William W. Brant

For his past and present leadership in research, development, and management, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present, for the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, William W. Brant.

Vice President and General Manager, Strategic Operations
Thiokol Corporation
BSAE '55 ; MSE '56

After serving with the Air Force, Mr. Brant joined Thiokol Corp. in 1958 as head of the BOMARC missile propulsion department. He has held a number of positions with the company including manager, Proposals Department, and vice president, Navy Strategic Programs. Until April of last year he was vice president, Operations, responsible for all production operations in Thiokol's Strategic Operations Division. In his current position Mr. Brant is responsible for all aspects of the division, which has been a leading supplier of solid rocket propulsion systems in ballistic missiles for the past 30 years. Propulsion programs under Mr. Brant's direction include those for the Peacekeeper, Trident, and Small ICBM missile programs, as well as those for ordnance and composite programs.

  • "My father, mother, and sister are all Purdue alumni, "says Mr. Brant, "so I'm not a bit prejudiced!"

  • "I do feel, though, that the caliber of my Purdue education has helped me enormously in the various positions I've had."

  • "At Purdue I learned how to approach problems in a common-sense yet creative way. The key thing in an engineering education is to learn the fundamentals and not get lost in cookbook equations--it's a delicate balance. You must remember how to apply the fundamentals to real processes."

His advice for the engineering freshman:

"One of the most over looked aspects of success--and one that's always been a challenge for me--is communicating your ideas effectively. You'll learn, for example, that many of your ideas will only get serious consideration in writing. You should take advantage of the university environment to learn and practice this vital skill."