Stephen D. Moxley
Engineer and Visionary Industrialist
Inducted in 2015
For more than 40 years, Stephen “Steve” D. Moxley was a major player in the growth and innovation of the American Cast Iron Pipe Co., and a constant and influential presence in the civic life of his city, state and nation.
During his life, he helped bring international prominence to ACIPCO, a new industrial water supply to Birmingham as well as a full engineering school to Birmingham and, later, the Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway to Alabama.
The son of Welsh immigrants, he dropped out of high school in Birmingham to become an apprentice draftsman at the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co. Still, he passed the entrance exam to become an engineering student at The University of Alabama, completing his high school credits by correspondence well after he was enrolled in college. To pay for college, he fired the central furnace at the University and worked between terms at TCI. In college, as later in life, his energy was seemingly boundless as he helped found and lead the Theta Tau engineering fraternity and the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, all while earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering by 1922, four years after coming to Tuscaloosa.
In 1923, he joined ACIPCO as a draftsman. While there, he conceived and designed a number of machines for the production of cast-iron pressure pipe by the sand-spun process. He was also co-inventor of the centrifugal casting method of producing iron pipe using sand-lined molds, a production of super-strong, cast-iron pressure pipe. He climbed the ranks at ACIPCO and was named president in 1955, a position he held until his retirement in 1963.
A well-known engineer, Moxley is credited with numerous inventions and many technical papers, including 10 patents. He was made a fellow by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1953 for his technical achievements.
He was a member of a number of professional and civic organizations, including the State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and the National Defense Executive Reserve. He was also vice president for the national ASME organization. In 1960, he was named Birmingham’s Man of the Year.
Moxley was also an advocate for education. He led a committee in 1951 that equipped a foundry for The University of Alabama College of Engineering, and he led a drive that resulted in the first degree-granting engineering school in Birmingham, now The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering.
His civic engagement was also extensive. As president of the Warrior Tombigbee Development Association, he helped promote the successful completion of the waterway, which, though completed long after his death, is an economic engine for the Southeast and the entire country.
Moxley served eight years as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Industrial Water Committee that helped bring a new industrial water system to Birmingham. In 1958, he was elected first chairman of the city’s Industrial Water Board.
In 1966, he was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by The University of Alabama. He was inducted posthumously into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 1984 and named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by UA in 1990.