After graduating from Notre Dame and serving as a Naval Officer, Rick began his career at his family’s business, Kirk & Blum, as a Sales Engineer in 1972. Kirk & Blum produced industrial sheet metal products, air pollution control systems on a design/build basis and installed them. Rick became President of Kirk & Blum, succeeding his retiring father, in 1982. By the mid 90’s it had become the largest company of its kind in the U.S. In 1999, K & B was owned by Rick, his two brothers who were active in the business, and three sisters who were not. Working with their Advisory Board the family decided that the best solution to their succession issues was to sell the company. The company was sold to Ceco Environmental, a publicly traded company, in December of 1999. Rick became the President and Chief Operating Officer of Ceco and his two brothers continued at K & B.