Delta Chi Profile: Greg Roda ’83
In our time frame Delta Chi was a small house with an interesting layout, a great chef (John Henry Russell), and a good bunch of easy going guys.
I have many memories from the past including enjoyed drinking games in the “drinking room” as well as beer pong in “Hell”. Fellow game players included Jim Fuger ‘82, Tim Luker ‘82, Scott Walls ‘83, Steve Hook ‘82, Mark Dunning ‘84, Pat Barrie ‘83 and a host of others.
We used to start at the bottom of the stairs as a group and rush up in a giant wrestling match to see who could get to the top. This was done much more often than was sensible. Hard to believe that no major injuries happened.
I had four excellent years living in the house. It took me 5 years to graduate as I switched majors from pharmacy to chemical engineering to mechanical engineering. I lived in “Hell” (basement room ) for 3 years and “69” for a year. Jim Fuger was my room mate the first year in “Hell” with Tim Luker sharing “Hell” for two additional years. The last year in “69” was solo.
Pode is my nickname and is to this day. I got the name in high school as an optimist, using the term “we can, we are able” when my buddies and I were in a jam. Podemos means “we can, we are able” in Spanish for which my high school buddies shortened to Pode.
What about your membership in Delta Chi makes you the most proud? Every time I hear a story about one of the brothers that I haven’t stayed in touch with, it is mostly about success after college. I am proud to be associated with guys who are persistent and have done well for themselves. I stay in good touch with Jim Fuger (Fuges), Tim Luker (Lukes), Scott Walls, and Gil Blitz ‘82.
I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering. I grew up in Georgia and wanted to head back South upon graduating so I rode my motorcycle and spent a few months living at my parent’s house in Marietta, GA while looking for professional work. I got a job with Milliken as a plant engineering trainee at their “Enterprise” plant near Traveler’s Rest, SC. After one year I was promoted to the job of Instrument Engineer at their “Live Oak” plant in Lagrange, GA with a round the clock crew that kept everything running 24/7. Great job.
I worked in Saudi Arabia for 4 years as a senior construction manager. Our contract was to install, start-up and start a maintenance program for 4 chillers of 6000 tons of refrigeration each, as well as 3 boilers, and 5 generators for the central utility plant of King Abdul Azziz University in Jeddah. After 4 years in Saudi Arabia at 34 years old, I quit work for two years and got a full-time MBA at the University of Chicago.
I worked at various jobs over the years, mostly in engineering and construction.
- Milliken (4 years): Plant Engineer (last position)
- Fluor Daniel (4 years): Design Engineer then Construction Engineer in Saudi
- Saad Trading (1 year): Mechanical Site Manager
- Cargill (6 years): Project Team Leader then Business Development Manager for palm oil plantations in Singapore
- Cargill Dow (3 years): Business Development Manager
- Outlast Technologies (7 years): COO then CEO
- Gevo (5 years): Chief Commercial Officer
- B&B Blending (8 months): Interim CEO
- Latent Heat Solutions (2 years): CEO
My goal out of college was to work overseas which is why I went with Fluor Daniel as I knew I would have opportunity to do that with them. Anyway, here is where I have lived since Ann Arbor.
- Greenville, SC
- Lagrange, GA
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
- Chicago, IL
- Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, MN
- Broomfield, CO
Were you in the military? I was never in the military, but felt guilty about not being in it when I got to Saudi the same week that Saddam invaded Kuwait and saw what our military people were doing and what they did so well.
I met my wife Vera at a softball game in Saudi. She was a flight attendant from the Philippines for Saudi Arabian Airlines. We’ve been married almost 29 years and have 3 daughters who are 28, 26, and 23. We are very proud of our girls.
- Even though I conducted a burial ceremony for my motorcycle in 1982 I still ride
- motorcycles and have had one (or two) continuously since high school.
- I also like shooting, scuba diving, and skiing. I have over 300 dives in the Red Sea while living in Jeddah and have also dived in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica.
- One thing I have never liked is heights, so I thought I could cure that with parachuting. 16 jumps didn’t cure it so I stopped doing that.
My wife does the volunteer work in our family. If she needs help in setting something up or running the barbecue, I’ll pitch in.
Any illnesses you might like to share? Bad knees. I reject (for now) the idea of amputation and replacement. I’m trying a stem cell treatment in the Cayman Islands where they have grown my cells and they will be injected at high concentrations when I return to Cayman in May. Any of you want feedback as to success, let me know.
What would you say are your life’s biggest successes? Wife and daughters and having the ability to support them as my wife did the work of mothering the girls.
Advice I would give the younger Delta Chi members is just because other people think your ideas for your future are not in your best interest doesn’t mean you should heed their advice. Of course listen to family and friends, and then steer your own course.
What do you want people to remember about you 50 years from now? Good husband, father, and friend as well as a good leader that got stuff done while being a good example.
My door is always open to all brothers of Delta Chi. Call if you have anything you want to discuss.
1 303 260 9992
In the bond.