Elgin B. Robertson
Born: 4 June 1893
Early Life and Education
Elgin Barnett Robertson was born in Meridian, Texas on June 4, 1893 to Ephriam Barnett and Fanny Lee Robertson. He attended the University of Texas, where he received a degree in electrical engineering in 1915. Southern Methodist University presented him with an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1954.
Upon leaving school in 1915, Robertson went to work for Westinghouse, where he served as design engineer until 1920. For the next nine years he worked for the Railway and Industrial Engine Company, first as chief electrical engineer and then as midwest manager. In 1928 he founded his own firm in Dallas, which remains today as a manufacturer’s representative to the power utility and communications industries in the Texas and Oklahoma markets. He served as president of the firm until 1964, when he stepped into the role of chairman of the board. The business became quite lucrative under his management and Roberston became a leading citizen in Dallas, serving as a councilman, mayor pro tem of the City of Dallas (1959-63) as well as on the board of directors of the Red Bird Industrial Park and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He also served as president of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce. The 257 acre park in Dallas that bears his name is testimony to his importance in the community.
Professional Organizations and Honors
As a professional engineer, Robertson served on the board of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers from 1940-44, and as president in 1945, as well as on the board of the National Society of Professional Engineers from 1951-3. In 1960, he received the Distinguished Engineering Graduate award from the University of Texas. He was honored as a Fellow of the AIEE in 1945, and served as Director from 1947-56, and as president from 1953-4, finally becoming Director Emeritus of the IEEE (successor to the AIEE).
In 1973 Robertson received the Haradan Pratt Award for outstanding service to the IEEE, “In recognition of Elgin B. Robertson's half century of dedicated service to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, which has included his firm leadership as President of AIEE and his wise counsel as Director of AIEE and Director Emeritus of IEEE, and for his part in founding the IEEE through the union of AIEE and IRE, the Board of Directors confers this Award, established through the bequest of his friend and associate, Haraden Pratt. Attesting to the esteem with which he is held by the Institute and its members is the fact that he is one of four living members on whom the grade of Honorary Member has been conferred. Long devoted to the cause of unity among engineers, he has truly enriched the profession he has served.”