Dick (R. B.) Williamson


After earning a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from Northwestern University, Dick served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Vietnam War. In 1971, he joined T.D. Williamson (TDW) as a plastics engineer. He also worked as an HT&P technician and in positions where he worked directly with customers. In a 2014 interview with Pipelines International magazine, he said those early days gave him invaluable insight into the industry. “It was my days in the ditch, on the pipeline and in the plant that taught me about the heart of the industry we serve.” “I worked alongside people who cared for pipelines as their vocation.” “I was learning the heart of the industry as it is experienced by the people whose days – and nights – revolved around assuring that the pipeline operated safely and that its customers were being served.”  

Dick was named executive vice president and chief operations officer in 1981, with the responsibility for marketing, manufacturing and services. Dick became president and chief executive officer in 1992. Under Dick’s leadership TDW grew to more than 35 operating locations based in 14 countries. In 1994, he became chairman of the board, a position that he held until 2016, when he was named chairman emeritus.

Throughout his career, Dick has been involved in a variety of industry organizations, most notably as a founding Executive Committee member and chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Pipeline System Division (PSD). He assisted in forming ASME’s International Petroleum Technology Institute (IPTI), later serving as vice president of the institute. He also played a key role in organizing and supporting engineering professional and career development programs by serving on a number of PSD, IPTI and ASME committees and task forces. He was instrumental in expanding ASME’s global industry outreach through the formation of the ASME/Pipeline System’s Sister Conferences: Rio Pipeline (Rio de Janeiro), The International Offshore Pipeline Forum (Houston, Texas) and the India Oil and Gas Pipeline Conference. Dick was elected a Fellow of ASME in 2009.

In addition to his service to ASME, Dick was chair of the Gas Appliance Manufacturing Association – General Equipment Division (GAMA/GED), which supports the deployment of equipment and technical services to the U.S. gas distribution industry’s medium and high pressure natural gas pipelines. He helped transition the GED division to the American Gas Association (AGA), where it became the Operations Equipment Services Associates (OESA) section. He later chaired OESA.

Dick participated in framing the core elements of the U.S. in-line inspection (ILI) system, working in concert with the American Petroleum Institute (API), National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). Through his role as a board member of the American Gas Foundation (AGF), he worked with industry leaders, as well as state and federal pipeline safety regulators, to build the foundational elements for the Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) pipeline standard.

Dick is the recipient of the ASME IPC Lifetime Achievement Award, the Pipeline and Gas Journal Lifetime Achievement Award, The Pipeline + Energy Expo Lifetime Achievement Award, The Salvation Army’s William Booth Award and an inductee in the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum Hall of Fame.


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