Bill Clougher        

Electrical Engineering        Raytheon

Here's my story since leaving dear old RPI.  Started work that summer ('73) at Westinghouse in Baltimore, MD in the Instrument Landing Systems group.  Things didn't last long there as they really didn't have any work for me.  So I spent 3 months reading specs and being a spell and grammar checker.  Not a good start for most engineers.  I decided to leave after about 4 months and went back to Boston to start over and in no time at all found a great starting position at Raytheon Company in the Equipment Division.  I have been with Raytheon ever since and the time has just flown by.  It's hard to realize that 35 years have passed, but here we are.  I never married or anything but have stayed very close to my brother Tom who is married and has 4 fantastic children.  But he can tell you all about them.  At Raytheon I have had tremendously interesting jobs from working in the 70's on our own custom designed 64 bit single board computers and mass memory designs to being the Chief Engineer on the development of a new Personal Rapid Transit transportation system.  In between I have worked in radiation hardened circuit design and semiconductor design, developed plated wire memories for strategic weapons systems (ICBMs), Star Tracking gimballed inertial guidance system electronics and all digital antenna position control systems for shipboard and aircraft installations. 

As I mentioned one of my most exciting positions was as the chief engineer for the PRT transpotation system.  We built a 1/3 mile elevated guideway test track at our Raytheon facility in Marlborough, MA along with 3 all electric automatically controlled vehicles and the entire Automatic Vehicle Control system to control and run the transit system.  The system consisted of small 4 passenger personal vehicles that took you on your trip from origin to destination without stopping at other stations.  This was accomplished by putting all stations off the main line guideway.  The stations are all positioned like a rest area on a highway with an offramp exit and entrance ramp to get back on the main guideway.  So if you don't need to stop at particular station,  the control system bypasses that station and contnues you on your trip until you need to get off.  Pretty cool I must say.  We were contracted by the Northern Illinois Regional Transit Authority to develop and build the prototype with the eventual plan to install a 3.2 mile system in Rosemont Illinois just outside O'Hare AP.  We were successful in making the prototype a success but couldn't in the end convince the NI RTA to buy the Rosemont installation.  So about 7 years of incredible hard work for myself and the team went down the tubes.  The main problem was the system cost increased over the years and we ran into a Mayoral election fiasco in Chicago.  We tried marketing this to Disney and Las Vegas but nobody wanted to be the first to install such a new innovative system.  Everyone was waiting to see how Rosemont came out and that never happened. So we disbanded the entire project. 

After the PRT job I decided to try my hand at Program Mangement.  Actually I didn't decide but was given this new role as a challenge, kind of OJT.  I started with the JPALS program out of Hanscom AFB and we developed an automated landing system using GPS reference stations on the ground.  This replaces the older Instrument landing sytems that use RF beacons to guide a plane in an approach.  The JPALS system being a military product had the additional challenge of working in the presence of many enemy jammers.  We developed a new high anti-jam GPS reciever and also used other military GPS recievers and built a development system to run operability tests.  So I spent the summer of 2001 out a Holloman AFB where we ran large numbers of test flights in jamming and landed several type planes including a FedEx 747 with handsoff autoland right down to the runway.  This job ended because the DoD didn't have the money the outfit all the airplanes necessary to replace the old ILS equipment.  The program went on hiatus and is just now coming back as a new acquisition program.  Raytheon is competing to win but I won't go back and be the PM.  The current PM job I have is as the Deputy PM for the development of Communications equipment foir the new Future Surface Combatant Destroyer know as the Zumwalt Class Destroyer.  Raytheon has the contract to develop and build all the Combat Systems for the Zumwalt Destroyer.  We are building this equipment now with first shiptrials planned for 2010.  It takes a log time to build the Hull and machinery components, that piece being done by Bath Iron Works and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.  So now you are up to date on my career.  I won't be able to attend the reunion because my twin niece and nephew (Tom's youngest) are graduating that same weekend.  I would like to see some of the old gang but maybe another time.  I can certainly say that RPI was a great place to get a start.  The education was great and is recognized everywhere as a great school.