KIRK FORDICE was born in Memphis, Tennessee; he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1956 and a master’s degree in industrial management in 1957 from Purdue University. After graduate school, he served two years active duty as an engineer officer in the First Infantry Division of the U.S. Army and became airborne qualified. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1977 with the rank of colonel after serving 18 years. He worked as a professional engineer and CEO of Fordice Construction Company before being elected Governor. He served as president of the Associated General Contractors of America and as chair of the Southern Governors’ Association, Appalachian Regional Commission, Southern States Energy Board, and the Southern Technology Council. He was elected governor in 1991 and reelected in 1995.