Recognizing the 50-year commemoration of National Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29), US Black Engineer magazine remembers 1992 Black Engineer – Entrepreneur Award winner Samuel Metters (1934-2021). Click here to watch the “Dr. Samuel Metters Celebration of Life” service at Shiloh Baptist Church on October 19, 2021.
Metters spent 20 years in the military before he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1979. During his military career, he received many awards and decorations, including the Purple Heart, a decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded while serving with the U.S. military; two Civil Action Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, and a Vietnam Honor Medal.
Metters, the son of a Baptist minister, grew up outside of Austin, Texas, in a small town called Taylor. “There were nine kids in the family, and I had to hoe my row,” he told US Black Engineer magazine in 1986.
A high school football coach talked Metters into attending Prairie View A&M University on a football scholarship. “Back in those days,” Metters explained to USBE magazine, “football scholarships went straight to the fiscal office to pay for your tuition, room, and board.”
Still needing money for textbooks, Metters joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Prairie View. He was the first varsity ballplayer to graduate from the engineering school at Prairie View and was inducted into the State of Texas Football Hall of Fame. When Metters graduated as a young lieutenant, he went into the military and stayed for four years. He left the Army in 1966 and was called back a year later to go to Vietnam.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in architecture and urban planning from the University of California, he also earned two master’s degrees from the University of Southern California-one in systems management and another in public administration, and a doctorate in systems management, research, and development from USC. He was also a U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and College of the Armed Forces graduate.
After a distinguished 20-year career in the military, he founded the engineering firm Metters Industries Inc. in his basement in 1981. First, Metters made his mark working for an architectural firm that specialized in creating affordable housing. Next, he began urban research development consulting work for the government and private clients. Some of the company’s significant contracts were with the Department of Housing, Naval Sea Systems Command, the Worldwide Military Command and Control, and ARINC Research Corporation.
“My daughter often asked me, what is the true meaning of life – an age-old question,” Metters told USBE magazine as the 1992 Black Engineer Entrepreneur Award winner. “I told her as I must tell you that I don’t know the real meaning of life. But I can tell you that those brief moments we share at this engineering convention tend to lend to the purpose of life. Once again, Tyrone Taborn, a visionary who dared dream, has proven that one man or woman can make a difference during one’s lifetime, and that’s enough for me.”
Click here to watch the “Dr. Samuel Metters Celebration of Life” service at Shiloh Baptist Church on October 19, 2021. You can leave a tribute here.