Bob Rappolt was born and raised in Southern Ontario. His summer work experience ranged from farm work to working in Berlin, Germany (then behind the Iron Curtain).
He graduated from Queens University in 1976 with a mining degree in Mining Engineering.
Shortly after graduation, Bob joined Inco’s Sudbury Operations and worked on various engineering assignments.
In 1987, he joined the engineering arm of J.S. Redpath Limited, the Canadian contracting company. Jim Redpath had always believed that a strong engineering presence was vital to the success of the contracting, and that was a valued added approach that was different to most mine contracting companies at the time.
Bob soon led the mining engineering group within the engineering arm. He was the leader of development strong budgets and cost records – something that seemed a challenge to many others in engineering.
He also served as a facilitator between the engineers and contractors – and at times this was a very difficult assignment.
In the early 1990’s, Jim Redpath, who was semi-retired at the time, returned to the fold and determined the company, which had branched out into a variety of enterprises, should return to its original roots. One of those areas which was considered was the large engineering group, which then totaled over 80 people. He then sold the engineering company to a group of select employees, one of whom was Bob Rappolt.
Bob earned the position of Vice President and directed the Canadian Operations from that time on. Early success of the engineering group led to a full buyout from J.S. Redpath Limited, and by 1996 engineering was fully independent. That company went through a series of name changes, finally settling at McIntosh Engineering.
Bob led the operational aspects through a series of successes. In the late 1990’s, Barrick became a major client on a sustained basis. Bob secured an assignment in Kazakhstan with Glencore. A few employees received what Bob loves to call an “all expenses paid business class trip” to the site. Fast forwarding a few years, Bob continued to lead the company with a growth strategy which, of course, was eventually cut short by the events of September 2008.
By then, Stantec had acquired the company but that did not secure all jobs, and unfortunately about 30 good people lost their jobs and things were getting tougher by the day. By the fourth quarter of 2008, drastic action was needed to maintain the core of workers. Bob has a knack of sensing business potential, and increased his time in Saskatchewan. He always preached commodity diversification, and felt an opportunity coming.
By the end of March 2009, Bob had almost single handedly achieved success with PCS for the Allan Mine shaft upgrade. He continues to support that project which is underway at present, on schedule, and planned for completion in Q3 2011.
Then another project came to light with BHP. Again Bob led the efforts using his professional relationships to negotiate the multi-year contract. That work is underway at present and will be for some time to come.
This brief overview is just a few of the highlights of Bob’s career. He has been successful mostly as a result of his honest, straight-forward dealing with clients, and developing a good team around him.
A true gentleman and friend to many, Bob has truly earned this award he is being honoured with today from SAMSSA.