College wasn’t on Rob Riess Sr.’s radar after high school, not until his older brother challenged him to give it a try. He attended community college for two years, did well, and decided to complete his degree at Rolla – a decision that led to an outstanding career in the energy transportation field.
Riess, CE’79, is now president and chief operating officer of Sheehan Pipe Line Construction Co. in Tulsa, Okla.
“You can get a good education anywhere,” says Riess, “but what’s important is you can get a job by going to Missouri S&T. It’s all about the job.”
He and his wife, Becky, recently established a $100,000 scholarship for civil engineering students at Missouri S&T. Also contributing to the endowment are his two sons and their families: Rob Riess Jr., CE’04, his wife, Allison, and their daughter, Taylor; and his son Ryan Riess, CE’06, and his wife, Abigail, Hist’05.
“Missouri S&T has been a big part of our family and has provided opportunities for us to succeed in engineering and in life,” says Riess. “This scholarship fund represents our appreciation and gives others a chance to share in the same opportunities we were afforded.”
Originally from Belleville, Ill., Riess paid his own out-of-state tuition to go to school in Rolla. He and Becky also paid out-of-state tuition for their sons to attend. “Fortunately, our sons were academically blessed; they both received financial assistance with tuition.”
Rob Jr. is a construction engineer for Chevron North America in the Deepwater Projects Group in Houston. Allison also works for Chevron as a petroleum engineer.
Ryan, like his father, works for Sheehan Pipe Line Construction Co., as a project manager/estimator. Abigail is a secondary social studies educator and athletics coach.
Rob Sr. and Becky enjoy hosting alumni events in their home and have been responsible for a number of out-of-state students coming to Rolla. Rob Sr. serves as an S&T admissions ambassador at Tulsa schools. The couple joined the Order of the Golden Shillelagh donor society at S&T in 2008.
“The main thing I want students to know is that you get out of college what you put into it,” says Rob Sr. “A lot of people are having a tough time finding a job these days. Missouri S&T’s reputation is well known; and students don’t have to go looking for opportunities – companies look for them.”
Pictured, front row: Rob Jr., Taylor, Allison. Back row (left to right): Becky, Rob Sr., Abigail, Ryan.