Alumni Robert W. Irish Jr. and Col. (Ret.) Thomas A. Schneider are the 2008 inductees into the Military Science Hall of Honor.
Irish received his B.A. in mathematics from Arlington State College (now UT Arlington) in 1966. A member of the national champion pistol team in 1962-63, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps and assigned to the Army Reserve. Following two years of active duty in Korea, he embarked on a business career.
After serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing at Comspec, a technology group, he resigned in 1984 to form his own company, Intermec Southwest. He retired in 1990, but companies sought him for leadership and board positions.
"When companies contacted me, I thought I might as well just go back to doing what I enjoyed," he said. "Besides, I thought 47 years old was too young to retire."
He was CEO of Exchange Data Corp. in 1991 and four years later became chief operating officer of FAS Technologies, serving through 2001. From 2001 to 2004, he was chair of TEC International, an organization that provides mentoring to new CEOs. He has served as chief operating officer of Controls International since 2004.
In 2004 he was one of 43 executives selected to tour military bases in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. The group received high-level briefings on the latest efforts to combat terrorism in sensitive areas of the world.
"The JCOC was one of the highlights of my life," Irish said. "The high degree of professionalism of the military leadership was a joy to interact with."
Irish and his wife, Eddy, live in Dallas and have five children and eight grandchildren.
Col. Schneider received his B.A. in history in 1977. He was team commander for the UT Arlington Sam Houston Rifles drill team, which won the Texas State Championship in 1977. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps following graduation.
"My ROTC experience, highlighted by commanding the Sam Houston Rifles, taught me the basic elements of leadership that I carried with me throughout my career," he said.
He went on to be chief of maintenance evaluation at the Cold Regions Test Center in Fort Greeley, Alaska, then spent time as an ordnance adviser in Saudi Arabia.
He served as commander of the 201st Forward Support Battalion, stationed in Germany, and later deployed to Bosnia. "During that time I had the privilege to serve with some of the most dedicated and talented soldiers and NCOs in the U.S. Army," he said.
Promoted to colonel, Schneider's final assignment was commander, United Nations Command (Rear). He was the representative in Japan responsible for interacting with the Japanese government, U.S. forces in Japan and the embassies of eight UNC member nations. He retired in 2004.
His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Army Commendation Medal (five awards) and National Defense Service Medal (two awards).
Since September 2005 he has been in Kuwait, serving as deputy project manager for CSA Ltd., a government contractor that provides personnel to perform base support functions for Area Support Group, Kuwait.
Schneider has two children. His wife, June, is an occupational health nurse in Kuwait.
— Jim Patterson
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