he would call a "liberal education in Communist techniques and methods" and Koch grew persuaded that the Soviet threat needed to be countered in America According to his son, Charles, "Many of the Soviet engineers he worked with were longtime Bolsheviks who had helped bring on the revolution." It perturbed Fred Koch that so many of those so committed to the Stalinist cause were purged. Koch was a member of the John Birch Society which were a conspiratorial group that believed a Communist infiltration were occurring in American government. Family life, Fred C. Koch married Mary Robinson in Kansas City, Missouri in 1932. They had four sons, Frederick (b. 1933), Charles (b. 1935), David (b. 1940) and William (b. 1940). For the ore/oil tanker named after Fred's wife, see Mary R. Koch.