Civil Engineering – 1971
William C. "Bill" Burnett was born in Englewood, New Jersey, but he calls San Angelo, Texas home. He attended Angelo Stale University before going on to graduate from Texas Tech University in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.
Upon graduation from Texas Tech, Mr. Burnett joined the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), working in the Odessa District as resident engineer in Pecos, Midland, and Odessa. In 1986, he became one of the youngest district engineers ever in the department, when he was appointed to lead the Abilene District.
Mr. Burnett’s outstanding service in the department led to his appointment as district engineer in El Paso in 1991. In 1993, the Texas Transportation commission unanimously chose Mr. Burnett as executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Of his appointment, David Bernsen, commissioner of transportation said, "After conducting a nationwide search, we are confident Bill Burnett is the right person to lead our efforts in providing the people of this state with a cost–effective, safe and environmentally sound transportation system."
During Mr. Burnett’s long career with TxDOT, he has served as chief inspector on one of the first contract fabric projects in the nation and developed the end–result hot mix pavement specifications currently used by TxDOT. In addition, Mr. Burnett has chaired several committees, including the Automated Plan Preparation System Task Force, the AREA I Research committee for Environmental, Economical and Transportation Systems, and the Information Systems Advisory committee. He has been a member of the Management Development Training committee; the Hot Mix Pavement Quality Control/Quality Assurance Specification Committee; and the Project Programming, Selection and Scheduling Committee.
Next year, he will become president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), an organization he has served well as a member and chairman of several committees. Mr. Burnett belongs to the Special Committee on Software Systems and became chairman of a task force on Strategic Highways Research Implementation last year.
He also belongs to the Western Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials. For the State of Texas, Mr. Burnett serves on several of the Governor’s committees, including the Interagency Abandoned Rail corridor committee, for which he is co–chair.
In addition to his busy career with TxDOT, Mr. Burnett has found time to serve on the Texas Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Council and the Industrial Advisory committee of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. The Texas Tech Civil Engineering Academy honored Mr. Burnett for his accomplishments by inducting him in 1992.
Mr. Burnett and his wife, Pamela, have two children, Michael and Catherine.
It is with great pleasure that we name William G. Burnett a DISTINGUISHED ENGINEER of Texas Tech University.