E. Towson Moore, (EE ’58) was inducted into the college’s Academy of Engineering Excellence. The Academy represents the highest honor the College of Engineering bestows on an alumnus.
A pioneer in spacecraft power equipment, Moore has served as president and CEO of Wilmore Electronics Company since its founding in 1963. The firm develops and builds equipment for scientific satellites, including Pioneer 10, which was launched in 1972, left the solar system in 1987, and now is the most distant man-made object in the universe — 8 billion miles from earth.
Moore first became interested in electrical engineering through amateur radio. When he was a teenager in the early 1950s, a ham radio operator at the local radio station in Wytheville, Va. helped him build a homemade transmitter. Like many enthusiasts, he would get up at 4 a.m. to communicate via Morse code with other hams around the world.
Moore had developed mechanical skills, developed by working on his family farm. If he wasn’t repairing the John Deere tractor or feeding the Angus beef cattle, he could be found at his father’s lumber company, helping with the retail business.
When Moore was graduated from George Wythe High School in Wytheville, the school was only an 11-year system. So he had to scramble that first quarter at Virginia Tech to keep up with his peers. But the true competitor was later inducted into three of the University’s academic honorary societies: Phi Kappa Phi, Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi.
Upon is graduation in 1958 as a Second Lieutenant, he entered the U.S. Army, serving at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. He spent a few months with Sperry Corporation designing components for inertial navigation systems. His supervisor at Sperry was a physicist with a doctorate from Duke University, and Moore decided to pursue a similar track. Duke provided him with a Shell Engineering Fellowship, making it possible for him to be a full-time student. Moore holds the distinction of being the first doctoral graduate of Duke University’s engineering college.
While in graduate school, Moore and his advisor, Thomas Wilson authored numerous technical publications and were issued several patents related to their work at Duke’s Spacecraft Power Systems Group. They cofounded Wilmore Electronics upon Moore’s graduation.
Moore has a special interest in the regional Goodwill Industries, serving as the Chairman of its Board of Directors, and in the nearby Durham Technical Community College, serving as a member of its Board of Trustees for nine years. He also served on its Foundation Board and on the Industrial Advisory Committee to its Electronics Technology Program.
Moore married Linda Lunsford in 1965. She teaches twelfth grade English and chairs the English Department at Northern High School, Durham, N.C. They have two children: Alan who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State and a master’s from Campbell University; and Jennifer who received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Duke University, and a second master’s degree from the University of Maryland.