William P. Barker received a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from Lehigh after being told to apply to the University by successful people working in the Steel Industry. "People who were already doing well in industry told me I should go to Lehigh because the university knew how to train students in just four years to become successful business people and industry leaders. That was one reason I chose Lehigh, and I think for me and for many of my classmates, that was a true prediction," says Barker. Upon graduation, he joined National Steel and worked three decades for the company until it was bought out by U.S. Steel Corp.
Within six months of joining National Steel, Barker was designing, running and evaluating trials to reduce surface defects. In 1983, he was part of the first plant-wide group to work on quality and yield improvements. Later, he developed an automated slab quality evaluation system and supervised process optimization and productivity improvement. He is now area manager of hot mill slab yards, furnaces and finishing for U.S. Steel's Great Lakes Works in Ecorse, Michigan.
In 2000, he received the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his years of service to AIME. He once served as Chairman of the Overarching Committee of AIME