William J. Sproule, PhD, PE

Bill  Sproule
  • BS Civil Engineering 1970

Bill Sproule completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech in 1970, master of engineering at the University of Toronto, and PhD at Michigan State in 1985. He has had a career in government service, consulting engineering, and teaching and research at Mohawk College in Ontario, the University of Alberta, and Michigan State prior to returning to Michigan Tech in 1996. He is now a professor emeritus in civil and environmental engineering and continues his passion for public transit, sports stadiums, and hockey history research.

Bill’s expertise in transportation—and a love of history and rail transportation—led to a book on local streetcars published in 2013. The result of many late nights and weekend work was Copper Country Streetcars,  an illustrated 126-page journey along the vanished streetcars and lines from long ago.

“There's great satisfaction when you open the box and see all the copies,” he says. “It keeps you going for the next book project.” His second book, Houghton - The Birthplace of Professional Hockey, focuses on the local professional hockey scene.

In the twenty plus years that he was an active faculty member at Michigan Tech, Bill taught a variety of courses in transportation engineering and his research areas included airport ground access and terminal planning, traffic safety, automated people mover systems, vintage trolleys, sports stadiums, and hockey history. He has served on numerous committees and was Michigan Tech’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative for over ten years. Bill has been recognized for teaching excellence and is a member of the Michigan Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence, has received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the department’s students voted for him to receive the Howard Hill Award as an outstanding faculty member four times.

Bill has been active in several professional societies including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the Transportation Research Board. He is a former President of the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers, former Chair of the ASCE Air Transport Division, and has been recognized with the ASCE Robert Horonjeff Award for his leadership and work in airport engineering. He is currently on the executive board of the Society for International Hockey Research.

In addition to his two books, Bill has authored over 75 refereed technical papers and articles, has been the Proceedings Editor/Co-editor for eight ASCE International Conferences on Automated People Movers, two ASCE International Conferences on Air Transportation, and has made over 250 conference and meeting presentations. He is also a co-author of the fifth edition of the classic airport textbook, Planning and Design of Airports (Horonjeff, McKelvey, Sproule, and Young).