Mason G. Lockwood


Mason G. Lockwood

Civil Engineer – Builder – Administrator – Consultant – Teacher – Electrical Engineer

Coastal Engineering – Water Resources – Municipal Projects – Airports

Thirtieth National Honor Member Nominated by the University of Texas Chapter

An iron-bound, chronological listing of Mason Lockwood’s career engagements does scant justice to the very human attributes that have been its matrix; and yet, to do full justice to the scope of it leaves the biographer without much choice. A native of Texas, Lockwood was born at Manor, Texas (close by and northeast of Austin), on April 24, 1903. He attended high school at Taylor, near Austin; and at Collinsville, Texas, near the Oklahoma border, north of Dallas.

Fascinated from the first by civil engineering work, especially construction, he favored summer jobs in the construction field – anything from water boy for a construction gang to mule skinner. He drove a Fresno team, doing grading work and later a dump wagon, hauling hot-mix asphalt for street paving. His three and one-half years at Austin College were interrupted by two years of teaching in public schools; and then he transferred his credits to Rice Institute (now Rice University), from which he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1927.

Although his first love was a determination to build things, one should record, however, that a love that strengthened and paralleled his career did gain substance the year following his graduation as a “bachelor”. On October 10, 1928, he was married to Miss Mae Hobson. Their children are the twins Robert and Shirley, born in 1930, and Tommy, who came all by himself in 1942. Mrs. Lockwood often “rode the circuit” with Mason, to society conventions, and fellow members and their wives looked forward to seeing the “team”.

For eight years following his graduation, he was with the Houston Lighting & Power Company and its affiliates on construction work, at first as “ground man”, then a labor foreman. Next, he was assistant electrical superintendent on the construction of a steam electric plant. After a few years he was “dragged by the heels” (by his chief engineer) into the “office”. There he served his company as an engineer and later as office manager in the engineering department. Most of his assignments there were special engineering and economic studies for the management.

In March, 1935, with J. R. Dowdell and William M. Andrews, Mason Lockwood established the firm of Dowdell, Lockwood & Andrews. Lockwood looked back on his jumping into consulting engineering in the midst of the great depression with qualifications consisting essentially of an abundance of youthful confidence, as astonishing effrontery at best and near fraud at worst. Upon withdrawal of Mr. Dowdell in 1936, the firm name was changed to Lockwood & Andrews. Frank H, Newnam, Jr., president of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1969, became partner in 1946, and the name of the firm was changed to Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam in 1956. Permanent offices are maintained in Houston, Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Beaumont, Texas. As a leading influence in his firm, Mr. Lockwood was closely identified with many important developments in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. At the beginning of World War II, his firm was architect-engineer for the design and construction of supervision of the $16,000,000 San Jacinto Ordnance Depot.

Among his other important civil, structural, industrial, and public works developments have been far-reaching studies in coastal engineering, many water resource, and other municipal engineering undertakings, airports, industrial plants, buildings, and pipelines.

During World War II and almost continuously afterwards, he participated in the design and construction supervision of many establishments for the army, navy, and air force, mostly in the United States, but some overseas. These have included airfields, ordnance depots, fueling facilities, wharves, docks, and industrial plants for the manufacture of ordnance materials. As head of his firm, he commanded a permanent staff of 185 or more.

Mason Lockwood was a member of the American Institute of Consulting Engineers, Consulting Engineers Council, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and many other organizations. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers since 1941, and his committee work included the chairmanship of the Committee on Conditions of Practice and membership on the Committee of Technical Sessions. He represented the society on the AIA-ASCE Cooperative Committee and later as chairman of the Task Committee on Honorary Member Election Procedure. His long service in the Texas Section included terms as director, vice-president, and president. In 1957, he served as the eighty-sixth president of the national society.

Mr. Lockwood had a wide interest in civil affairs and was especially prominent on public service committees dealing with the water needs of his area. He served on the Board of Governors of Rice University and devoted much rime to its building problems. He was equally devoted to the welfare of the University of Houston, and gave much time to its activities.

A registered civil and electrical engineer in Texas, Mason Lockwood was also licensed to practice in a number of other states. He had the following professional affiliations: American Institute of Consulting Engineers (president in 1963); American Road Builders Association (director, 1963-65); Engineering Institute of Canada; Houston Engineering & Scientific Society (past secretary and past director); Texas Society of Professional Engineers (president, 1950 and “Engineer of the Year” for his chapter, 1955). Other affiliations of significance were: The Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.; Houston Chamber of Commerce (president, 1959); Houston Club (past secretary and past director); Houston Country Club; Petroleum Club (of Houston); First Presbyterian Church (elder); and The Model School of Houston, Inc. (president, 1969).

Measured against the Fraternity’s four principles, Mason Graves Lockwood stood high in the company of National Honor Members. There is inspiring evidence of a dogged persistence in learning as much of all engineering was possible (scholarship); that “his word is as good as his bond” was in the minds and on the lips of all who knew him (character); his first love and foremost aim was a determination to build things (practicality); and he possessed a genuine love of mankind, individually and in mass, that far transcends a businessman’s need for remunerative contracts (sociability). The University of Texas chapter of Chi Epsilon elected him as one of its Chapter Honor Members and the Supreme Council elected him as the Fraternity’s thirtieth National Honor Member.

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