Montana State University

MSU graduate inducted into Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame

November 5, 2009 -- MSU News


Willis J. Wetstein, a graduate of Montana State University's civil engineering department and member of MSU's Order of the Engineer, was inducted into the Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame on Nov. 4.   High-Res Available

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A graduate of Montana State University's civil engineering department and member of MSU's Order of the Engineer was inducted into the Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame on Nov. 4.

The Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Montana Society of Engineers to honor engineers who made significant contributions to the development of Montana and the engineering profession. The Hall of Fame is housed at MSU's College of Engineering in Bozeman.

Willis J. Wetstein is this year's inductee. A plaque honoring him will be added to the Hall of Fame.

Wetstein has been a civil engineer for Morrison-Maierle, Inc. since 1957. He rose from wastewater engineer-in-training to president and CEO. His career of service and leadership has been dedicated to the advancement of water supply and wastewater engineering, the promotion of public health and a quality environment in Montana, the western United States and developing countries.

Wetstein designed and supervised numerous milestone projects in Montana for water supply, wastewater treatment, and storm water systems. Those projects include one of Montana's first non-discharging wastewater treatment facilities at Glacier National Park lakeside resorts in 1973, Montana's largest oxidation ditch wastewater treatment plant at Miles City in 1981 and a regional stormwater system for the growing west Billings area in 1961.

He is chairman and principal author of the first edition of the Montana Public Works Standard Construction Specifications and co-contributor to the original Water Well Construction Specifications adopted by the Montana Water Well Drillers Association.

Wetstein was the project principal for one of the largest rural water system projects in the United States--the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System--on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

He was also the project principal for the development of a rural water supply and sanitation project in Lesotho, Africa. Sponsored by U.S. Agency for International Development, it supplied water to 250 villages and 400,000 people.

As a charter member of Carroll College Engineering Advisory Board, Wetstein helped establish an accredited civil engineering curriculum for the college in 1996. He is a professional mentor for the Carroll College chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Wetstein is a member of National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). He is a member of the Montana Society of Engineers and was awarded Outstanding Young Engineer by the Helena Chapter of MSE in 1967.

He is a member of the Montana chapter of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and was given the George W. Fuller Award in 1979 and the Life Member Award in 1997 by that group.

Wetstein was president of the Montana section of the Water Environment Association (WEA) from 1974-1975 and the national director from 1980 to 1983. He was given the Arthur S. Bedell Award in1985 and the Life Member Award in 2000 by WEA.

WEA / AWWA presented Wetstein with the Lifetime Achievement Award for service and leadership in 2005.

Previous inductees into the Montana Professional Engineers Hall of Fame include John H. Morrison, Ben F. Hurlbut, W. Paul Schmechel, Leland J. Walker, Harold S. "Sonny" Hanson, Robert L. Sanks, Eldon R. Dodge and Joseph A. Maierle.

The Joint Engineers Conference is an annual gathering of engineers from all disciplines and is sponsored by nine professional engineering societies. The 2009 conference will include sessions on wind, smart grids, suitable transportation, construction lien laws and battery-powered car issues. More information is available at www.mtengineers.org.

Doug Brekke, Montana Society of Engineers at 406-932-5400 or dlb@5400.tv