O. Charles Roddey
Hall of Distinction Class of 1986-1987
Otha Charles (Charlie) Roddey was born in Arkansas and brought up in Fairbanks, a small town in North Louisiana. In 1940, Mr. Roddey graduated from Ouachita Parish High School, in Monroe, and entered the LSU College of Engineering.
Like many of his classmates, his education was interrupted by World War II, and Mr. Roddey served for three and a half years in the Pacific. In 1946, he left the Army as a captain, returning to LSU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from LSU, in 1947, and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Roddey began his professional career with the Esso (Later Exxon) laboratories at Baton Rouge as a process development engineer, working primarily in advanced catalytic cracking techniques and fluid catalytic reforming. Mr. Roddey went on to work in engineering and in sales and sales management at Southwestern Engineering, of Los Angeles, and Nichols Construction, in Baton Rouge. In 1961, he began his long and successful association with the Ralph M. Parsons Company.
Mr. Roddey’s career in the Parsons organization began in their New York offices as a business development engineer. In 1965 he returned to technical work, moving to corporate headquarters in Los Angeles as manager of process engineering and precontract operations.
In 1974 Mr. Roddey was made a senior vice president and manager of Parson’s petroleum and chemical division, the company’s largest business unit. The next half dozen years were a period of substantial challenges and enormous growth for Parsons and Mr. Roddey, who undertook projects involving billions of dollars of investment throughout the world.
Mr. Roddey joined Parson’s Board of Directors in 1977, was promoted to executive vice president in 1978, and became the president of the Parsons Company in 1979. In 1983, he became president of the parent company, the Parsons Corporation, and he also serves on its board.
Mr. Roddey has given long and active service to a number of civic organizations in the Southern California area, including the United Way, the Boy Scouts of America, and the YMCA/YWCA. He holds membership in a number of professional and honorary societies, including Phi Eta Sigma, Tau Bata Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Chi Sigma. In 1984, Mr. Roddey was recognized by MIT fro distinguished corporate leadership, and he was elected in 1985 to LSU’s Alumni Hall of Distinction.
In 1951, Mr. Roddey married to the former Hilda May Blaine, who was then an employee of the LSU Department of Chemical Engineering. The Roddeys have two daughters and four grandchildren, all residents of California.
In January 1988, Mr. Roddey retired as president of the Parsons Corporation. He remains a member of the Board of Directors and plans to continue active participation in other civic and business affairs.
Through his professional accomplishments and his service to the community, Otha Charles Roddey has proven himself to be an engineer of distinction, and the College of Engineering is pleased to recognize him as such.