On Oct. 29, the American Society of Engineering presented the President’s Medal to Ryan Kobbe, a practitioner advisor for the ASCE and professional engineer for T-O Engineers in Cody.
The President’s Medal is a high honor recognized across the globe. It honors the recipient for their advancements either in the profession or in published works and academia.
According to peers, Kobbe exemplified the essential qualities required for industry success for his generation of professionals and for following generations.
As a now-former University of Wyoming faculty advisor Kobbe served as an inspiring advocate for the ASCE.
K.N. “Guna” Gunalan, former president of ASCE, was impressed by Kobbe’s commitment, to not only the profession, but the students he advised and mentored.
“[Ryan] has been an exemplary ambassador of the American Society for Civil Engineers . . . [and] is very helpful to the next generation of civil engineers,” said Gunalan. “
The beginning yearsKobbe always had an interest in mechanics and math but didn’t know how to make a living off it. Like most when they are young as they explore themselves and their potential, he didn’t really have a clear idea about what he wanted to do.
He had a background in construction, having worked on several local projects and grew up helping on his family ranch. When asked about his interest in civil engineering, he stated the importance of having a tangible impact on his community and forging lasting solutions to local problems.
After his 2003 graduation from UW, Kobbe started his career at the university as a faculty advisor in 2008 and was there for 12 years.
“It was very rewarding and fit my personality very well,” said Kobbe. “I really enjoyed my time there.”
It was a positive and inspiring time, one in which strong connections were inevitable as he guided students; in fact, several of Kobbe’s former students found the confidence and know-how under his leadership in the classroom and in the ASCE student chapter.
Laramie County’s Assistant Director of Public Works Molly Bennet first met Kobbe her sophomore year at UW and appreciated his wisdom and genuine concern for her and her peers’ academic success. Discussions were always on-topic and there was never a sense of superiority.
Bennet described Kobbe as blunt, yet caring, stating, “[he] helped herd the cats” and lead students in the right direction rather than dictate a set path for them. He created a sense of teamwork and respected his students as peers as he freely shared his knowledge and experiences.
Other former students citted his humble approach to advising and his vigorous methodology for teaching. Wyatt Leadens, the current president of the UW ASCE student chapter, grew close with Kobbe and considers him a mentor.
Kobbe’s success among peers and students is unquestionable and not at all surprising. In years past he has received recognition as an outstanding teacher and advisor; awarded the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2019); the PIE Award (Promoting Intellectual Engagement, 2019); and the Outstanding Faculty Award (2016).
As he moves forward with his career, Kobbe plans to continue his involvement with the UW ASCE student chapter as a practitioner advisor as well as continue his consultant work as structural engineer with T-O Engineers.
What is the President’s Meda
The President’s Medal receives nominations for receipt from all over the globe. ASCE has over 150,000 members spread across 177 countries with nine official organizations.
All members have a 2 in 150,000 chance or a 0.0000133% chance of receiving this award.
Kobbe believes working with students and influencing them in a meaningful way is more rewarding then then his name being remembered in posterity.
About Civil Engineering
Engineering for many is a daunting profession and a career lived by seldom few who think mechanically or mathematically.
In its broadest sense, civil engineering puts ‘civil’ in civilization. Geotechnical engineers use soil and rock mechanics to help design stable structures for structural engineers; water resource engineers bring running water into our homes and ensure the proper design of irrigation and anti-flooding design — in short, civil engineers —like Kobbe — create lasting solutions for their local communities.