Stephen Dewey Moxley Jr.
Inducted in 2016
A prolific engineer, Stephen D. Moxley Jr. was engaged in the technical development and management of projects in the fields of computer-controlled systems, electronic and hydraulic closed-loop control, air traffic control, space telemetry equipment as well as industrial and consumer electronics, along the way growing a company in Huntsville, Alabama.
The son of an engineer, Moxley was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from The University of Alabama in electrical engineering in 1949. From there he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1950. His master’s thesis pioneered the use of acceleration feedback for stabilizing a high-performance servo mechanism.
After graduation, he worked briefly with General Electric before joining Reliance Electric and Engineering Company in 1950 in the development of industrial closed-loop control systems and special-purpose electric motors.
He joined Continental Oil Company in 1953, now ConocoPhillips, and became part of a team that developed the Vibroseis exploration technique for using seismic vibrators to survey underground that became an industry standard. Based largely on his contributions to this innovation in the field of oil exploration, he was elected a Fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1975. Moxley is credited with two patents at Conoco on cross-correlating computers and magnetic recording techniques.
In 1957, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, to work for the Avco Electronics division, AED, of Avco Corporation. The company designed and manufactured OEM electronic products for the telecommunication, office products, industrial and educational markets along with space-flight hardware and government electronics.
In his early years with AED he designed the automatic ticketing system for the then new transit system for Washington D.C. He also supervised design and development of the Volscan Air Traffic Control System and other developments in predicted-paths air traffic control. For his efforts, he is the inventor of a United States patented technology that improved air traffic control systems.
In 1963, Avco named Moxley vice president and general manager of AED, putting him in charge of a 10-person sales and electronic fabrication unit in Huntsville. While at the helm of AED, the company grew to 1,000 employees and $100 million in annual sales at the time of his death in 1987. He also oversaw international expansion with the opening of plants in Singapore and Scotland.
Moxley was named AED president in 1984, and Avco merged with Textron in 1985. AED was sold to the J.M. Huber Corporation and the name was changed to the Avex Electronics. Just before his death, the company named Avex’s headquarters after Moxley.
A registered Professional Engineer in Ohio and Alabama, Moxley authored several papers on computer control, air traffic control technology along with other subjects. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi, and was chairman of the IEEE Huntsville section.
Active in civic affairs, Moxley served on the boards of the Business Council of Alabama, Huntsville Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Council on Economic Education. He was also active in the UA engineering alumni group, the Capstone Engineering Society, serving a term as chair.