Robert L. Bonawitz
Inducted Saturday, September 26, 2009
Robert Bonawitz graduated from Moorhead High School in 1955. During high school he participated in football, language club, wrestling as co-captain and Lettermen’s Club as president. Bonawitz earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in industrial education from the University of Minnesota in 1959 and 1960. He earned a master’s of business management from University of St. Thomas in 1981.
Following positions at 3M Company in St. Paul, Honeywell, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minneapolis Rehabilitation Center and University of Minnesota Hospitals, Bonawitz worked for Control Data Corporation where he negotiated government and commercial contracts, including classified military projects. Then from 1975-77, Bonawitz was associate director of operations and visitor services for the Minnesota Zoological Gardens, managing the marketing, education services, physical plant operations, security and public services.
He returned to Control Data Corporation in 1977 where he was responsible for negotiating multi-million dollar energy/process control systems contracts and developing international business policies and standards. From 1986-92 he worked as director for contracts and business development for Empros Systems International, a division of Control Data Corp. Bonawitz directed business development activities for Empros, a systems integration/software development business and the leading supplier of large-scale energy management systems to the worldwide electric utility industry.
Bonawitz was president and owner of Orca, Inc., a machine tool company, from 1992 until retiring in 2000. He was also owner and treasurer of Obsidian, an engineering and computer products company.
Following his retirement, Bonawitz moved to Willmar, Minn., where he has devoted time to teaching, counseling as a member of SCORE, consulting and volunteering. He served as president of the Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission and as a member of the Allied Power Board of Directors, Twin Cities Chapter of the National Contract Management Association, Minnesota Zoological Society, Willmar Noon Lions and other church and community-related organizations as a board member or volunteer.
Robert and his wife, Donna, live in Willmar, Minnesota. They have six children, Jana, Bob, Lisa, Sara, Luke and John, and six grandchildren.