2019 Outstanding Alumni

Rich Roth

Rich Roth ‘80

Rich Roth, a Montana native, spent his formative years on the IX Ranch near Big Sandy, Montana, where his mother Audrey and father Art were ranch managers and partners. Rich would leave the ranch to pursue a degree from Montana State University in the early 1970s.

In 1975, after receiving his bachelor of science degree in microbiology, Rich’s career looked to be heading towards the sciences. However, earning a Master’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Montana and passing the certified public accountant exam in 1980 put Rich on a path to utilize both of his degrees.

Upon graduating from UM, Rich was hired as a CPA with a national firm in Billings, Montana where he worked primarily on large oil and gas accounts. In 1986, Rich took the opportunity to transfer to San Jose, California.

After working on the account of a publicly traded utility in San Jose, the company hired Rich as its Chief Financial Officer in 1990. This would start a 28-year career helping provide water services to millions of people. It is now one of the largest private water utilities in the U.S.

Rich quickly worked his way from CFO to vice president in 1992; to corporate president in 1996; and to Chief Executive Officer in 1999. He helped oversee the expansion of the company into the rapidly developing I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin.

Rich was the principal architect of large complex public-private partnerships, including lease concessions, contract service agreements, and acquisitions. Most notably the acquisition and development of a water and wastewater utility in central Texas; and a large regional water supply project serving the I-35 corridor.

A leader in the industry, Rich has served as president of the National Association of Water Companies and spent six years as a trustee on the Water Research Foundation. He is also a former chairman of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Rich has served on numerous local charitable and non-profit boards, including the UM College of Business Advisory Council. He was elected to the UM Foundation Board of Trustees in the fall of 2013.

Currently, Rich lives with his wife Viviane in Austin, Texas and serves as a senior operating officer at an independent investment firm focused on North American infrastructure opportunities. He is also still directly involved with Montana ranching, serving on the board of directors for the IX Ranch Company.