J. William Uhrig

J. William Uhrig

President and Managing Partner, Three Cities Research, Inc.
BS AAE 1982

For his successful “re-engineering” of companies into profitable, vibrant industry leaders that provide a positive economic impact.

As a young engineer fresh out of Purdue and working in industry, it didn’t take William (Bill) Uhrig long to recognize the importance of financial considerations alongside engineering decisions. So, he left his job at Lockheed Martin, and within the course of two years, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and joined Three Cities Research, Inc. (TCR), a private equity firm in New York City that he now owns. The firm has converted dozens of struggling companies into profitable, growing industry leaders, resulting in regional job growth and economic development.

Uhrig is practically a household name in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAE). He established a $2 million endowment to name the school’s headship, which allows greater flexibility to respond to urgent needs created by the school’s growth spurt. His generosity helped start the AAE Teaching Fellows program that formalized how AAE identifies, trains and supports PhD students to become instructors. His support of the Elmer Bruhn Professorship, the first “Rising Star” professorship in AAE, has enabled the school to recruit and retain outstanding junior faculty. In addition, Uhrig’s $1.25 million lead gift established the Purdue UAS Research and Test (PURT) facility, the largest indoor facility in the world for flying unmanned aerial vehicles.

In an endeavor close to his heart, Uhrig provided matching funds to set up two endowments in honor of Professor George Palmer (1921-2018), an influential figure and mentor Uhrig met while working as a janitorial assistant the summer before his freshman year at Purdue.

“I worked at the AAE lab. (Palmer) would talk to me and quickly decided I should work for him on projects rather than cleaning, so he hired me! It was my first job where I used my mind, not my muscle,” he recounted, adding that previous jobs had entailed farm labor. “I both learned and made money. It was fantastic and, while he passed away some time ago, I still think of him and am still grateful for his teaching and the opportunities he gave me.”

In 2014, Purdue bestowed upon him the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award.

Uhrig’s philanthropy also has been felt at the College of Engineering level with his kick-off gift of $5 million to initiate Project Bridge, the goal of which is to attract and retain underrepresented minority students, award scholarships, and prepare students for success on and beyond the Purdue campus. With this gift, he created the impetus for Purdue and the College to identify critical barriers for students from underrepresented groups and enable the university to eliminate them.

The most useful lifelong skill he learned as a Purdue Engineering student is a simple concept, but one Uhrig still uses in his daily life and work. “Almost any problem can be broken down into parts that can, most likely, be solved, even if the overall problem seems impossible.”

Imparting words of wisdom to current undergraduates, he offers this logic: “Success is not driven by one thing, but the convergence of many things, each of which is necessary but not sufficient.”

Career Highlights

2002-present President and Managing Partner, Three Cities Research, Inc.
1988-2022 President, European Subsidiary, Three Cities Research, Inc. 
1984-1988 Engineer, Three Cities Research, Inc.
1982-1984 Advanced Concepts Systems Engineer, ORD Systems, Lockheed Martin


1982 BS Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University
1984 MBA, Business Administration, University of Chicago