2010 Distinguished achievement award: William Beckman

// Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tags: alumni, CEE E-Day, Engineers' Day, William Beckman

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2010beckmanwilliamawardWilliam C. Beckman
Maitland, Florida

Inspired by his father, now a UW-Madison mechanical engineering professor emeritus, William Beckman earned a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1980. “I thought civil would be good,” he says. “That way I wouldn’t have to take his class.”

During college, Beckman worked at Affiliated Engineers Inc. in Madison and moved to full time after graduation, designing building systems in the AEI plumbing, HVAC and fire protection department. In 1982, he transferred to the Gainesville, Florida, offices to serve as lead engineer for many high-profile projects.

Those who know Beckman say he believes resting on one’s laurels in not an option and he is always scanning the horizon looking for a higher mountain to climb. In 1984, he ventured out on his own as a mechanical engineer. With an electrical engineer in Tampa, Florida, he founded Tanasee & Associates, a mechanical/electrical consulting firm that delivered projects for the area’s housing authority and local school systems. It was there that Beckman designed one of the first thermal storage HVAC systems in the country.

Beckman then joined GRG Consulting Engineers in Maitland, Florida, as the lead mechanical engineer. In 1985, he was elected president and after years of many mergers and acquisitions, Beckman and partners converted the company into what is now X-nth, an international premier design engineering firm in the entertainment, hospitality, gaming, healthcare, science and mission- critical market sectors of the building industry. In late 2009, X-nth merged with TROW Global, a multinational design firm serving the entire built environment. The combined organization has nearly 100 office locations, a staff of almost 4,000 people, and annual revenues approaching $500 million.

On behalf of X-nth, Beckman contributes to many charities, including the Universal Orlando Foundation, Junior Achievement, and the Boy Scouts, to name a few. “I know Beckman” is a common phrase heard among X-nth employees when they tell others where they work. However, that recognition comes not through marketing endeavors or business dinners, but rather via his creative engineering solutions or game point in a ping-pong match.

Beckman married a UW-Madison alumna, Janet. Their eldest son, Christopher, is a University of Florida (UF) engineering graduate, former wakeboarding professional, and engineer-in-training at X-nth. Their younger son, Kyle, is an engineering student at UF and an All-American Middie lacrosse player. The adventure-seeking family enjoys good food, athletic activity and traveling to exotic places.