After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, William Heine continued his studies at Purdue in civil and construction engineering. Since 1965, he has spent more than 45 years in construction - both with the Navy and two construction companies.
Heine spent 33 years of his Navy duties as a member of the Seabees, the Navy's construction battalion. Assignments included work in the Philippines designing and planning projects.
In 1968, his Seabee assignment included two tours in Vietnam as the operations officer of a 900-man unit in support of the Marines. Heine said his engineering knowledge gained at Purdue was important in his diverse and challenging work with the Seabees.
One example of his work included the restoration of a two-span Eifel design truss railroad bridge that had been dropped into the river, he said. Another involved building a highway using aerial photos provided by Marine fighter pilots. His last assignment, occurring concurrently while Heine was at American Constructors, was as commander of the Second Naval Construction Brigade, a force of 9,000 Seabees. In 1994 and 1995, his Seabees team designed and constructed facilities in Cuba to accommodate 25,000 Haitian and Cuban refugees.
Heine spent his first 10 years as a civilian contractor in Hawaii. One of his projects, Pearl Two, a 32-story condominium, received the National Construction Management Excellence Award in 1976 for being completed in less than 11 months.
After leaving Hawaii in early 1982, Heine and his wife, Yolanda, settled in Austin, Texas. Shortly thereafter, he formed American Constructors. Over the past 28 years, American Constructors has built more than $1 billion worth of projects in the metro Austin area and has been listed in Engineering News-Record magazine's top 400 contractors.
Heine remains active in his church and volunteered with the Austin Boys & Girls Club. The Heines have eight children and 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoys sailing off the coast of Rhode Island as well as gardening and listening to music.