Robert F. Sykes attended Bucknell University as a member of the Class of 1947, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He continued his studies at Harvard Business School and completed a Master of Business Administration in 1949.
Since graduation Sykes has distinguished himself professionally and has provided noteworthy contributions to Bucknell University and the College of Engineering. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1982-87 and in 2008 established the Robert F. Sykes Engineering Endowment to support innovative curricular programs in the College of Engineering with special emphasis on first- and second-year student programs and student retention. In 2012 he also established the Reed-Garman Award for Engineering Entrepreneurship in memory of Professors Reed and Garman who were dedicated faculty and whom he credited with teaching him how to succeed in a busy environment after college.
Sykes began his professional career at Kodak in industrial engineering until he was recalled to the U.S. Navy for two years during the Korean War when he served as a Chief Engineer on a Navy destroyer. In 1956 he joined his father's utility construction company and in 1963 became its President. In 1968 he started Sykes Datatronics with his brother and developed a digital cassette/disc storage system. Sykes Datatronics grew and became successful, particularly through its business with AT&T. In 1987, he purchased a majority interest in Everflow Eastern, which was reorganized into a public master limited partnership in 1990 and began oil and gas operations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sykes retired as the Chairman of the Board of Everflow in 2005. He also served on the board of directors for Voplex Inc., a manufacturer of molded plastic products for automotive, locomotive and various other applications; MOOG Inc., a worldwide designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision motion control products and systems; and ACC Corp., a long-distance and internet telecommunications company.
The length and depth of Sykes's commitment to Bucknell has been extraordinary. His accomplishments, service and dedication to his profession, to society, and to Bucknell University have earned him the respect and gratitude of Bucknell University's engineering alumni. It is therefore with the highest regard and warmest affection that on November 1, 2014, the Bucknell University College of Engineering and the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association present to Robert F. Sykes, Class of 1947, the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.