Robert "Bob" Wubbena earned engineering degrees in 1966 and 1968.
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The University of Iowa Center for Advancement honor Iowa alums, age 80 and over, who carry the Hawkeye spirit of achievement and continue to help others. Find the full list of winners here.

Robert Wubbena

After becoming the first in his family to receive a college degree, the Bristow, Iowa, native began his career with Washington state's Drinking Water Program in 1968. There, Wubbena helped develop a 50-year water use strategy, and 10 years later, he founded Economic and Engineering Services, a regional consulting firm that grew to include 5 offices and 75 employees. He served as the company's chief executive officer through 2006, then continued as an executive for three years, following a merger with HDR Engineering.

Throughout the last five decades, Wubbena has been a global leader in improving water quality. In 1972, he helped found the International Association of Operator Certification. He also was the international president of the American Water Works Association in 1996 and remains active with Rotary International, Transform International, and other organizations. From 1990 to 2024, he traveled the world and managed water projects in 10 developing countries. In addition, he provides pro-bono engineering services for camps and churches in the Pacific Northwest. Wubbena received the 2013 Rotary International Service Above Self Award.

Wubbena and his wife established two scholarships at Iowa: One is for first-generation students, or those with financial need, in the area of South Puget Sound, and the other—the Bob and Joan Wubbena UI Graduate Engineering Fellowship—supports water-quality research. The Wubbenas are proud parents of three children who also pay it forward.