In 1951 Walter left Yale to become a research associate in materials processes with the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. He decided he still wanted to keep a relationship with academia and joined the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an adjunct professor of metallurgical engineering, a position he held from 1952 until 1965. At General Electric, Walter was promoted within two years to manager of alloy studies, a position he retained for seven years. In 1960 he became the manager of GE’s metallurgy and ceramic research.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked Walter to head the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and he remained in Washington, D.C., for three years. Prior to leaving this post in 1968, Walter provided testimony about the threats of the adequacy of the nation’s mineral supplies. His forecast at that time was that the United States would find it increasingly difficult to compete with foreign ores unless technology improved, access to the world’s supply of minerals was continually sought through mutually advantageous agreements with friendly nations, and the United States developed effective techniques for recognizing events that foretell significant changes in demand patterns. Walter was quoted as saying, “The successful application of technology to meet the mineral demands of the future is the most recurring theme in the appraisals of the projected supply-demand relationship.” He concluded by asking for a minerals policy for the United States.
When Walter left that post in 1968, he joined Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation as its vice president for research and development. After a year he became the company’s vice president for technical service, based in Toledo, Ohio.
He moved back to Washington, D.C., in 1974 to become the deputy director and specialist on fossil fuels with the Energy Research and Development Office of the Federal Energy Office/Administration. His stint with the federal government was short lived, though, as he accepted an invitation within the year from Paul E. Torgersen to join the faculty at Virginia Tech.
Walter spent the last 14 years of his working career at