The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) hosted a retirement reception on Apr. 18 to celebrate the career of William R. “Bill” Stockton. Family, friends and TTI staff — past and present — gathered at TTI’s headquarters to honor Bill after 40 years of service at TTI.
“What a blessing it is to be here with you today. I am so happy that you would take the time out to come by and say hello to me, but certainly not for the last time,” exclaimed Stockton. “Like someone who has just been named an Oscars winner, there are countless people to thank who have meant so much to me personally and professionally in my career at TTI.”
Stockton enrolled at Texas A&M University as a member of the class of ‘69 in Company A-2. He rose to the rank of cadet lieutenant colonel before graduating and was inducted into the Army as a second lieutenant at Fort Bliss. Stockton served in the Army Reserves for 30 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel, accumulating six individual commendation medals from the Army.
After working at TTI as a student earning his master’s degree from Texas A&M, Stockton joined TTI as an engineering research associate in 1974. After 10 years, Stockton briefly left TTI and joined the Urban Transportation Department at the City of Austin as assistant director and quickly ascended to public works director in 1988.
In 1994, Stockton returned to TTI and earned his doctorate from Texas A&M. He worked his way to TTI deputy director and was recognized over the years with numerous awards and honors, including the Charley V. Wootan Award for Career Achievement in Research in 2014, being named a Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow in 2017 and — most recently — the prestigious Road Hand Award from the Texas Department of Transportation in 2023.
But what sets Stockton apart — according to reception emcee Robert Wunderlich, TTI senior research engineer and director of the Center for Transportation Safety — is his deep commitment to helping others succeed.
“Those who have worked with Bill can attest to his dedication to helping them become the best they can be, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and providing support when needed,” Wunderlich said. “Stockton’s ability to inspire and guide others has had a profound impact on the lives and careers of those around him, including myself.”
In addition to Wunderlich, several TTIers and friends — past and present — spoke at the reception to reflect on their relationship with Bill over the years, including Dennis Christiansen, Ginger Goodin, Terri Parker, Joe Blaschke (Bill’s roommate at Texas A&M), David Ellis and Cathy Reiley. Their stories of working with Bill followed a similar tone and spoke to the quality of Bill’s character and how each of them was better off — both personally and professionally — for having had the chance to know and work with him.
“The people in this room and specifically Bill personify why a lot of us have chosen to work at TTI for a long time,” noted TTI Agency Director Emeritus Dennis Christiansen, whose relationship with Bill spans well over 50 years. “It’s not only a group of people who are extremely talented technically but also a group of people that you feel good being associated with.”
Today, Stockton is continuing his life of service as the chief operating officer of Blue Forge Alliance, a non-profit supporting the Navy’s efforts to build a new fleet of submarines. His career has been marked by extraordinary achievements, but it is his dedication to others that truly sets him apart and makes him a special person worth celebrating.
Although Bill won’t be going far, he left his TTI family with a heartfelt Celtic blessing as he ended his retirement reception, “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand … and let’s have lunch some time.”
TTI thanks Bill for his countless years of service and wishes him nothing but joy and happiness in his newest endeavor!