Industry Remembers William Swan, BACnet Pioneer

William "Bill" Swan, BACnet pioneer
William "Bill" Swan, BACnet pioneer

Former BACnet Committee chairman and long time Alerton building standards engineer William “Bill” Swan passed away on Saturday, June 4, 2011.

Swan was a BACnet pioneer, supporting development and adoption of this data communication protocol for building automation and control network worldwide. He was a prolific author of white papers and articles, and a highly sought keynote speaker for BACnet meetings and engagements, which took him around the world. His blog — “The BAC Cave” — offered inside views and opinions on “the wild and wacky world of commercial building automation controls.”

“Bill had a truly global vision when it came to evangelizing the BACnet standard; if he wasn’t in the BAC Cave in Redmond, he was jetting out for industry events in Berlin or Bangalore or Beijing,” said Alex Radovan, general manager for the Alerton and Trend Control Systems businesses. “There was just so much to Bill; he had a vast interest in so many things, both personally and professionally. His colleagues have already recognized the immense void his passing has created.”

Swan started at Alerton in 1995 as a senior software engineer before changing his sole focus to nurturing the emerging BACnet standard in 2000. From there, his involvement in BACnet development committees flourished. In June, 2004, 17 years after the first BACnet meeting, Swan began his four year stint as committee chair. During his term the number of committee working groups grew to 11, pursuing areas such as support for lighting, elevator systems, access control, energy utility/building integration (Smart Grid), and wireless communications.

Right up until his passing, Swan was still a very active member of ASHRAE’s BACnet committee and a number of other related committees and organizations as well. He was a LEED AP, a Honeywell employee, managed the standardizing initiatives for Alerton’s BACnet-based building automation systems, and worked with Alerton and Trend dealers, and other groups within the Honeywell organization. Most currently, Swan was elected by BACnet Interest Group-Europe (BIG-EU) to be its vice president and help guide the direction of BACnet’s increasing role in the construction and operation of sustainable buildings. He also served on the government-sponsored Smart Grid development team and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, representing the commercial building energy consumer.