William Powers photo

(Retired) Vice President-Research, Ford Motor Company

B.S. ASE 1963, University of Florida
M.S. ASE 1966, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. EM 1968, The University of Texas at Austin

William F. Powers retired as Vice President-Research from Ford Motor Company on December 31, 2000 where he held the post from 1996 until his retirement. He began his career with the company in 1979.

Powers received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1963 from the University of Florida and his M.S. in aerospace engineering (1966) and his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics (1968) from The University of Texas at Austin.  

During his career at Ford, Powers served as the first Director of Product and Manufacturing Systems in North American Automotive Operations, Program Manager, Car Product Development Specialty Car Programs, where he was responsible for the Thunderbird, Cougar, and Mark VIII vehicles, and Executive Director of Information Technology. On February 1, 1996, he assumed the responsibilities of Vice President-Research.

He was at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960-65 and consulted on the Space Shuttle Program with the NASA Johnson Space Center during from 1970-79. From 1968-1980, he was a professor of aerospace engineering and computer, information and control engineering at the University of Michigan, where he chaired 15 Ph.D. theses.

Powers is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of IEEE, ASME, IFAC, and SAE, and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He has served on the Sandia Nuclear Deterrence External Advisory Board since 2005 and numerous DOE and NAE committees.

He has received Distinguished Alumnus awards from the University of Florida (2001) and The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering (1993), where he has also delivered commencement addresses, the Control Practice Award from the American Automatic Control Council (2004), the Nichols Medal from the International Federation of Automatic Control (2005), and inauguration into the Intelligent Transportation Systems of America Hall of Fame (2015).

Powers and his wife, Linda, reside in Boca Raton and have two children and six grandchildren.