Honoring the Life and Legacy of Edward O. Watts, Sr.by Representative Brian Higgins
Posted on 2013-12-12
of new york
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to acknowledge Edward O.
Watts, Sr., director of Watts Architecture & Engineering, who passed
away on October 31, 2013 in Buffalo at the age of 70.
A native of the State of Alabama, Mr. Watts attended school there, graduating from Camden Academy. He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, and went on to gain his master's degree from Baldwin Wallace College.
Mr. Watts began his career at Lockheed Martin in Atlanta as a design engineer, and moved on to work for DuPont in Cleveland, Ohio, before being transferred to Niagara Falls. He was able to follow the American Dream and start his own business, now known as Watts Architecture & Engineering. The company began with just one employee--Mr. Watts himself--and now employs about 100 people. Recently, the firm celebrated its 25th anniversary. Mr. Watts received many business and design awards for his work, perhaps the most prominent being the U.S. Small Business Administration Graduate Firm of the Year Award in 2010.
Dedicated to giving back to communities that helped him grow, Mr. Watts was a member of the Tuskegee University Alumni Association, and frequently returned to the school to raise funds to upgrade the engineering department and for scholarships. He helped fund the Watts Family Scholarships at Alabama State University in honor of his mother, who was a graduate of the university. Mr. Watts also generously contributed to schools in his native Western New York. His company provides scholarships every year at the University at Buffalo for minority students, one for the School of Engineering and one for the School of Architecture. Mr. Watts completed the University at Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, and for more than 10 years he returned as a mentor for numerous business owners.
Mr. Watts was a member of the Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and served on its board of trustees as church treasurer. His favorite pastime was playing the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama--a passion he pursued at home as well. He organized the Watts Open Golf Tournament for his employees as well as the American Institute of Architects/American Council of Engineering Consultants of Western New York Golf Tournament.
Mr. Watts's dedication to his community was equaled by his love for his family.
Together, he and his wife of forty-four years, Lydia, raised two sons, Edward and Jonathan. Mr. Watts was close with his siblings, Dr. Vivian DeShields, Claudette Camp, Dr. Geraldine Bell, and Harold Watts.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to recognize Mr. Watts's incredible contributions to Buffalo's architecture and engineering community, as well as his admirable philanthropy. I extend my deepest condolences to his family, and am truly appreciative of all his great works.