Alumnus Steve Schaefer retires from namesake firm

Schaefer launched his structural engineering company in 1976

Steve Schaefer, a two-time University of Cincinnati graduate, retired from his namesake structural engineering firm on Dec. 31, 2020. He started Schaefer in 1976 in Cincinnati and served as president until 2006 when he shifted to a principal role to focus on unique projects and collaborations with the firm’s young engineers.  

Steve Schaefer

Steve Schaefer. Photo/provided.

Schaefer earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and his MBA from UC in 1970 and 1976, respectively. The UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) awarded him the Herman Schneider Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. 

Throughout his career, he’s shared his expertise as a member and leader of various professional organizations within the engineering field and he’s been honored with the Southwestern Ohio Building Officials Association Presidential Award and the Ohio Building Officials Association Associate Member of the Year Award. 

In retirement, Schaefer plans to continue volunteering with two organizations with which he has been involved for decades, Working in Neighborhoods and People Working Cooperatively. 

Schaefer’s president, Greg Riley, who took the reins in 2017 and is also a CEAS alumnus, serves on the Industry Advisory Board for UC’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management

“It’s hard to imagine Schaefer without Steve Schaefer,” Riley said on the company website. “In my 25-year tenure, I’ve watched Steve lead as president and transition into a role focused on what he loves to do – engineering. He has been an exceptional resource from the technical and business perspectives for all of our team members, as someone who always made time to share his knowledge when asked.”

The company has provided ongoing support to CEAS including hiring many students through UC’s cooperative education (co-op) program that is integrated into the undergraduate curriculum. In 2020, the firm joined with Messer Construction Co. to fund a six-week summer physics course hosted by CEAS for Cincinnati Public School students to give all students the opportunity to take the class that is a prerequisite for admission to many STEM programs. The effort is part of CPS Strong, a UC initiative to bolster support and college readiness for local students. Schaefer has committed to funding the program for four additional sessions.