2011 William Roe, BSCHM'76
2011 Alumni Merit Award Recipient
William J. Roe, BSCHM'76
September 13, 2011
William “Bill” J. Roe is President and Chief Executive Officer of Coskata, an organization with a vision to develop, commercialize and license cutting-edge technologies designed to create jobs and reduce the world’s dependency on petroleum.
A native Nebraskan, Bill was born in Holdrege and graduated from Fremont High School. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Creighton University in 1976 and a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1978. Bill joined Nalco Chemical Company in Chicago the same year, beginning a 29-year career with the world’s largest provider of industrial water treatment chemicals. During his 11 years in the research and development division, he was credited with 13 patents and authored numerous technical articles and papers. In 1989 he transitioned to business operations and held various management positions. In 1998 he was elected an officer of the company, charged with overseeing Nalco’s Asia/Pacific operations. He was named President and Chief Executive Officer in 2001, retiring in 2006.
Since 2007, Bill has headed the biotech-oriented Coskata, whose long-term plans are to promote environmentally sustainable energy solutions. The company has developed a low-cost process producing biofuels and other chemical products from renewable feedstock material. Coskata will be one of the first to build a refinery to produce cellulosic ethanol, a low-cost fuel that converts wood waste and residuals, rather than utilizing feedstock materials from the food chain. Massachusetts Institute of Technology named Coskata one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world.
Bill is passionate about the use of technology to improve the human condition. He credits the Jesuit ideals of Creighton with instilling in him the desire to always seek the “more” when serving others. He recently joined the Advisory Board of Creighton’s Energy Technology Program, where he brings his expertise in technology and energy-related businesses to bear on issues impacting the program. Bill and his wife, Kathy, a 1976 graduate of Creighton, live in Naperville, Illinois.
It is with great pride that Creighton University bestows upon William J. Roe the 2011 Alumni Merit Award for the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences.