About Bill

Meet Bill Foster

Designing, building, and managing some of the most advanced research machines in science, and creating a successful multimillion dollar business from scratch are some of the highlights of Bill Foster’s career. A career with dedication and enthusiasm to make changes for the better and bringing progress by problem solving, innovation, hard work, and commitment. Bill has devoted his energy to making important scientific progress and to building a business that has created jobs for hundreds of people in the United States — and now Bill is committed to working hard for people here in the 14th Congressional District in Illinois.

SCIENCE: Bill came to the Fox Valley in 1984 to raise his family and to pursue an exciting scientific career at Fermilab, home of the world’s most powerful particle accelerators. During his 22 years at Fermilab he participated in leading-edge scientific research, designed and built state-of-the-art physics experiments, and led teams of people to help build Fermilab’s giant particle accelerators.

BUSINESS: Before coming to Fermilab, Bill was a successful businessman. When he was 19, Bill and his younger brother started a business from scratch in their basement. Starting with $500 from their parents, they built a company that now manufactures over half of the theater lighting equipment in the United States. Their equipment is used on Broadway shows, Rolling Stones tours, the great Opera houses, half-time shows at the Super-Bowl, and at churches, schools, and community theaters throughout the country. Their company sells millions of dollars of equipment around the world and provides over 500 good jobs – with good pay and benefits – here in the Midwest.

FAMILY: Bill’s father was trained as a chemist but spent much of his career as a civil rights lawyer. He wrote much of the enforcement code (federal regulations) behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the part that denied federal funds to school systems that refused to let black and white kids go to the same school. Bill’s mother worked in the office of Illinois Senator Paul H. Douglas, which is where she met Bill’s father. His mom came from a long line of inventors, but worked in her career to help law enforcement officers get college degrees, and to help college students become cops.

Bill’s children Billy and Christine were born and raised in the Fox Valley. His son Billy graduated from Batavia High school, received a BA in Math and Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, and now works for Tomotherapy, Inc. a leading medical imaging and radiation therapy firm. Bill’s daughter Christine went to schools in Batavia and attended the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora. She is now a sophomore majoring in biochemistry at Stanford University.

ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY: In 1984 Bill Foster came to the communities of the Fox Valley in to raise his family and to work at the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at Fermilab. Over the next 22 years he lived and raised his family in each of the “Tri-Cities” along the Fox River: Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles. Today he lives in western Geneva.

EDUCATION: Bill was born in 1955 in Madison, Wisconsin and received his BA in Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975 and his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 1984. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, received the Rossi Prize for Cosmic Ray Physics for the discovery of the neutrino burst from Supernova SN1987a, received the Particle Accelerator Technology Prize from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and was awarded an Energy Conservation award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his invention and application of permanent magnets for Fermilab’s accelerators.