William R. Jones, CEO of Solar Atmospheres, was presented with an ASM Distinguished Life Membership Award in October 2016 at ASM's annual event held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The ASM Distinguished Life Membership is conferred on those leaders who have devoted their time, knowledge and abilities to the advancement of the materials industries. Jones received this award with the following citation: "For innovations in the field of vacuum furnace technology and applying this technology to enhance metallurgical thermal processes around the world."
Jones holds a degree in electrical technology from the Pennsylvania State University. His entire career has been associated with the development and application of electromechanical products, and since 1962 with vacuum heat treating furnaces. He holds numerous patents in this field and has long been associated with ASM, Metal Treating Institute, and related technical organizations.
He received the Philadelphia Chapter Delaware Valley Metals Man of the Year Award in 1988 and the Philadelphia Chapter William Hunt Eisenman Award in 1992. Jones is a Fellow of ASM International (1989) and is the recipient of the ASM International William Hunt Eisenman Award (1995), the ASM Heat Treating Society's George H. Bodeen Heat Treating Achievement Award (2005) and the Metal Treating Institute Heritage Award (2013).
Jones founded Vacuum Furnace Systems Corporation (1978), Solar Atmospheres (1983), a commercial vacuum heat treating company with plants in Eastern Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, Southern California and Greenville, South Carolina; Solar Atmospheres Manufacturing (2002), a vacuum furnace manufacturing company; and VPS (2016), a vacuum pump service and rebuild company. Jones' children and grandchildren (third generation) are active in the Solar family of companies.