Obituary - Robert A. Pond 1941 - 2008



Robert A. Pond 1941-2008

Robert A. Pond 1941-2008
If it had to do with industry policy over the past number of years, US tunneling has felt the guiding hand of Bob Pond.
There wasn't a topic of discussion, point of policy, or trending development that Bob couldn't counsel. He had that rare gift of being able to cross the aisle as it were, and be a combining rather than dividing force between the players of the industry - qualities that served him well as an experienced negotiator and member on the Construction Industry Panel for the American Arbitration Association. Be it owners, designers, contractors, suppliers, insurers, unions, committees, associations, tunnelers in general, or the media, Bob was a frequent and willing industry spokesperson and promoter.
That wholesome influence in an industry that can be fractious at the best of times, was lost to us on February 18 when Bob died of cardiac failure. It's hard to imagine a successor of equal ability or influence; there's hardly a development on the practical side of the industry in the US that isn't a legacy of Bob's involvement.
Bob retired in December 2007 from his senior management position with Frontier-Kemper after more than 37 years with the company. But even in retirement you could catch Bob on the phone in his Evansville headquarters' office, which was an Aladdin's cave of mementoes from his early days in the mining business, his years in the civil tunneling industry, and of company and personal awards and recognitions, and of his favorite hobbies of writing, about anything that came to mind, and gun sports, which, as a fervent advocate of the second amendment, he promoted and supported with equal enthusiasm as tunneling and mining.
After attending the Colorado School of Mines, Bob's rise to the top most level of Frontier-Kemper management began in 1960 when he and two partners formed and operated Hardrock Contractors, a specialist tunnel and mine construction company, and progressed through foreman with Climax Molybdenum Company; engineer with Homestake Mining Company and a designer and sales rep for Denver Air Machinery before joining the Kemper Frontier JV as project manager for on the Gathright Dam Cut-Off Wall contract in Virginia in 1972. With formation of Frontier-Kemper he managed construction of coal mine shafts and slopes until he became mining group general manager in 1978. He was then promoted to executive vice president in 1989 and was elected a company director in 1994.
Bob was a 38-year member of SME and served for 12 years as a director of AUA (American Underground Construction Association) and was on the first board of its successor, the UCA of SME. He served a term as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers Construction Institute and was chairman of the 1995 RETC conference.
Bob leaves his wife of 34 years, Peggy and their family of four girls, three boys, 14 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is missed.