About Richard Cahoon ’77 Tech Center
The Tech Center, funded by a generous gift from Richard “Dick” Cahoon ’77 to the Mu Chapter of Sigma Pi Educational Foundation, is a state-of-the-art video-conferencing system that will facilitate interactions between undergraduates and alumni. The Tech Center, which is housed in the Memorial Room of Sigma Pi, will allow for one-to-one and one-to-many webcasts between alumni and undergraduates. A frequent request from Sigma Pi undergraduates is for alumni assistance with career planning, internships, mentorships, and job placement. The undergraduates also want advice from alumni regarding graduate school and/or post graduate degrees. The Richard Cahoon ’77 Tech Center will directly address these requests and play a pivotal role in Sigma Pi’s focus on career and mentoring. As such, the Richard Cahoon ’77 Tech Center aligns with the Mu Chapter of Sigma Pi Educational Foundation’s mission.
The Tech Center’s state-of-the-art teleconference equipment, including a hydraulic lift to raise the 50-inch monitor, is housed in a custom-built, oak cabinet made by John Kingsley Furniture. The design of the cabinet carefully matches the historic decor of the Memorial Room at Sigma Pi. For almost 30 years, John Kingsley Furniture has specialized in hand-crafted residential and commercial wooden furniture. Over the last two decades, he has grown his business to include AWI premium grade architectural mill work, custom interior and exterior doors, complicated Manhattan kitchens and bathrooms, restaurant and bar interior design development and production, and the successful completion of many unique projects.
Richard Cahoon ’77 Statement at Unveiling Ceremony
“As technology was fueling the NASDAQ in the late 90’s there were actual efficiencies that could change a lumbering industry into something far more efficient. We started Dealer Tire in 2000 and bet our future on technology. The car industry was changing, tire inventories were getting complicated so we decided to choose the Auto Dealer channel and make tire and related services easy and profitable for car dealers. That was our mission statement. The business sold in December for $1.425 billion to an investment firm that understands value. Unfettered access to information for our customers was the key to making it work. We refused to use in 2000 what we believed were old technologies of fax machines, phone calls and the like to process transactions. All transaction from day one were web transactions. It was the key to value.
Today’s college students have more and faster access to everything than any generation prior. In order for Sigma Pi to continue its’ positive trajectory, we need to make certain that all the benefits available to today’s students are available at the Pi House. It is why your Alumni Board and Education committee wanted to make this investment and it is why I made the gift. My two brief years at Cornell taught me more about myself and my abilities than any other period of my life. Although I didn’t earn my degree here, I owe much of my success in life to Cornell and the Pi House. I am honored to be here. Thank you.”
About Richard “Dick” Cahoon ’77
Dick was born and raised in Akron and graduated from Firestone High School in 1973. He went off to Cornell, joining Sigma Pi in 1974. After Cornell, Dick returned to Akron working at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. and attending night school at the University of Akron. Dick met his wife Doreen at Firestone, and they married in 1979. He went on to have a highly successful career in the automotive industry—specializing in tires—working at companies such as the Dunlop Tire Corporation where he ended up becoming the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing to assist in the start-up of Dealer Tire, LLC in Cleveland. Now retired, Dick has always made time to give back. He has served on the Board of Directors at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, MOCA Cleveland, College Now Greater Cleveland and Progressive Arts Alliance. He is currently the Lead Partner with Cleveland Social Ventures and an active supporter of his fraternity, Sigma Pi at Cornell University.
As part of the Educational Foundation’s mission to provide Sigma Pi Brothers with opportunities that enhance their undergraduate experience, the board has approved the creation of two paid internships– The Richard Cahoon’77 Tech Center Operations Manager and Community Programing/ Marketing/Development Manager. The Tech Center manager will be responsible for operations, management, scheduling, and upkeep for the Tech Center. Both of these internships will enhance our current investments in the new Tech Center as well as help us expand our community programming, marketing, and development efforts. In addition, the interns will also benefit from direct interaction and mentoring from Foundation Board members.