Bill GrossB.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 1952. Aviation Consultant and Retired President, Douglas Aircraft Co./McDonnell Douglas Corp.
As chief designer for the DC-9 jet airliner and program manager for the wide-body DC-10 jet airliner, Bill Gross was instrumental in the evolution of the aviation industry. He also led efforts with the United Auto Workers (union that also represents aerospace employees) to initiate profit sharing, employee involvement, and quality-improvement measures.
In addition to his work on the DC-9 and DC-10, Gross designed systems for and coordinated the development of the early DC-7 transport plane in the 1950s and the MD-80 and MD-11 jet airliners in the 1980s. He became president in 1987 and retired two years later.
After decades with the Douglas Aircraft Co./McDonnell Douglas Corp., Gross stays active in the industry as a worldwide consultant. He also is a member of the board of P2S Engineering, Inc., a consulting engineering and commissioning firm. While Gross’s technical contributions to aviation are significant, he cites another aspect of his accomplishments that provide great personal meaning.
"I'm most proud of helping to make major advances in transportation, which had the effect of bringing people together," he says. "When you can fly across the ocean and look someone in the eye, he is no longer a stranger."