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Elected in 1978

“For leadership in organizing complex multidisciplinary engineering projects.”


WILLIAM D. ALEXANDER died on December 9, 2003, at Waccamaw Community Hospital at Murrells Inlet, North Carolina. Bill was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978 in recognition of his contributions to design and construction management for major infrastructure projects in the United States.

Bill was born on June 20, 1911, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Central High School in Charlotte. He then attended Virginia Military Institute, earning a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1934. He later obtained a civil engineering degree from North Carolina State University in 1953. He was a registered professional engineer in 11 states.

After graduation in 1934, Bill worked as a consulting engineer in High Point, North Carolina, and Boise, Idaho, until being commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1940. Bill worked on projects, mostly heavy air fields, in the United States and in the Philippines and Japan. He transferred to the Air Force in 1953 and became chief of engineering for Far East Operations and then moved to the Air Force Directorate of Civil Engineering, with responsibilities for global Air Force installations, including early warning projects such as SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment system and the DEWLINE (Distant Early Warning Line).

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