The ATI team mourns the loss of our founder, Robert (Bob) Kiggans, who passed away at home on Friday, August 31, 2018. Bob served as ATI’s President and CEO from our incorporation in July 1998 until 2006, when he became the Chief Operating Officer of South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), ATI’s then parent company.
Bob’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit led ATI to become a pioneer in the field of R&D consortium management. “As ATI’s founder and first CEO, Bob’s vision set the course that we are sailing today. Even after turning over that role, he kept a watchful eye on ATI as a loving and devoted parent would their child,” ATI’s current President and CEO, Chris Van Metre remembers. “Bob was ATI’s greatest adviser, cheerleader, and defender. I will miss him dearly, but vow to give everything I have to serve his legacy and keep his spirit alive in ATI.”
Before becoming ATI’s President and CEO, Bob served twenty years in the U.S. Air Force as a Radar Navigator on the B-52 aircraft, flying more than 150 combat missions in Southeast Asia. When he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, Bob had received the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with one silver and four bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.
After retiring from the Air Force, Bob accepted an appointment from the U.S. Department of Commerce as the Head of the U.S. Delegation to the international Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) Steering Committee, and later became its Chair. He was a Research Fellow with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a former senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and a Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer. Extremely experienced in the field of advanced computer and product data technologies, Bob was awarded the prestigious International Leadership Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his outstanding leadership in furthering the discipline of computers and information in engineering. Bob was a recipient of SCRA’s Knowledge Economist Award in South Carolina and inducted into the Academy of Engineers as a 2018 Honoree of The Citadel.
At ATI, Bob is remembered as an inspiring, natural leader and—first and foremost—a friend. As Thornton White, Director of ATI’s Logistics Technologies division, explains, “[Bob] made it a point to know something special about every one of his employees—it was not all about business, the people were very important to him as well.”
Dale Orren, a Director in our Naval Technologies division, recalls that “his patient, friendly manner established a welcoming environment [at ATI] … He set the benchmark for how a boss should be: firm, fair, consistent, compassionate, caring, engaged.” Kathy Zolman, a Program Manager with the Medical and Software Services division, also remembers Bob’s positive spirit: “Bob was larger than life and will be greatly missed by many. He was a great mentor and I am extremely grateful to have had the chance to work with him for many years.”
We are honored to have worked with such an inspirational, innovative leader. ATI offers our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.