UCLA in the engineering school, with the challenge that he develop courses in nuclear engineering. Early in his career at UCLA, he was asked by his former associates at Chevron to rejoin them to work on a large radiation project for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), so he took a one-year leave of absence. Ken’s work on the classified accelerator project, which later became the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, stretched his leave from the university to three years. Upon his return to UCLA, he was promoted to full professor.
In 1954, Ken was recruited to join the AEC, which was charged with managing the development of the nuclear navy and civilian nuclear power. He began as assistant director and then, for four years, director of the Reactor Development Division. Civilian nuclear power was the driving force in the development of the division, and Ken Davis was its champion.
Ken became a corporate vice president at Bechtel Corporation in 1958 and was instrumental in developing the company’s role in the rapidly emerging civilian nuclear industry. He was the first manager of Bechtel’s Scientific Development Division, which was organized to provide the company with capabilities in applied research, development, and advanced engineering and the application of these skills, particularly in the electric power sector. By this time, Ken was known as “Mr. Nuclear”—one of the world’s truly outstanding engineers. He retired from Bechtel in 1981 to become Deputy Secretary of Energy during the Reagan administration.
In 1970, Ken was elected to the National Academy of Engineering; he served on the NAE Council from 1972 through 1981, the last three years as vice president of the organization. During those years, he was also president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (1981), fellow and director of the American Nuclear Society, chair and president of the Atomic Industrial Forum and Atlantic Council of the United States. He then moved to the world stage as vice chair of the World Energy Council and chair of the U.S. Committee for the World Energy Council. Ken’s remarkable achievements were essential to the development of peaceful uses for nuclear energy. On the less technical side, Ken was a member of the Commonwealth Club of San