Giving back to our universities promotes success


    As a part of the firm’s culture, RBF Consulting spends time and financial resources developing the future of our field. From the CEOs to our interns, the university outreach within the firm is making a difference.

    At RBF, giving back to universities began with Robert W. Bein, one of the founding fathers, who accepted the position as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo decades ago. Mike Chesney, RBF vice president of Transportation, has taken that role forward as the current chair, and participates in panel discussions with the students exploring topics related to professional registration, careers, and overall civil and environmental industry issues.

    CEO Robert Kallenbaugh, P.E., was the driving force behind a program for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, establishing a generous RBF faculty fellowship, resulting in a new professor, Seema Shah-Fairbank, Ph.D., being added to the university’s Civil Engineering Department in hydrology, watershed management, and stormwater. “We’ve had a great relationship with Cal Poly’s Civil Engineering Department for many years, with sponsorship of the Sustainability Lab and many other programs. When we heard about the university’s current needs in engineering, we felt a responsibility to assist,” indicated Kallenbaugh, a 1974 Cal Poly Graduate.

    Members of the RBF team also teach, mentor, and serve as board members helping to develop curricula and shape programs at universities across the nation. Pat Tami, P.L.S., and vice president from the Sacramento office, was appointed in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger to the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Tami also serves on the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and has spent several years working with universities and evaluating programs and curricula as they relate to practical application and licensing.

    Internship programs are also a part of the RBF culture to mentor students and help them to get the most out of their education. There have been summers when nearly 30 interns from more than 20 universities have been working with the firm. Besides enhancing their educational experience, the arrangement also helps the company connect with potential employee candidates. During summer 2010, RBF anticipates several internship positions, regardless of economic conditions, to further the mentoring philosophy.

    RBF teaching and mentoring doesn’t just extend to university students, however, as high school, middle, and elementary school presentations and programs are also undertaken by the RBF team, including the ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor program, Junior Achievement, and presentations at events such as Children’s Water Festivals and career days.

    This philosophy drives us to give back to those educational institutions who gave us our careers. It leads us to “pay it forward” to those we know will take our places. Giving back to our universities furthers the profession in a way that folds into our corporate responsibility and our passion for this profession.