Robert D. Bay


Robert D. Bay

Professional Engineer – Distinguished Soldier – Community Leader

Building Design – Military Engineering – Speaker – Engineering Advocate

Fifty-eighth National Honor Member Nominated by the University of Missouri-Rolla Chapter

Robert D. Bay, retired Principal of Black and Veatch, Kansas City, MO, has worn many hats during his illustrious professional career. He was born on September 15, 1926, and currently resides in Chesterfield, MO, a suburb or St. Louis.

At an early age, Robert Bay developed an interest and proficiency in civil engineering, and by the age of 10, he was already building structures made of wooden crates. Bay began his career at the age of twenty by helping with the construction of a military base camp for 50,000 soldiers in the Philippines. After serving voluntarily in the U.S. Army during WWII, he earned his civil engineering degree in 1949 at the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) where he also later received a professional degree in Engineering Management. Following graduation, Bay’s first professional assignment was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructing the Chain of Rocks Lock and Canal in St. Louis, the largest twin locks ever built at the time. Here he had the responsibility of Chief Office Engineer for all construction supervision, field surveys, and contract negotiations.

After his work with the Corps, Bay soon became a designer for the Laclede Steel Company in St. Louis where he progressed to the position of Principal and Director of Technical Services. He became responsible for all research, design, and development of the 1,000,000-ton capacity steel company.

During his pursuit of each full-time career, Bay had numerous professional activities, including a deep involvement with ASCE. Starting as the local chapter president back at UMR, he eventually served as National President of the organization in 1986. His main mission with ASCE# was to enhance the civil engineering profession by educating young engineers about current developments in the industry.

Bay’s skills as a designer have contributed to innovations used in several notable structures. Bay was jointly responsible for the patented design used in the eleven million-gallon Clear Water Basin at the St. Louis Chain of Rocks Plant. He was also involved in the design of patented deformed wire fabric used in continuous highway pavements and the composite floor joists used in the World Trade Center that was noted to save thousands of lives by holding up under intense heat.

Bob Bay has been an active advocate for the civil engineering profession. He appeared on CNN numerous times to address legislative and environmental issues that affected the civil engineering profession. He headed up the nationwide effort to restore public confidence in engineering after the Hyatt House disaster in Kansas City which helped to develop the industry standards as they exist today. He has served in many national & international engineering, steel, and concrete committees. Among his numerous honors, he was keynote speaker in Sydney during the 100th anniversary of engineering in Australia.

By the time Bay retired from his service in the active and reserve forces of the Corps of Engineers in 1983, he had achieved the rank of Major General and had commanded the 416th ENCOM, the highest level of engineering command in the U.S. armed forces. During his military career (1944-1983), Bay had received the Distinguished Service Medal, the second highest military honor, for his leadership during the Cuban refugee crisis in the early 1980s to provide housing for over 120,000 refugees. He also helped to change Army policy concerning the use of civilian engineer reservists to relieve regulars for other duties during the Cuban crisis.

Throughout his distinguished career, Bay has challenged civil engineers to always do their best professionally. Even now, despite his retirement and all of his past accomplishments, he serves on the Public Relations Board and Patient Safety Council of the Missouri Baptist Hospital. He is a member of the Alumni Alliance of the University of Missouri representing UMR and is a frequent speaker on engineering and military topics at service organizations and schools. He is an active member of his church, service as a deacon, bible teacher, and as a building chairman. He has also been on missionary trips to Ecuador and Romania.

General Bay’s life is a witness as to why he is, in all respects, a Professional Engineer, Distinguished Soldier, and a Community Leader. Robert D. Bay was first elected to Chi Epsilon on April 26, 1968, at the University of Missouri-Rolla, Chapter No. 25, chartered in 1950, with a general number of 22806 and individual chapter number of 755 as a Chapter Honor Member. The National Council is privileged to elevate Robert D. Bay to be the 58th National Honor Member at the 39th National Conclave, University of Missouri-Rolla, on March 11, 2006.

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