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William F. Powers

Year: 
2004
Citation: 
For pioneering contributions to aerospace and automotive controls, ranging from very effective Space Shuttle controls to some of the first successful applications of optimal control and estimation in automotive industry

William F. Powers retired as Vice President - Research from Ford Motor Company on December 31, 2000; he had been with the company since 1979. During his career at Ford, he served in numerous information technology, product development, and research management positions. On February 1, 1996, Dr. Powers assumed the responsibilities of Vice President-Research. Dr. Powers received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1963 from the University of Florida, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics in 1968 from the University of Texas at Austin. At NASA Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960-65, he was involved with the development of the Saturn Booster guidance system and Apollo mission analyses. He consulted on the Space Shuttle Program with the NASA Johnson Space Center during the period 1970-79. From 1968-1980, he was a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Computer, Information and Control Engineering at the University of Michigan. He served as President of the AACC in 1988-89 and he organized and was the first chairman of the IFAC Automotive Technical Committee.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He currently is a consultant to a number of companies, and serves on the Secretary of Energy's Laboratory Operations Board, the National Academy of Engineering's Committee on Membership, the National Academies Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, and the National Academies Committee on Alternatives and Strategies for Future Hydrogen Production and Use, in addition to a number of university advisory committees. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Boca Raton and Ann Arbor, and have two children and three grandchildren.