Robert “Bobby” R. Keith
Dedicated Industry Leader
Inducted in 2016
A veteran of the construction industry, Robert “Bobby” R. Keith has a lifelong commitment to Alabama construction and to those in need throughout the world. He is a dedicated industry leader who contributed to the engineering and construction profession through his business skills, personal integrity and exceptional community involvement.
While a student in mechanical engineering at Auburn University, Keith worked in the summer months as a laborer for F.R. Hoar & Son, now Hoar Construction. He graduated from Auburn with a bachelor’s degree in 1963, joining Northrop Space Laboratories in Huntsville, Alabama, in the midst of bustling activity generated from the space race. He worked on thermodynamics of heat transfer in missile propulsion systems, and, later, helped in the development of the guidance program for the Saturn V rocket system used during the Apollo program.
In 1970, Keith took a job with Hoar Construction in Birmingham, Alabama, as a field supervisor, rising through the ranks to become chief executive officer. Hoar Construction specializes in healthcare and retail markets, consistently ranking among the country’s most active contractors. As he advanced through the company, Hoar Construction grew to become one of the South’s largest contractors, with revenue growing from about $20 million to more than $100 million by the time Keith retired in 1990. He continues to serve on the board of directors.
Professionally, he served as president of the Alabama chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and as Southeast regional vice president for the association. In 2000, he received the ABC Cornerstone Award.
Keith served 10 years on the Hoover City Schools Board of Education, including four terms as president. Named an All-State School Board member, he worked on the state’s tenure commission for six years. He also served 11 years as a trustee for the Baptist Health System of Alabama and was twice chairman. He served on the boards of Montclair and Walker County hospitals, as well.
He has used in engineering and construction skills to help people throughout the world. He led construction-related mission work in the United States, Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain, Romania, Ukraine and South Sudan. During those projects he has helped build churches, drug rehabilitation centers, community centers and vocational training centers. As part of Metro Changers of Birmingham, Keith has helped renovate hundreds of homes for people in need.
A supporter of engineering education, he established the Keith Family Presidential Endowed Scholarship in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn. He also serves on the college civil engineering advisory board.
Keith and his wife, Donna, live in Hoover. They have two children and five grandchildren.