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A Tribute to Bob Brunson, retiring after 41 years

Sep 30, 2020

Tyler Nottberg

by Tyler Nottberg
Chairman & CEO, U.S. Engineering Company Holdings

To describe U.S. Engineering’s 127-year history, I have often quoted Sir Isaac Newton’s famous claim that, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We owe much to our forebearers in this regard, but it is equally important to appreciate when we get to stand alongside giants—to see them in action and experience their greatness. If you are truly blessed, you get to stand alongside a Bob Brunson.

September 30th will mark the last day Bob is officially employed at U.S. Engineering before he begins enjoying a well-earned retirement. However, Bob will forever be part of the U.S. Engineering family and the author of one of its greatest stories. Explaining what Bob means to U.S. Engineering is no easy task. The legacy he built over the past four decades began with project management and ended with him serving as the founding president of U.S. Engineering Metalworks. To say he’s a pillar of the industry is inadequate. He’s known throughout the Rocky Mountain region, not just within our walls, as a consummate professional. He’s defined by his conviction and his bias for less talk and more action. But to those who know him best, Bob is appreciated for his compassion, mentorship, and dry sense of humor. He will be the first to tell you that he takes pride in being cuddly like a cactus.

I could fill a book with all Bob’s accomplishments, but he would be the first to say that he did nothing on his own. It is his impact on the growth and development of other people that I value the most. I still recall the first day I walked into U.S. Engineering and was on a tour in the old Loveland office. I sat down with Bob, and he told me that this industry is not for the faint of heart. But he also told me why he loved the work and that the challenges are what make the experiences so meaningful. He shared his passion for the company and talked about how people bleed U.S. Engineering blue. Reflecting on that conversation, I realize now how clear Bob was that we should all strive to live by the Core Values. He has steadfastly been as passionate about our people as he has been about the work we perform.

During this year’s strategic planning meetings, Management Committee members shared a few of our own thoughts with Bob since we knew this would be the last time we could force him to sit with us all for days on end—even if it was only via videoconference thanks to the pandemic. A few highlights:

“Bob knows what he values, tells you in very clear English, and acts accordingly. He’s exactly what he believes, and he has no problem sharing that with those who he cares about. I have spent most of my career partnered with Bob—even long before I came to U.S. Engineering—and I am infinitely a better person because of it. Thank you, Bob.”

Tim Moormeier

“If I had to pick one word to describe Bob, it would be selflessness. I pick that word because Bob always thinks of others before he thinks of himself, which makes him the best leader, role model and mentor I’ve ever worked with.”

Scott Hager

“I’ll use three words to describe Bob: ‘best friend,’ ‘Pantone 281’ and ‘compassion.’ Let me explain a little more about Pantone 281. Bob and I have talked for years about bleeding blue, and there’s only one sort of bleeding blue, and it is true blue U.S. Engineering. That’s Pantone 281. Thank you, Bob, for all the years.”

Todd VonLintel

“When I think about legends in my career here at U.S. Engineering, there’s not many that reach that status. But Bob is 100% in that category, and I will truly miss working with him.”

Justin Apprill

Fortunately for all of us, Bob is not leaving for good. In fact, he will always have an office here because he has earned the right to tell us what we are doing wrong whenever he walks through the door. But more importantly, Bob has earned the right to spend as much time as he wants traveling with Liz, tinkering in his garage, or watching sappy romantic comedies on Netflix.

Bob will always have a home here at U.S. Engineering because it is a home he helped build. I am eternally grateful to have had Bob as a colleague and friend for so many years. On behalf of the entire organization, the generations of Nottbergs who you had to put up with for the last forty years, and everybody who has worked in our industry, thank you, Bob, and congratulations!

—Tyler Nottberg

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