The very building in which Bruce Bates’ structural engineering software company was located was designed — entirely by chance — by the same software the company created.
That’s an example of the ubiquitousness of software by RISA technologies, which was founded, owned, and operated by Bates, an alumnus of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.
“We’ve been in this building since 2000; we’re one of the original tenants. So when we relocated from our prior location to this building, of course we sent out notification to all of our clients that we relocated, and one of our clients called me up and said, ‘Hey, I designed that building and I used your software to do it,’” Bates said. “So, if there are any issues, I guess I have myself to blame.”
For a civil engineering Hokie who originally envisioned himself as a structural engineer, his diverging path into software development paid off — quite literally. In November 2017, European software provider Nemetschek acquired RISA Technologies, citing the Foothill Ranch, California-based company’s prominent use by top design firms in the U.S.
Bates demonstrates the caliber of a Virginia Tech alumnus, with both a 1979 bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a 1981 master of science degree in structural engineering from the Charles Edward Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
But his good example doesn’t end there: Bates reconnected with the university all the way from California by giving back philanthropically and of his time.