After more than 40 years, Bob Ritchie has decided to retire from ABR and train his binoculars on new horizons. Bob established himself as a biologist and small-business owner in Alaska in the mid-1970s. His interests focused on conservation of endangered birds, especially Peregrine Falcons. Bob received his BS (Wildlife Biology) from UC Davis in 1972, and his MS (Natural Resource Management) from UAF in 1976. That same year, Bob cofounded what was then known as Alaska Biological Research with partner Jim Curatolo. He became the sole owner in 1986. Today, ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services is primarily an employee-owned company. We currently have 35 scientists and staff, the majority of whom are also shareholders, in Fairbanks and Anchorage.
Supported by great employees and business partners, including his wife Bobbie, Bob has been responsible for scientific research, company leadership, and advancing ABR’s standards of excellence while upholding our triple bottom line philosophy: economic success, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. Although much of our work has been baseline studies for industrial developments, others have included long-term monitoring of wildlife and land restoration. Bob’s leadership has been pivotal in distinguishing ABR as a premier environmental services company. The University of Alaska Fairbanks honored him with an Alumni Achievement Award for Business Excellence. He received the M. E. “Pete” Isleib Award in Avian Conservation in recognition of his work in Alaska. Thanks to his vision through the years, ABR has received numerous awards and commendations, including from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska State Legislature, and the Alaska Public Health Association. The Association of Fundraising Professionals honored ABR with the Alaska Philanthropy Day Award for Outstanding Small Business in recognition of our long-term commitment to supporting non-profits through financial, in-kind, and volunteer donations.
Bob has long been active in the Fairbanks community through work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and supporting and volunteering with organizations like Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption, the Alaska Bird Observatory, and the Calypso Farm and Ecology Center. Bob and Bobbie raised three children (Amy, Jacob, and Chad) and have been foster parents to others in Fairbanks. They regularly have combined family vacations with volunteering activities in Australia, Papua-New Guinea, and Africa.
Bob has been the guiding force in the evolution of ABR from a start-up partnership and growing, family-owned business to an established, employee-owned business. We look forward to his continued guidance in ABR’s business development and strengthening community friendships, even as he pursues personal interests and spends more time with his grandchildren.
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