Bill Sauder’s first job in 1978 was as a tour guide on the Queen Mary in Long Beach California. His interest in ocean liners and familiarity with their workings made him a natural candidate when the position of Archivist/Exhibits Coordinator opened up and within a few years, he was put in charge of the Exhibits Department and assisting in the design and construction of large new displays in the museum on board.
Bill’s first direct contact with Titanic came shortly after Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreck in 1985, helping to identify the thousands of photos brought back. Bill went on to contribute to several of Dr. Ballard’s books, and accompanied him to the wreck of the Lusitania to perform on-site analysis to solve the mystery of her sinking.
In the 1990’s Bill contributed to Cyberfilx’s Titanic: Adventure out of Time, the first computer game set on Titanic, which also made realism and accuracy a priority in the gaming experience.
Bill also provided technical assistance for Jim Cameron’s movie Titanic, by supplying detailed drawings, color schemes, and prop suggestions for the engine and boiler room scenes. Cameron later called upon Bill to provide the technical resources needed to help create the most accurate computer simulation of the Titanic possible; a finite element model that has the same buoyancy, floodability, and structural endurance of the original ship. This computer recreation permits realistic “what if” scenarios to be played out to study the loss of the Titanic.
In summer of 2000, RMST Inc. asked Bill to travel to the wreck to identify artifacts brought up from the seabed. He went on to serve intermittently for the next twelve years as a consultant for RMST. In 2011, Bill was hired as Director of Titanic Research and tasked with analyzing the comprehensive data set brought back from the Titanic wreck site in 2010 including large-feature identification, mapping of the site, and interpretation.
Bill has also worked on a number of ship-related documentaries since 1990. His three most recent contributions were to Jim Cameron’s Titanic: The Final Word (a National Geographic production) and History Channels Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved both airing in April of 2012. The most current production is the TH Entertainment show Band of Courage, airing on PBS in March and April of 2014, which deals with the story and heroic last moments of the Titanic’s band members on the sinking ship.