Business | Education | Management | Leadership
Bob Bliss has had an exciting and distinguished career in higher education and business. Beginning as Assistant to the President at Adrian College, MI at the age of 20, he progressed in higher education to increasingly responsible positions at Michigan State University and Northern Michigan University. His success at these institutions led him to the Vice Presidency of the prestigious National Merit Scholarship program where he headed the college and university programs and worked with Fortune 500 CEO’s in fundraising for employee child scholarships. This resulted in raising approximately $20 million annually for scholarships. He reached the pinnacle in higher education when he was appointed President of Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston.
In 1977, with a strong desire to utilize his management degrees, he purchased a local firm consisting of 300 employees with seven locations in four states. At the time the firm was near bankruptcy and he was able to reverse the financial situation from a year end loss of $850,000 to a net profit of $1.2 million within 15 months. He then started a second manufacturing company from scratch and within three years employed over 100 employees.
Selling his companies after ten years, Bliss started yet another firm, a business and education consulting company that served clients in both areas. Through his new company, R.L. Bliss & Associates, Inc., he consulted with corporations and colleges across the U.S. which were experiencing management or financial difficulties. As part of this he assumed leadership positions with a number of companies, including:
- Executive Director of WV Home Health Services, (Largest home health care company in WV)
- Chief Operating Officer of Process Strategies, (Outpatient behavioral health company)
- President, Everest Institute, (Major for-profit career institution)
- Vice-President/General Manager, Persinger’s Inc., (Major mining supply company)
In September, 2005, he returned to the University of Charleston as the Chair of the Jones Division of Business and Director of the Executive MBA program.
Bliss is married to the former Susan Christian and has three grown daughters. He is an avid golfer and holder of a commercial pilot’s license with instrument and multi-engine ratings on several different types of aircraft.
He has served on various boards, including the American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House, Board of Advisors of Adrian College, WVS University Foundation, WV Mining & Reclamation Association and past President of Berry Hills Country Club. He holds two degrees from Adrian College and one from Michigan State University