Bill Nelson graduated from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1957 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. He enjoyed a successful career as a sales engineer and manager with Humble Oil and Refining Company. He returned to Ouachita Parish in 1966 to operate the family business, W.B. Nelson Lumber Company, Inc., which he currently operates with his sons as Nelson & Sons, Inc. His commitment to advanced design and manufacture of wood packaging equipment led to three patents.
Mr. Nelson has enthusiastically supported Louisiana Tech University and the College of Engineering and Science throughout his career. He was a director of the Engineering Foundation on two different occasions, serving as its president for three years. Under his leadership, the foundation's assets increased significantly. He went on to provide similar leadership to the Louisiana Tech University Foundation, serving as a director, chairman of the annual fund drive, vice president, and president. During his tenure as president the foundation undertook a successful $50 million "Centennial Quest for Quality" development campaign in conjunction with the university's centennial celebration in 1994. In recognition of his achievements and service to the university, Mr. Nelson has been named Alumnus of the Year for the College of Engineering and Science and the University and he has received the Centennial Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Tower Medallion Award.
In addition to his service to the University, Mr. Nelson has an outstanding record of effective service in civic, professional, and religious affairs. He has served in many influential civic and economic development positions in the region, including the West Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission, the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce and the Ouachita Economic Development Corporation. He served as director and president of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association. An active member and deacon at First Baptist Church, West Monroe, Mr. Nelson was chairman of the building committee for the $14.4 million building expansion at his church.