I was born in Bay City Michigan to Bob and Joan Rivet in 1961. My dad was a technician at Dow Corning, and my mom was a secretary at a bank and later at a law firm. We were a solid, working class family with a home just outside Bay City across the street from a farm that grew navy beans and sugar beets. I was the oldest of four, I have two younger sisters and a younger brother who was born on February 29th.
My brother and sister and I all attended 12 years of Catholic school, and I went from high school to the University of Michigan, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. After graduation, I moved to Florida to work for Harris Semiconductor, which later became Intersil, and was recently bought by Renesas. The first place I lived in Florida, was here in Malabar. I rented a house on Duncil Lane with two buddies from college who also came to work for Harris. It didn’t take me long to figure out this was where I wanted to be long term. I built the house I live in today in 1988.
I worked as an engineer for Harris for ten years and moved to a marketing position after earning my masters of business administration going to school at night. I only took one class at a time because of my busy work load, but it’s a good thing I did – I met my wife Semen (pronounced like “cement” without the “t”) my last semester before graduation. Semen had come to FIT from Turkey to study; she received her PhD in math at the same time I received my MBA. We got engaged and she searched for a job in the Melbourne area; unfortunately she couldn’t find one here, but took a job as a professor at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. I was able to transfer to a field applications engineer position in Harris’ Chicago office, and we moved to Illinois and got married in 1994. In 1997, I was able to transfer back to Harris in Palm Bay and Semen got a professor position with FIT, where she has been ever since. I did not sell my house here in Malabar when I moved to Illinois because I knew I would be back, it was a matter of when, not if. The only time I was happier than the day we moved back to Malabar was at the birth of my son Denis, a few months later.
In 2000, I became involved in Malabar politics by lobbying the council to pave the town’s connector roads. I decided to run for the District 3 council seat that fall, and won the first of five elections for that position. I have since served seven terms (including the current one – I was unopposed twice).
Harris Semiconductor became Intersil Corp, headquarters moved to Milpitas, CA, and I had worked up the promotions ladder to become a Product Line Director. I headed up a product line that our team built into a $150 million dollar a year business that generated just over one billion dollars of revenue in the 11 years I ran it.
In 2013, Intersil decided it wanted it’s executives at corporate headquarters in Milpitas, and that I would have to move. My son was in high school, and my wife was now a VP at Florida Tech; I couldn’t expect them to move to California, and I decided that I didn’t want to move there without them, so I retired from Intersil. I formed my real estate holding company, RK Holdings of Brevard, and bought, rehabbed, and rented houses in Melbourne, mostly close to FIT.
Once I got the rental business up and running, and our son moved to England to study at Oxford University, things slowed down for me. I had more time to spend on Malabar Town business, but realized I just wasn’t ready to slow down into semi retirement yet. In 2015, I landed an instructor position at Florida Tech’s College of Business, and began work on a doctoral degree. I have been teaching there ever since, and was awarded my Doctor of Business Administration degree in May of this year. My dissertation was “Divestment of Strategic Resources in a Hypercompetitive, Capital Intensive, Knowledge Based Industry”.
I am proud of the seven terms I have served on the council, and of the two years I was was the Council Chairman. I have developed good working relationships with the Town’s staff, and am able to lead the Council by utilizing my education and experience in small and large business, academia, and local government. I am the most well rounded, experienced, and knowledgeable people to have served as a Malabar elected official. I love living in the midst of nature and the quiet lifestyle. This is my home forever.