richard a. smith, eng '73, grad '82
Marquette remains an important part of Rick’s life 38 years after he first came to campus. “Marquette has provided me the platform for my life and career,” says Rick, adding, “but my degrees are such a small part of what I’ve gained from attending Marquette.” That’s because it was at Marquette that he and his wife Joan met then started dating. They were later married in Gesu Church. Both Rick and Joan earned master’s degrees at Marquette.
Rick is the owner and president of R.A. Smith and Associates, Inc., established in 1978. It is one of the largest civil engineering firms in Wisconsin and one of the largest land surveying operations in the Midwest. The firm has seven offices, has worked on projects in 44 states, the Caribbean, Canada and Spain, and has been recognized both regionally and nationally as one of the “best employers to work for.”
In addition to his business enterprises, Rick is active in the community, contributes to the engineering profession and participates in Marquette endeavors, including the Civil Engineering Advisory Board, the Bell Chair Advisors for the ACRE Program and the engineering co-op program. Rick’s service to the community and the engineering profession was recognized in 2006 when he received the ASCE Distinguished Service Award.
Rick’s career has demonstrated principles that he attributes to Marquette—"that to achieve success we must work hard, that every person can make a difference, that honesty breeds happiness and overcomes the perils of corruption, and that it is important to help others and give back a portion of what you receive.”