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Former KU athlete will present annual Tiberti engineering lecture

Monday, September 30, 2019

LAWRENCE — Mike Orth, a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Engineering — and a former quarterback for the KU football team — will return to campus in October to deliver the ninth annual Tiberti Family Lecture.

Orth is an executive vice president and executive managing director for Black & Veatch, a global engineering firm with headquarters in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He oversees the Americas region of the company’s water business, which includes approximately 50 offices. Through its water business, the company helps public and private entities successfully develop, enhance, manage, design and build their water, wastewater and stormwater facilities and infrastructure. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from KU in 1988 and 1989, respectively.

He will share his career insights in a lecture titled “Leaning In: Owning Your Career” at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Spahr Classroom of Eaton Hall.

“I'm excited about it. I’m very honored,” Orth said of the lecture opportunity. “I was humbled and quickly accepted the opportunity.”

He said the speech will focus on helping KU engineering students understand how to “own” their careers — including how to accept challenges and opportunities along the way.

“Connecting to multiple people is going to be a strength in your career when you look back at it,” he said. “I'm a big networking guy. I do a lot of business development and sales. You're only as good as your network is. It provides you with a strategic insight. It's a benefit to all of us as we develop our personal and professional careers.”

Orth began developing his professional skills, of course, during his education at KU. He also played quarterback for the Jayhawks from 1983 to 1987, which provided an additional training ground for his future career.

“Obviously, the technical information you learn to get the degree” was an important part of the KU experience, he said. “But it's also the interpersonal relationships I've been able to build over the years. Playing football was also huge — you have to rely on 11 people for a play to work. It's the same in a business setting. I think that's one of the greatest things I’ve had the opportunity to learn in my career, is the team dynamic and how that works. That's a life lesson for everybody.”

Orth holds professional associations from American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers and Water Environment Federation. He has also been an active volunteer in the Kansas City area, including with the United Way of Kansas City.

The Tiberti Lecture was begun in 2011 through a contribution from members of the Tiberti family to the KU Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering. Speakers focus on ethics, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and issues for the education, personal growth and professional development benefit of students.

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