Bill McConnell ’80
An Education Gained from Life at ΣAE
“I wanted to join a fraternity for the social experience,” said Bill McConnell ’80. “College provides the knowledge students need to get a job. The fraternity provided people skills, which are every bit as imporant as knowledge.”
Bill gathered the lessons of living with 80 brothers and holding leadership positions as pledge class president, eminent deputy archon, and social chairman. During the spring of his senior year he wrote letters to 10 companies in Houston, looking for a position in a chemical plant. The city’s large chemical industry and rich culture interested Bill, so when an international chemical comapny contacted him, he jumped on the opportunity.
Today, Bill is with the same company, now as plant manager of two chemical plants in Texas where his is responsible for all aspects of the sites.
In addition to his degree in mechanical engineering and MBA from the University of Houston, Bill credits ΣAE with helping to develop some of the soft skills necessary for a successful career in a technical industry.
“In my field of engineering, careers can generally take a technical route or a managerial route. The managerial route typically has more responsibility and, as a result, more rewards. Purdue did not prepare me to work with people. Living at the Lodge on Littleton Street provided a good education at working with people, which really helped my career.”
Though work has taken him a significant distance from Indiana Beta, Bill has continued to invest in the chapter as opportunities present themselves, particularly as an alumni advisor. “In the last two years, I have led my company’s work to recruit engineers from Purdue. It was great to be back two or three times per year to support that effort. Visiting with the brothers during my business trips to Purdue is always a treat. They seem more focused on grades and campus standing than we were. The house average grades are higher than ours were and they seem more in tune with the campus. That says a lot for the current members.”
Bill makes his home in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife, Nancy. They have two daughters and one sone. Outside of his work and family, Bill enjoys fishing and restoring antique guns. He is a direct descendant of a family of gun makers active around the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Over the years he has been able to find and restore muskets made by his relatives. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.