Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, W.R. “Bob” Reed’s two great loves were working in the family-owned lumberyard and watching University of Mississippi sporting events.
“My father was in the construction business, so I had construction in my blood,” the Cleveland native said. “Civil engineering was suggested to me by Dad. I chose Ole Miss because I had always been an Ole Miss sports fan.”
Reed, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1981, is president and general manager at the Mid-South division of Cives Steel Co. in Rosedale. The company is a structural steel fabricator with expertise in connection design and project management.
Asked which professional and personal achievements he finds most fulfilling, Reed quickly responds.
“I’m proud to be a registered PE in Mississippi,” he said. “I’m equally proud to be an Eagle Scout as a youth and recipient of Scouting’s Silver Beaver Award as an adult after serving 23 years as a scoutmaster.”
Reed finds working with young people other than his own children to be very rewarding.
“Scouting is a long-term program allowing you to work with a boy from 11 to 17 and really be a part of his growing-up process,” he said.
Since graduation, Reed has remained connected to the UM Department of Civil Engineering.
“Dr. Sam DeLeeuw, Dr. Abduhlrahman, Dr. Mullen and Dean Alex Cheng have allowed me to speak with students about issues they will encounter when they hit the working world,” Reed said. “Subjects have included steel construction, scheduling, contract issues and shop tours at our plant.”
Engineering school faculty members said Reed is a welcome addition in their classrooms.
“Bob has been a good friend to me as well as a mentor and role model for scores of civil engineering students in Steel Design and senior capstone design classes I’ve taught,” said Christopher Mullen, professor of civil engineering. “Most memorable are invaluable field trips he hosted at his fabrication yard in which he arranged guided tours of the Rosedale plant’s offices and welding operations for literally busloads of our seniors. Catfish lunches he sponsored at a nearby state park were enjoyed by all.”
Reed also recently joined the School of Engineering advisory board.
“His company faithfully comes to our annual Engineering Career Fair to recruit every year,” Cheng said. “Bob has visited the civil engineering department multiple times to give lectures on steel connection to Dr. Mullen’s civil engineering design class.”
Reed and his wife, Teresa, have two sons, Will and Caleb.
“Both are married and have given us two great daughters-in-law and three lovely granddaughters,” Reed said.
His hobbies include hunting, fishing and working out.
Reed credits Ole Miss engineering with laying the foundation for his successful career.
“My Ole Miss engineering education allowed me to learn how to perform complex connection design,” he said. “It also allowed me to effectively communicate with our customers’ engineers.”