Robert was born May 26, 1937 in Five Points, Alabama.
He graduated from Handley High School in Roanoke (Randolph County), Alabama in 1955. After graduating from high school he entered Alabama Polytechnic Institute (which became Auburn University in 1960) to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
Robert came from a road building background. His uncle and his grandfather were involved in county road and state road building. His background and his interest in the new interstate highway system led him to pursue his degree in civil engineering and to work for the next fifty years in the Alabama road building business for the same company – Newell Roadbuilders, Inc.
In order to obtain his degree, Robert needed to work. After enrolling in Auburn he began to work at the Lanett Textile Plant. He would work at the plant for a quarter and then go to school for a quarter.
In 1959, Newell Roadbuilders, Inc was working on an I-85 project in Chambers County. Robert introduced himself to the Newell crew on I-85, and the rest is history. He worked on the jobsite part-time checking grade and assisting the foreman and then helped complete a job near Oneonta, Alabama on I-59 before graduating from Auburn.
In the spring of 1962, Robert graduated and began working full-time for Newell Roadbuilders, Inc. He came to the office in Hope Hull to track job costs. In 1969 Robert held the position of Vice President, General Superintendent, and Chief Estimator.
In the ensuing years, he became a stockholder in Newell Roadbuilders, Inc. and a partner in the equipment company, Newell Brothers Construction Company. With the introduction of the interstate highway system, Newell Roadbuilders, Inc. became what was considered one of the largest grading contractors in the Southeast, building several hundred miles of interstate highways and secondary roads in Alabama, Georgia and Florida totaling $1+billion. These projects ranged in size from several hundred thousand dollars upwards to $60+million.
Additionally, there have also been several private projects built, including the GE/Lexan Plant site in Burkville and the Hyundai Plant site in Montgomery.
Robert was on the Board of Directors of Alabama Road Builders Association from 1983 to 1987, serving as ARBA President in 1987, and again on the Board in 1988. He was elected to ALDOT’s Claims Appeal Board in 1997 to represent the Alabama road building contractors – a position that he currently holds. Robert serves on the Board for ARBA’s Ed and Charlotte Rogers Scholarship Fund which provides civil engineering scholarships to students who will attend Auburn University or the University of Alabama. He also serves on the Alabama Road Builders’ Hall of Fame Board.
In 1957 he married his high school sweetheart – Sherry Cauthen. They have two children – Lisa and Angie – and four grandchildren. For the past 35 years Robert and Sherry have been members of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church where he as served on both the Finance Committee and the Board of Stewards.
Robert is an avid golfer. His family is especially important to him, and it goes without saying, he and his entire family are loyal WAR EAGLE Fans!