Bob's sunflower heritage began in the late 60’s with cultivating sunflowers on the neighbors and family farm. After graduating from Thompson High School, he enrolled at NDSU receiving a BS degree in Civil Engineering. During college he obtained a private pilot’s license, continued to assist on the family farm and play in a band. Bob started his Engineering career with John Deere in East Moline, Ill. He was recruited back to Fargo by Steiger Tractor to work in the Manufacturing Engineering Department becoming the Supervisor of Manufacturing Engineering and Records Control. He also became involved with Minnesota State University, Moorhead teaching several Pre-Engineering and Business Management classes over a Nine-Year period.
Bob joined Red River Commodities in 1985 as the Production and Engineering Manager. He became Vice President in 1987 and the President and CEO in 1989. Bob retired from Red River Commodities after 35 years with the organization serving as the President and CEO for 30 years. He grew the company from one operation to several divisions including Processing, Wildlife, SunGold Foods, SunButter and Global Ingredients with multiple processing locations in the USA and customers throughout the world. His focus was creating a food supply chain that emphasized healthy and safe food products. He was always looking for new alternative uses for sunflower. Bob devoted much of his career to sunflower serving on the NSA Board of Directors and Chairman of the NSA Confection Promotion Committee. He was a leader on several key issues facing the sunflower industry such as: adoption of the Food Safety and Modernization act, Blair House Agreement, International Trade, Research and several Farm Bills.