• Volume 18 Number 2
    Spring 2009

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2.
Robert Schweikher,
BS '58
Stockton, Calif.  •  Profiled: Spring ’93

Business consultant

Retirement doesn’t seem to agree with Bob Schweikher. He first stepped down in 2001 as the chief operating officer of ComTier, after helping develop and deploy the first satellite broadband networks for global Internet access.

Schweikher then co-founded Terra Access Corp., a broadband Internet service provider to underserved rural communities and small businesses.

In 2006, Schweikher retired again, only to re-enter the day-to-day fray with Chagrin Ltd., a consulting company he had founded in 1986 for small and medium-sized start-up businesses in the agricultural, wireless telecommunications, semiconductor materials, chemical and aerospace industries.

“It was impossible for me to have pictured the career path as it evolved over the past 50 years,” Schweikher admits. “The concepts and technologies I worked with in management roles during my career that are accepted today were not even dreamed of then.”

Schweikher rattles them off like a history teacher: the commercialization of herbicide technologies in the ’60s and ’70s; the emergence of semiconductor silicon materials for electronics and laser systems in the ’70s and ’80s; plant genetics, protection and production through biotechnology in the ’80s; wireless telecommunications in the ’90s and early 2000s.

And through it all, with his degree in agronomy, Schweikher has found a niche on the cutting edge.

Purdue toolbox“This path has proven to me you are enabled by the intellectual discipline, creativity and curiosity of science and its commercial applications, no matter whether it is agriculture, electronics, materials or life sciences.

“My toolbox was truly complete when I graduated from Purdue Agriculture.”