William W. (Bill) Middleton had a long history of dedicated and distinguished service in IEEE and one of its predecessor organizations, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). In 1990, the Regional Activities Board (RAB) created the William W. Middleton Award for Distinguished Service as a means to honor his achievements.
Bill was born in Bedford, Pennsylvania in 1920. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Penn State in 1947, resuming his college work after service in the United States Army Signal Corps. After graduation, he was employed by Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania in the Area Engineering Department in Harrisburg. Bill moved to company headquarters in Philadelphia in 1950, progressed through various positions, and retired in 1983 as General Business Services Engineering Manager with responsibilities for Pennsylvania and Delaware business customer premises engineering.
Prior to the formation of IEEE, Bill had been involved in various Section activities in AIEE, including being one of the founders of the Susquehanna Section, which was formed from parts of three other Sections. In addition to serving as Chair of the Susquehanna Section, he was also active nationally as Vice Chair of the AIEE Sections Committee, which carried over into the IEEE and later developed into the IEEE Regional Activities Board (RAB).
Bill was involved in almost every facet of IEEE. In the formative years of IEEE, he chaired the committee responsible for Section Chair training and led the development of the Sections Operations Guide. He was a member of the first IEEE Technical Meetings Committee and the RAB Representative on the IEEE Centennial Task Force. In the mid 1970's, Bill served as a member of the RAB United States Activities Committee (USAC), helping it develop into the United States Activities Board (USAB), where he served during its formative years of 1975-76. He again served on USAB as Comptroller in 1984-89. He held the USAB Committee Chairs in ethics, engineering licensure, awards, and opinion surveys and served on the government activities, intellectual property, and award committees and the Member and Career Activities Councils.
Involved with awards for many years, Bill served on the IEEE Awards Board, was Chair of the Awards Planning & Policy Committee and has been Chair of both the USAB and RAB Awards and Recognition Committees. He also served RAB as Chair of the Priorities and Planning Committee and the Joint RAB/TAB Chapters Committee. Bill also served in many positions in Region 2.
Bill served as Region 2 Director, member of the IEEE Board of Directors and in 1990 he served as Program Chair for Sections Congress '90.
For over 40 years Bill was a part of IEEE policy making from grass roots to Board of Directors and he saw many of his ideas come to pass, "maybe not immediately, but eventually." His advice was always, "don't worry about taking credit for things. There is more personal satisfaction in seeing them happen and knowing you had a big hand in it."