Steve Sieckhaus, CE’87, MS EMgt’94, and Tom Sieckhaus, CE’88, are proof that if you grow up around a civil engineer, you’re likely to be bitten by the construction bug. In their case, you’re also likely to be smitten by Miner pride. Their father, Bob Sieckhaus, CE’63, is responsible for both. “I remember watching my Dad work most evenings at the kitchen table estimating projects,” says Steve, chief operating officer and shareholder of Clayco Inc. “He took us on site visits. My passion for construction was fueled by those visits. I never considered anything but civil.”
Tom, Clayco executive vice president and shareholder, also remembers the steel beams and hard hats of his childhood. “My father exposed me to industrial job sites growing up,” he says. “I never really considered a different major. Dad was passionate about Rolla and pushed me hard in that direction.”
The Sieckhaus family has traveled Interstate 44 between St. Louis and Rolla ever since Bob landed at Fort Leonard Wood as a 17-year-old Army recruit.
“I was quartered with a bunch of college graduates who were civil engineers,” he says. “They took me under their wing. After that, I pretty well knew I wanted to be a civil engineer. Logging many miles on old Route 66, I always noticed the Missouri School of Mines signs in Rolla. I took this as a sign that was where I needed to be.”
As Rolla undergraduates, the Sieckhauses were active in fraternities: Bob in Pi Kappa Alpha, Tom in Phi Kappa Theta and Steve in Kappa Sigma.
“My fondest memory of Rolla is belonging to my fraternity,” says Bob, whose sons have echoed the sentiment. “My family and I just got back from our 22nd annual vacation with several fraternity brothers and their families,” says Steve, and Tom also maintains longstanding ties. “I still stay in contact with several Phi Kap brothers and see many others in my day-to-day work.”
All three Sieckhauses went on to graduate school: Bob holds an MBA from Saint Louis University, Tom an MBA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Steve a master’s degree in engineering management from S&T. Today they also share common ground as members of the Academy of Civil Engineers.
“My father is extremely proud to have both of his sons involved in the academy,” says Tom.
The Sieckhauses were recognized by the academy in April 2018 for their philanthropic leadership in supporting the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory with a $2 million donation from Clayco.
“Clayco was pleased to make a major investment in this project,” says Steve. “Many of our construction professionals are civil engineers who graduated from Missouri S&T. We have benefited as a company from the great education the university provides.”
“Our company’s brand mantra, ‘Beyond These Walls,’ is about inspiring creative minds to cultivate new ideas,” says Tom. “We believe the lab will be a difference‑maker for the university. And the research conducted there will affect the daily lives of millions for generations to come.”