Dr. Woolsey’s Legacy

Operations Research came to the Colorado School of Mines with Professor Gene Woolsey’s arrival in 1969. He specialized in applied optimization– “ruthlessly applied,” he would say. He was equally well known for his dedication to his graduate students, and correspondingly presided over scores of MS and PhD theses during his tenure. Sadly, Gene passed away in 2015, but left behind a long legacy of tradition in solving problems such that the answer could actually be used. A complete obituary can be found here.

We are fortunate to have many loyal alumni, most of whom were influenced directly by Gene himself, who have generously donated to The Operations Research with Engineering program, which became official in 2011. We highlight two donors here.

Dr. David Baker, PhD ’80

Dr. David Baker came to Mines for his PhD in operations research in 1978 under a two-year fellowship and teaching position with Dr. Woolsey. After receiving his PhD in mineral economics with a specialization in operations research in 1980, Dr. Baker began making annual gifts to the program, supplying important ways to fund purchases and student support that cannot come from grants. He has also volunteered as a guest speaker, helping operations research students gain a long view of their potential careers.

Post Mines, Dr. Baker took on operations leadership roles in the oil, space, telecom, construction, lodging and solar fields. Over the years, he has garnered several prestigious recognitions and awards. He was asked to give the commencement address at Tusculum College in May of 2016. In 2017, the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) presented him with the Captains of Industry Award for his work at DirecTV where he served as senior vice president of field services for AT&T. In that capacity, Dr. Baker oversaw the company’s national network of installation and service providers and was charged with improving the operational efficiency and quality of the customer experience. Previously, Dr. Baker served as executive vice president and COO for On Command Corp. and as CFO and COO for DirecTV Japan. He recently retired from Sunrun, the nation’s largest solar company, where he was a senior vice president of operations.

Read his article in Mines@150 2022 Update Report.


Bill Bartow, MS ’75

Bill Bartow had hoped for a career in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers like his father, a civil engineer. Bartow’s family military service dates back to the Revolutionary War. His grandfather was an Army leader who received a Bronze Star for Valor. His father attended the Citadel, served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and later taught military science at several universities. And his mother was a W.A.V.E—Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, formed to help free up male sailors for sea duty. This military tradition pushed Mines to his top choice for college over Texas A&M and the Citadel because the school trained graduates for the Corps of Engineers. With two years of compulsory ROTC, he knew he’d graduate ready for military leadership. However, he learned he had a large tumor in his right ear, which eventually made him deaf. Surgeries didn’t improve the condition. He was discharged from ROTC during his junior year. A medical issue may have derailed his military dream, but thanks to Mines and Dr. Woolsey, he was able to follow his father into a lifelong career as an engineer.

“Dr. Woolsey was a character,” he said. “He was a fantastic storyteller and a great listener. He was also brilliant. He made you think about solving problems the easy way, to think about things differently and take new approaches. When I graduated, I was extremely versatile, and I attribute a great part of that to him.”

Post Mines, Bartow spent 32 years with Exxon. He did computerized mine planning, geophysics modeling, exploration planning and economic mine evaluations, writing computer programs and creating maps along the way. He survived multiple mergers and division shut-downs until he retired in 2009.

In 2022, Bartow made an estate gift to three Mines programs: endowed scholarships for the Operations Research with Engineering graduate program and the Mining Engineering department and an endowed fund for the Arthur Lakes Library.


These funds provide tuition assistance and travel opportunities for our graduate students. We thank the donors for their generous support, and we thank the Mechanical Engineering Department under which the program is primarily housed.