Robert M. Scaer

Robert Scaer
BSCE 1982
Chief Executive Officer
Gannett Fleming, Inc.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Robert Scaer was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and lived there most of his life before college. He graduated from Concordia Lutheran High School in 1978 and immediately attended Purdue University that fall. While at Purdue, he was on the social committee for his dorm and was very active in intramural sports.

Robert was the first person in his family to graduate from college and is a proud first-generation Boilermaker. After graduating in May 1982, he moved to Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, to begin his career with the international infrastructure firm Gannett Fleming. He started as an entry-level engineer in the Bridge Unit, but his curiosity and innovative spirit quickly led him in different directions.

He was one of the first engineers at the firm to use a scientific calculator when he created a program to determine the appropriate hangar geometry for hundreds of transit corridor poles. What would have taken weeks, Robert’s program solved in days. Robert credits his Boilermaker education for the idea.

“There is no way I am going to do multiple pages of calculations for hundreds of poles on this project,” Robert said. “There has got to be a better way.”

Robert’s innovative spirit led him to develop and implement Gannett Fleming’s use of CADD into engineering operations companywide. He obtained his MBA, took over the firm’s fledgling GIS company, and created IRRIS® — a patented, web-based system for the military combining the latest advances in IT, GIS, and location-based services to provide real-time tracking, monitoring, and routing of people, cargo, and equipment. An independent economic analysis concluded that IRRIS saved the taxpayers more than $50 million year over year.

Robert testified before Congress on the application and benefits of IRRIS in providing solutions for ITS and homeland security. The military deployed IRRIS to support troops overseas throughout multiple global conflicts. Now, numerous state and federal agencies use it.

Robert served as Gannett Fleming’s CIO for nine years, president for eight, and has been CEO since 2017. He is passionate about innovation and is a champion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Dedicated to his family and community, Robert prioritizes time with his four grown children and five grandchildren.