William J. Bonenberger 7W9, vice chairman of the board of trustees since 2005, was unanimously elected chairman by the board at their September meeting.
Bonenberger, who joined the board in 2003, had been serving as the acting board chairman after the passing of longtime board chairman Wayne C. Watson 4W8 on July 10.
Richard W. Lighty, chair of the board’s Governance Committee, said “There is no one more qualified than Bill Bonenberger to continue the transformational work begun by Wayne Watson. Bill is a Williamson man heart and soul and for the last decade he has dedicated his time and talent to assuring that Williamson College of the Trades moves into the 21st century with the same vigor and commitment that characterized its inception a century ago. The trustees of Williamson have always served because they believed in the vision of Isaiah V. Williamson and the mission of the school he founded. There is no board anywhere more committed to making the world a better place by training men of competence and character and there is no one better fit to lead that board than Bill Bonenberger.”
President Michael J. Rounds said, “I am very excited about Bill being elected board chairman. He is bright, dedicated, full of good ideas, and has a great love for Williamson College of the Trades. I am very impressed with his abilities after having worked side by side with him these past three years. He was an outstanding vice chairman and has proved himself once again as acting chairman. The future of Williamson certainly looks bright with him as the chairman.”
Bonenberger said, “It has been an honor to serve on Williamson’s board the last 13 years. Being appointed chairman by a group of my peers that I have the utmost admiration and respect for and have worked side by side with is something I can’t express in words. I know that with that honor comes great responsibility to ensure that Mr. Williamson’s mission will continue to flourish and change young men’s lives for generations to come, as it has for the last 128 years. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with my colleagues on the board and our president and administration to continue moving Williamson forward.”
Bonenberger serves on the board’s Advancement and Executive Committees and as a member of the Search Committee helped select Williamson’s last two presidents. He also sits in on most committee meetings and fills in when a committee chairman is absent. Currently, his company, W.B. Homes, Inc., is providing the construction management for the building of Watson Dorm, Williamson’s first new dorm since 1912.
For many years, Bill participated both financially and as a worker in Williamson’s annual mission trips to the Dominican Republic where a team of students and alumni spent nearly 12 years building a hospital from the ground up. He also participated in Williamson’s first mission trip to El Salvador. He has served as his class’ fund chair and also serves on the Brick Shop Advisory Committee.
After graduating from Williamson, where he studied masonry and was in the tech program, Bonenberger spent six years at Toll Brothers. Working in various capacities, including estimating and project management, he learned the homebuilding business from one of the area’s housing leaders. This experience and his Williamson education gave him the confidence to go out on his own.
In 1986, he founded his own home building and land development company, W.B. Homes, Inc., of North Wales, Pa. The company specializes in acquiring and developing its own land on which it builds upscale single family, townhome, and carriage home communities throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties. His first employee was his fiancé and soon to be wife, Janet, and they still work closely today managing the operations of the company.
W.B. Homes celebrated its 30th anniversary in June and has built in excess of 75 communities and more than 2,500 homes. The company builds an average of 100-150 homes per year, employs 48 full-time employees, and another 100-150 subcontractors on a typical day. W.B. Homes has grown into one of the top 10 builders in the greater Philadelphia area and one of the top two or three privately held homebuilders. Over the years W.B. Homes has received many prestigious awards from the Home Builders Association of Bucks and Montgomery Counties and the Montgomery County Planning Commission.
W.B. Homes has received many prestigious awards from both the Home Builders Association of Bucks and Montgomery Counties and the Montgomery County Planning Commission.
Bonenberger is a member of Williamson’s Wanamaker Society, made up of those who have made a commitment to Williamson’s long-term future through wills or planned gifts. He is the recipient of the board’s I.V. Williamson Award and the Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year and Distinguished Alumnus Awards.
He was recently honored with the Bishop’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Marian Catholic High School (Archdiocese of Allentown).