Hpac 407 Bill Swan

BACnet Pioneer William Swan Dies

June 7, 2011
Former BACnet Committee chairman and long-time Alerton building-standards engineer William “BACnet Bill” Swan died June 4.

Former BACnet Committee chairman and long-time Alerton building-standards engineer William “BACnet Bill” Swan died June 4 at John Muir Medical Center in Concord, Calif.

According to a message from his family on his blog, The BAC Cave, "His illness was unexpected, but his passing was peaceful and in the presence of his family."

Swan was instrumental in the development and adoption of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135, BACnet: A Data Communication Protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks, which provides mechanisms by which computerized equipment can exchange information regardless of building service. He was a prolific author of white papers and articles, including for HPAC Engineering, and a highly sought speaker for BACnet meetings and other events, which took him around the world.

“Bill had a truly global vision when it came to evangelizing the BACnet standard," Alex Radovan, general manager for Alerton and Trend Control Systems, said. "If he wasn’t in the BAC Cave in Redmond (Wash.), he was jetting out for industry events in Berlin or Bangalore or Beijing. 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. He worked as a senior software engineer until 2000, when his focus changed to nurturing the emerging BACnet standard. In June 2004, he began a four-year stint as committee chair. During his term, the number of committee working groups grew to 11, covering areas such as lighting, elevator systems, access control, energy utility/building integration (Smart Grid), and wireless communications.

Until his death, Swan was an active member of the BACnet committee and a number of related groups. He 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. Recently, he 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. Also, he served on the government-sponsored Smart Grid development team and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Smart Grid Interoperability Panel, representing commercial-building energy consumers.

Swan is survived by his parents; his wife, Kathleen; and two daughters.