Engineering a world of change

Staff Reports

Williams engineers are doing more than helping fuel America’s clean energy economy.

Through an organization called Engineers Without Borders, employees also are mentoring college students who are turning cooking oil into biofuel and traveling the globe to help bring clean water solutions to remote communities in need.

Kenzie King, a Williams engineer in Houston, put her engineering skills to work early this year in Peru with an Engineers Without Borders team, teaching villagers how to harvest rainwater so they would no longer drink from the dirty Amazon or trek to a creek.

“We helped them build a system to collect water that runs off the building, which is then filtered and treated. Now, 380 people have access to clean drinking water,” she said. “It was very much a partnership. They were coming up with solutions that we helped implement.”

Jon Conner, a Williams engineer in Tulsa, is lending his know-how to University of Tulsa students working on a project to turn used cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel to operate earth-moving equipment used on campus projects.

Williams provided a grant to help start the project, which will span several years. The funding is helping the students acquire safety gear and lab equipment.

Engineers Without Border student chapters are an important part of educating tomorrow’s engineers, said Conner, a TU alum.

“It’s not enough to just be an engineer,” he said. “You have to have a social conscience. It’s about giving back to their world.”

Williams also has provided funding for TU students to build rainwater-fed toilet and shower facilities in Bolivia.

Kayla Hale, vice president of University Enhancement at TU, thanked Williams for the financial support.

“Our Engineers Without Borders projects and trips have been wonderfully effective at giving our engineering student insights about the challenges faced by others, while also providing them with meaningful opportunities to serve those in need,” she said. “As our students have planned and worked on various projects, their work has become a source of learning and pride for them.”

*This content was produced prior to the issuance of CDC guidelines recommending social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.