William N. Dudley, Jr.
President & COO
Bechtel Group, Inc.
There has probably never been anyone more destined to attend Purdue than William Dudley. His father and mother met at the university - he was studying for his civil engineering degree under the G.I. Bill; she was a Purdue employee. Dudley was a Boilermaker from birth.
Born in Paducah, Kentucky, Dudley spent his childhood in Indianapolis. In the summers, he worked for his father's construction company which performed site work on local commercial projects. He then came to West Lafayette and earned his degree in civil engineering. Rather than join his father's company, however, he decided to explore the world of large infrastructure projects.
In 1974, Dudley took the first step in a long and distinguished career in engineering and construction, going to work for Fluor Corporation. Over the next seven years he worked in Los Angeles, Chicago, and South Africa on projects ranging from coal-fired power plants to multi-billion dollar oil from coal projects. In 1981, on the advice of a colleague, he joined Bechtel. Interestingly, Bechtel was the company his faculty advisor, Professor Robert Lee, had recommended upon graduation.
Starting in Bechtel's Houston office, Dudley worked his way around the world and up the ladder. After stints in Bangkok and Singapore, where he was general manager for Southeast Asia, he was posted to London, where in 1999 he became president of Bechtel's Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia business.
In 2001, Dudley took over the company's petroleum and chemical business unit, which grew to become Bechtel's largest business unit. In 2008, Bechtel rewarded his efforts by naming him president and chief operating office of Bechtel Group, Inc.
Dudley is a hard-driving leader, but he also maintains some firm commitments outside his work life. For more than 15 years, he has led a group of Bechtel employees who annually ride 150 miles from Houston to Austin to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
He also is fiercely loyal to Purdue, avidly following Boilermaker football and basketball. In fact, catch him looking at his Blackberry, and he might be checking the score.
Dudley and his wife, Marty (also a Purdue grad), have two daughters and a granddaughter.