Robert Charles Ivey was born in 1943 to Charles Payne and Jessie Eloise Rushing Ivey. He grew up in Eula, Texas near Abilene. He attended Abilene Christian High School, graduated from Eula High School and Abilene Christian College. His siblings were Richard Ross Ivey and Ron Stailey. He married Sue McKnight.
From the Nuclear Energy Experimental Testing (NEXT) website, here is an interview with Charles by ACU. "When I arrived at ACU as a freshman, there was not a robust physics program. I majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics because they were stronger programs – but not what I really wanted to do. My graduate studies at The University of Texas steered me into chemical physics. Chemistry is a great field of study, but physics is where I found my calling, and all my research was done in the laboratory of the chair of the physics department. Dr. Mike Davis was an inspirational professor who oversaw my research in electron diffraction."
He completed a PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. His dissertation was entitled, "Molecular structure studies of three haloethylenes by gas phase electron diffraction". Professor Harold Hanson and Chemistry Professor Michael Davis supervised the work. Following graduation, he joined Abilene Christian College as a professor of physics.
Charles talks about his time at UT, "I did my Ph.D. work in the electron diffraction lab in Painter directly above Harold’s Tokamak project. It was a great time, and I treasure such inspiring professors as Harold Hanson, F.A. Matsen, E. J. Prouse, Lon Morgan, Ilya Prigogine, and others. I think I was considered a Chemical Physicist but clearly a member of the “ban chemicals except in micro amounts.” Later, when Manfred Fink moved the lab to RLM’s basement, he and I continued to publish some electron diffraction studies for about 10 years. I considered Manfred my “Post Doc” professor even though I was already a professor myself with lots of grants, etc."
Charles was an excellent tennis player. He tells a related story. He would submit his programs to the CDC 6600 computer and the turn around would be hours. While waiting for the results, he would go to the tennis courts where a women's team was practicing. The coach wanted the players to practice against higher speed, topspin shots than they encountered from team members. She asked Charles to rally with them so they could experience a higher level of competition. Charles was glad to help the team.
Charles was an avid sailor and windsurfer and won the US National Master’s Windsurfing Championship and was chosen Windsurfer of the Year by the US Windsurfing Authority. He was appointed coach of the USWA’s national team and led them around the world to championships and events. He was on the Board of Directors of the US Sailing Association, our national Olympic Sailing Authority.
More from the NEXT website, "Ivey joined the ACU faculty in 1969 and became the first Physics chairperson in the early 1970s. He placed special interest in students working with professors in research and led the early push of the department to do funded research projects involving undergraduates. He recruited distinguished faculty and also introduced more cutting edge physics into the curriculum as well as involving ACU in more activities related to the American Institute of Physics and its member societies. His research led to opportunities in the corporate world and launched a second career as an executive innovator who built several market-leading companies."
"Ivey entered the energy engineering business in the early 1980s, serving as vice president of research and development of GeoNuclear Consultants Inc, vice president and technical director of LaJet Geophysical, president of Russell Petroleum, CEO of Dwights Energy Data Inc., and president and co-founder of SoftSearch Inc., a provider of petroleum analysis software systems for energy companies as well as financial institutions. As the industry leader in several fields, he was also afforded the opportunity to provide information and analysis to the medical community for the American Medical Association. Ivey later led the merger of Petroleum Information and Dwights Energy Data to provide the largest energy information and economic evaluation software and energy data company in the world. After arranging a merger with Petro Consultants, he eventually served as CEO of IHS Energy, the acquiring company. He also served as CEO of Tobin International, the leading energy mapping company and a pioneer in GIS."