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Bio of Robert O. Agbede
Chairman, CEO & President

Robert O. Agbede is President and CEO of Chester Engineers, a leading water/waste water, facility design build, scientific research and management company. Chester, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has offices throughout the country as well as international affiliates. Mr. Agbede acquired the firm, that turned 100 last year, in 2003, making it part of the ATS Group, the company he founded in 1987. Chester Engineers is the largest African-American-owned environmental and engineering design firm in the United States and the largest Water and Wastewater treatment plant design and management firm in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.

A recognized expert in the field of environmental engineering, Mr. Agbede is a University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering graduate with Bachelors and Masters Degrees and a holder of several U.S. patents. In 2000, he was inducted into the school's Engineering Hall of Fame, joining other prominent graduates who have made significant contributions to American industry. Mr. Agbede is the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Pittsburgh.

Engineering News-Record [ENR], a recognized authority for engineering and technical news with a subscriber base of 78,000, ranked Chester number 268 on its Top 500 Design Firms List for 2010. ENR also ranked Chester on its Top 200 Environmental Firms list. The Pittsburgh Business Times honored Chester as a Pittsburgh 100, distinguishing it as one of the 100 fastest growing companies in the region. The National Conference of Black Mayors designated Chester Engineers its "engineering firm of record" and Program Manager for member communities. The company's exemplary performance, under Mr. Agbede's leadership, was a prime determinant in its selection.

Mr. Agbede has developed a work culture that emphasizes the importance of giving back, viewing corporate social responsibility as good business. Chester engages with small/minority businesses and students in areas of mentoring. The Robert O. Agbede Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh benefits African American students pursuing engineering degrees. Also at the University of Pittsburgh, the Robert O. Agbede Annual Diversity Award encourages recruitment and retention of African American faculty and students. Chester endowments at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, presently valued at over 3 million dollars, support African American student enrollment and retention primarily in Engineering and Sciences.

A partial listing of Mr. Agbede's board memberships and noted appointments follow:

  • Board member, UPMC, an 8-billion dollar medical system that employs over 50,000 employees;
  • Member of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Leadership Group of the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh;
  • Former Board member, The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where he later served as Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh branch;
  • Board member, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a private sector leadership organization with over 300 regional investors committed to economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania;
  • Member of National Advisory Councils to the last three U.S. Secretaries of Energy. Presently serves as a Member of the National Coal Council Advisory Body to the current U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Obama;
  • Former member of the Governor of Pennsylvania Advisory Commission on African American Affairs to advise the Governor on matters pertinent to African Americans in the commonwealth;
  • Board Member of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering Board of Visitors; Chairman, Diversity Committee;
  • Founding Board Member and former Chair of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania for seven years;
  • Board Member of the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority;
  • Former Board Member of the Fox Chapel Water Authority;
  • Former Board Member of the United Way of Western Pennsylvania;
  • Former Board Member of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh;
  • Former Board of Trustees of LaRoche University, Pittsburgh.
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