Richard Lee Ehlers was bom on September 10, 1958 in Minden, Nebraska, to Ray & Elaine Ehlers and baptized as a child of God on Oct. 12, 1958, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hildreth, Nebraska, where his father was the Pastor. Rich has two sisters, Debra Sloan and Rebecca Neal. He lived and attended school in several towns where his father served, Nashua, Ellsworth, & Monona, Iowa. Rich was confirmed on 4/29/1973 at Trinity Lutheran in Ellsworth Iowa. He graduated from MFL in 1976, attended Luther College from 1976-80 where he graduated with degrees in Math and Physics. He went on to graduate school at Purdue University from 1980-82 for his Masters in Computer Science. From there he went to work with one of the pioneer companies in the field of computer graphics, Evans & Sutherland, in Salt Lake City.
Rich was employed at Evans & Sutherland from 1982 to 2002. While at E&S, he worked in the field of 3D computer graphics, a technology for which he had a talent and passion. Rich's career advanced quickly from software engineer to managing software teams and serving as company representative on committees which architected 3D graphics standards. He was very active in the 3D graphics industry, for many years serving key roles in the major national graphics conferences of SIGGRAPHand National Computer Graphics Association (NCGA).
In his second decade at E&S, Rich was fortunate to be at the forefront of the emerging and exciting industry of 3D graphics on the personal computer. He served as Director of Graphics System Software and Director of System Architecture as E&S produced some of the first consumer-level 3D graphics cards available for the Pc. This industry was instrumental in transforming 3D graphics from its original realm of high-cost workstations to that of home pes and game consoles. His leadership, management and people skills produced a highly cohesive and motivated team of engineers that enjoyed this exciting time with him.
From 2002-2011 Rich was employed at iBAHN Corporation as Head of Broadband Engineering where he managed the Software Engineering and Quality Assurance efforts for the iBAHN broadband products. He had employees working on his projects from across the world including in India, Scotland, and the Netherlands. His acute sense of organization allowed him to juggle the many time zones and cultures that made up his team of engineers. Rich brought a high degree of technical talent to influence decisions and set vision for the company's technology decisions. Rich was the company's representative for various industry technology councils such as HTNG and helped drive the direction of technology standards in the Hotel industry. Rich was cool and calm under pressure and was key in helping disparate teams come up with innovative solutions for a wide variety of technical challenges.
Rich married Jennifer Jo (J.J.) Haley on September 29, 1990, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church. They had 2 beautiful children, Haley born in 1993 and Jaron in 1996. When Rich and J.J. married, she was living in Chicago and he in Salt Lake. J-J. felt she was moving into his house, his work and his Jazz seats, so asked that they find a church to attend together. After visiting all of the Lutheran churches in Salt Lake, Rich suggested they visit the small church in Park City that was meeting in the Catholic Church in Old Town. Although J.J. had grown up in a large church, she fell in love with that small Lutheran congregation, so they joined. After Haley was born they decided they wanted to live where they worshipped and they purchased their home in Jeremy Ranch. Rich was very active in the worship and music of SOM, including being choir director for several years, serving as Assisting Minister, and serving on Worship committee for many years, as well as a stint on the church council and most recently as a member of the Praise Band. In addition to his involvement at SOM, Rich was known for his passion for Star Wars, Star Trek and anything Pixar, having known some of the original founders of Pixar. He loved doing anything that involved his family, so attended lots of gymnastic and dive meets, as well as serving as an assistant scoutmaster and accompanying Jaron on piano and clarinet for recitals. In recent years he had begun certification to be an official for the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton and enjoyed working at those events at the Olympic Park. Rich traveled extensively with his job and had visited much of Europe, Japan and most recently India, although Haley is proud of the fact that she has visited more countries than he had.