Nine civil engineering alumni of the University of Missouri-Rolla were inducted into the UMR Academy of Civil Engineers during the academy’s induction ceremony held April 19.
The academy honors civil engineers for their contributions to the profession, leadership and involvement with UMR. The academy also serves as an advisory group to the UMR civil, architectural and environmental engineering department.
New members are:
— John Komlos of St. Louis, vice president and principal of ARCO Construction. Komlos received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1985.
Komlos started his construction career with R.W. Murray Co. In 1992, he became a charter associate of ARCO Construction until accepting his current position.
— Steve Knobbe of St. Louis, senior vice president of engineering at Metro Transit Authority. Knobbe received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from UMR in 1985.
Knobbe began a career with the Missouri Department of Transportation, which led to responsibility for engineering the MetroLink in St. Louis. While with the transportation department, he served as district engineer in the St. Louis District and served chief of staff of the Governor’s Total Transportation Committee.
— Ron Pierce of Little Rock, Ark., vice president of Garver Engineers LLC and Crawford, Murphy & Tilly. Pierce received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from UMR in 1965. He joined Garver & Garver as design engineer in 1968, rising to president in 1998 and board chair in 2003. In 2005, he reduced his activities from company management to project management as a prelude to retirement.
— Doyle Powell of Upland, Calif., founder and president of D.W. Powell Construction Inc. Powell received a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from UMR in 1967. In 1986, he founded the construction firm, which specializes in highway construction in Southern California.
— Bob Sieckhaus of St. Louis County, Mo., retired area manager of heavy industrial at Murphy Co. Sieckhaus received his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy – now UMR – in 1963.
During Sieckhaus’s construction career, he has directed the construction of such facilities as breweries, car plants, chemical plants, power plants and steel mills. Since retiring, he founded the RHSCS LLC Construction Consulting Services Co.
— Mike Simac of Fort Mill, S.C., founder and president of Earth Improvement Technologies. Simac received bachelor science and master of science degrees in civil engineering from UMR in 1978 and 1979, respectively. He has spent his entire career in geotechnical consulting, design and construction.
Simac founded Earth Improvement Technologies in 1990 to specialize in the design of geosynthetic reinforced soil structures.
— Charles “Bob” Turner of Prairieville, La., director of public works for Ascension Parish, La. Turner received his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from UMR in 1966.
After spending 15 years with the Missouri Department of Transportation, Turner became assistant director of public works for Springfield, Mo. In 1998, he moved to Little Rock, Ark., and soon became that city’s director of public works and assistant city manager, from which he retired in 2005. In 2005, just prior to the catastrophic hurricanes, Turner and his wife moved to Louisiana to be near their four grandchildren. He then went back to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the recovery efforts, and in March 2007 he was appointed to his current position.
— Gary White of Kansas City, Mo., co-founder and executive director of WaterPartners International. White received bachelor of science and master of science degrees in chemical engineering from UMR in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He also earned a master of science degree in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1994. After graduating from UMR, White joined the staff of Catholic Relief Services in New York, where he oversaw water and sanitation programs in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition to his position with WaterPartners, White advises other organizations on responses to the global water crisis, including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Coca-Cola and the Agora Foundation.
— Robert Wayne Whitehead of Columbia, Mo., director at large at Shafer, Kline and Warren Inc. Whitehead earned bachelor of science and master of science degrees in civil engineering from UMR in 1961 and 1973, respectively. He also received a second lieutenant’s commission in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Whitehead spent 26 years on active duty with the U.S. Army, serving three tours overseas, two in Vietnam and one in Korea. He also served as chief of staff and garrison commander of the U.S. Army Engineer School and Training Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District in Little Rock, Ark., and deputy district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Portland District in Portland, Ore.
Following his retirement from the U.S. Army, Whitehead worked for the state of Missouri holding the positions of assistant director and later acting director of the Division of Design and Construction.