Rippke was also instrumental in getting the civil engineering program started at MSU in 2000. He and John Frey, head of the science, engineering and technology program, talked about the need to add civil engineering to the mechanical and electrical engineering programs at MSU.
"My concern was that without a civil engineering program, young people from southern Minnesota who didn't want to go to a big-city school were going to other states to school," Rippke said. Today the program graduates 25 civil engineers each year with Bolton & Menk hiring many of them and giving experience to many others as interns.
"It's wonderful for us and all the other engineering employers in the area."
Bolton & Menk began an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in the 1980s. A number of the longtime professionals working at the firm own more shares in the company while other employees earn stocks each year. Rippke said the firm created an ownership balance so that longtime professionals have a strong stake in the ownership — but not too big of a stake. Too much stock in a few hands, he said, can lead to those stocks —and effectively the company — being sold to another firm when top people retire.
Rippke's been involved in advisory boards at MSU and his alma mater of South Dakota State University, has served on several engineering related boards, as well as several local boards and commissions. In 2002 he was named Engineer of the Year by the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers.
Retirement, he said, will allow him to devote more time to his hobbies, including motorcycling, gardening golf and hunting.
"I hope to eliminate the coyote population in southern Minnesota."