William “Bill” Fendley, one of the Cullen College of Engineering’s most successful and committed alumni, has been named the Greater Houston 2013 Engineer of the Year.
Fendley received the award from the Houston Engineers Week Committee, which bases its selection on the vote of past award winners. He will be recognized at the Gala Houston Engineers Week Banquet, set for Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Hilton Post Oak.
Fendley earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Cullen College in 1971. In 1980, he and fellow college alumnus Odis Cobb founded Cobb, Fendley & Associates. In the 33 years since, the company has grown into one of the region’s largest and most successful privately held civil engineering firms. It now boasts approximately 180 employees in seven cities in Texas and New Mexico and offers services in more than a dozen sectors including construction management, utility solutions, site development, natural gas and pipeline design and municipal engineering.
Roughly three years ago, Fendley and Cobb both sold their stakes in the company to its employees. They both now serve on the firm’s board of directors. “Rather than an outside sale, one of our goals was to sell to the employees and hopefully continue what we had started,” said Fendley. “It was very important to them and to us to keep the same culture.”
In addition to his success as a businessman, Fendley has been active in professional organizations. He is a past president of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and of its Houston Chapter and is chairman of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Fendley is also an ardent supporter of the University of Houston. He is a past president of the college’s Engineering Alumni Association, which recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. He is also a former board member of UH Alumni Association and current member of the college’s Civil Engineering Advisory Board and the Dean’s Leadership board.
In addition to being generous with his time, Fendley has provided significant financial support to the college, including helping endow the multiple scholarship funds that have supported the education of dozens of students.
“If the University of Houston hadn’t been there I would probably not have been able to go to college. My parents couldn’t have afforded to send me off,” Fendley said. “But the fact is that it was there, that I could work part time, go to school and get a quality engineering degree. If it hadn’t been for the University of Houston, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I feel very strongly about the university and particularly the college of engineering. I try to give back, try to help out wherever I can.”