William J. Brotherton
William J. Brotherton was born on New Year's Day in 1950, the first baby born for that year in Spartanburg, South Carolina. For that accomplishment, his mother received a year's supply of cloth diapers. Fleeing a polio epidemic, the young family settled in Atlanta, Georgia, where William grew up amidst the railroads of the South, often hopping freight trains into downtown in order to hang out in the city's two beautiful downtown railroad terminals (long ago demolished).
After moving to North Dakota in 1977, he graduated from the University of North Dakota, home of the proud Fighting Sioux. He went to work for the Burlington Northern Railroad and lived his dream of railroading in the days of the caboose. He was promoted to trainmaster for the Colorado & Southern Railway, moved to Denver, and while conducting investigations as a trainmaster, began to think about becoming an attorney. He took a buyout from the railroad in 1982 and moved to coastal Georgia. In 1985, while having cocktails with his wife Deborah at Jekyll Island, Georgia, she mentioned that she might like to move to Texas, because she always loved the show "Dallas". That was all it took to pack and move to Texas, where he went to work for HDR Engineering. While working for HDR, he received his MS in Environmental Science at the University of Texas at Dallas.
In addition to railroading and environmental engineering, William has worked as an oilfield roughneck in Montana, driven tractor-trailers, operated wastewater treatment plants, treated terminal patients as a respiratory therapist, built high-rises as a commercial carpenter, and taught environmental law at both Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. He graduated from Texas Wesleyan (now Texas A&M School of Law) in 1994 at the ripe old age of 44. He started his own firm, the Brotherton Law Firm in 1997, and it has now grown to five attorneys. The firm focuses on complex civil litigation but William still keeps his hand in railroading by serving as the general counsel for the Museum of the American Railroad, one of the top five railroad museums in the country. He recently spoke at the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums' annual convention in Montreal. He is currently scheduled to speak at the National Railroad Historical Society's annual convention in Rutland, Vermont in the summer of 2015.
He works at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta every year – 2015 will be his 11th year. For those of you who can make it to the Masters, look William up on the 14th hole, just after Amen Corner. He might be on one of the crosswalks or perhaps working the green. Every May, he returns to play Augusta National and the course next door, Augusta Country Club. He loves those pimento cheese sandwiches!
He is a member of the Sokokie St. Francis Band of the Abenaki Nation in Swanton, Vermont. He has been working with members of the St. Regis Mohawks in New York State in an effort to start up a tribal owned casino in Vermont.
His next book, "(I Really Was) The Altar Boy of the Year", about growing up in small-town Atlanta, is planned for a 2015 release.