ST. LOUIS — Bob Gender, region manager at Western Specialty Contractors, will retire on Dec. 31, 2020 after 37 years with the company.

Gender started his career at Western in 1983 in its sealant division, then transferred soon after to the marketing department. In 1986, he moved into the company’s operations department and became a sales/project manager in the roofing and waterproofing division. Twelve years later, Gender was promoted to department manager, then in 2004 he was promoted to branch manager of Western’s St. Louis Roofing branch. In January 2019, he was promoted to region manager, overseeing the company’s roofing and sheet metal branches.

“Bob’s career dedication and the knowledge he developed over the past three decades are irreplaceable and he is going to be missed,” said Vice President of East Operations Bill Hohmeier, who has known Gender for 22 years. “He is a mentor and a role model to so many of us. The friendships he has forged during his time at Western will not end with his retirement; that is how great of a guy he is.”

Gender said he will miss the relationships he has cultivated within the Western family, many of which he’s had for his entire career, his teammates at St. Louis Operations, ownership and upper management. He will remember the many high-profile projects that he worked on during his career, which included the Thomas. F. Eagleton Federal Court House, Metropolitan Square, America’s Center, Danforth Plant Science Center, and many more.

In recent years, he says the most memorable and rewarding aspect of his career was assisting with the acquisition of Great Plains Roofing and Sheet Metal, renovating Western’s new 75,000-square-foot facility for St. Louis Operations, and connecting and mentoring the next generation of Western employees.

“It’s been a great ride and an ideal career that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Western has great ownership that genuinely leads by way of example — a family culture and moral compass. It’s been a privilege and an honor working with all of the different departments within Western — executive management, HR, risk management, business development, accounting, safety and legal.”

Gender said he plans to spend his retirement visiting with his parents, siblings and two children and enjoying wood working, hunting and fishing. He also plans to spend a lot more time at the family farm cultivating the land for the wildlife, raising bees and starting an orchard of fruit and Christmas trees.