Roland L. Ruhl
1942 – 2006
Roland L. Ruhl became one of the world’s foremost experts in mechanical/forensic engineering and accident reconstruction. Dr. Ruhl received three degrees from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY: a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1965, a Master’s in Business Administration in 1966, and a Ph.D. with a major in mechanical systems and design, and minors in thermal power and computer science in 1970.
Dr. Ruhl began his mechanical engineering career serving as an assistant professor at Cornell in (1969-1970), and then serving as an assistant professor (1970-1973) in the Department of General Engineering, at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He served as a lecturer at the University of Illinois (1973 -1985), after which he did research and university consulting in the Technology Audit and Assessment Program (1985 - 1997) and as an adjunct professor from 1985 to his death.
Dr. Ruhl was a compassionate mentor and had an insatiable desire to learn and to teach, placing a high value on education and learning. He mentored many engineering students, he donated substantially to the engineering department to help finance graduate students and the special needs of the department. Dr. Ruhl continued to participate in University of Illinois department activities, including graduate research and department community service until his death.
Serving as head of a number of undergraduate design projects between 1970 and 2000, he founded the premier Senior Design Project concept of seeking financial support for design projects from engineering companies across the country. His students won a number of national design awards for their projects. He also financed the industrial research assistantships for a number of graduate students.
His family continued that legacy with a donation in remembrance of his thirty-six year association with and reverence for the University of Illinois to the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems, formerly known as the Department of General Engineering. A new senior lab room in dedication to Dr. Ruhl was unveiled on October 9, 2008.
Dr. Ruhl founded Ruhl Forensic, Inc. in the early 1980’s and served as CEO for over twenty-five years. He was joined through the years by other very competent engineers and specialists and the firm became nationally recognized as a leader in forensic engineering, accident reconstruction, product analysis and biomechanics. Beginning in the 1990’s Dr. Ruhl had been honored by numerous U.S. military requests to serve as an expert in military trials in Europe. He especially enjoyed defending U.S. servicemen involved in accidents abroad.
The firm continues to provide state-of-the-art accident investigation, analysis, reconstruction and testifying services nationwide, and additionally to the armed forces in Europe. Post-Dr. Ruhl’s passing, Ruhl Forensic, Inc. continues to be the sole representative of the United States at AREC, the European crash testing group of engineers and reconstructionists, with members of the Ruhl Forensic staff presenting papers and gathering data each summer in Europe. The firm is also a member of the European organization ibB Forensic Engineering.
Main offices exist in Champaign, IL and Scottsdale, AZ. His wife (Mary – general manager) and children (Rod-engineer, Andrew-business manager, and Laura-attorney) continue Dr. Ruhl’s legacy in the firm, providing services nationally to the plaintiff and defense bars.