Chris King’s Rose-Hulman degree prepared him to make a difference

The right college, the right education, and internships to gain real-world experience has brought Chris King to a point in life where he is doing what he wants to be doing and is living where he wants to live – and making a difference in his hometown. He hopes that will be true for future Shelby County high school graduates.

King, a Shelby county native and 2002 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate with a degree in civil engineering, is executive vice president of Runnebohm Construction Company Inc. He also serves on MainStreat Shelbyville and the Blue River Community Foundation. He believes his degree in civil engineering prepared him for all of these roles.

King’s family heritage extends six or seven generations in Shelby County and he always had the desire to return to the community following college. He believes the work he is doing is valuable. And, he credits his education for preparing him.

“Rose-Hulman prepared me to take any problem and find a solution – with enough information, you can find a good solution,” King says. “I’m able to take a lot of information and understand it quickly.”

His only college application was Rose-Hulman. The college’s reputation as the nation’s leader in undergraduate engineering was a factor. He was an Eli Lilly Community Scholarship recipient, a program with the goal of retaining college graduates in Indiana.

His experiences at Rose-Hulman – the education, internships, and even playing on the basketball team–gave King the tools to return to his community and make a contribution. He participated in his first internship as a freshman at Rose-Hulman, and followed each school year with additional internships, gaining valuable work experience near his hometown.

“Internships were extremely important,” he says. “They gave me real-world experience, and because they were close to home, I had the opportunity to see the potential in this community, and I could find ways to be innovative.”

King has had a leadership role in developing a partnership between Rose-Hulman, Shelby County, and the City of Shelbyville – Innovative Model: Positioning Communities for Transformation (IMPaCT). The project will be beneficial to his community and his alma mater.

King says students need to realize that if they want to return home after college, there are opportunities. Shelby County and Shelbyville offer opportunities to be involved in a diverse manufacturing industry – with companies from Japan, the Netherlands, Britain, and Germany.

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