Ron Schoenheit (B.S. Mathematics ’65) is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for his accomplishments that have brought honor, distinction and visibility to the College of Science.
As founder and president of Cascade Coil Drapery, Schoenheit brings more than 55 years of experience to his role as a member of the College’s Board of Advisors and is an active supporter of initiatives to enhance student learning. “I’m glad my interest in science has been recognized. It makes me feel that I’ve achieved something during my life,” he said.
Schoenheit started his career early, sweeping sidewalks at five years old and delivering newspapers. “I had four routes at one point. I learned spelling by going around taking orders for subscriptions,” he said. At 15 years old, he began working for the family company, Pacific Fence and Wire.
He credits his experiences working at every level of the company for his current success.“I think that one of the advantages I had in communicating with people was that I used to work in a blue-collar job so I had respect for the people in all the companies I worked for,” he said. “A lot of the best ideas would come from people down in the ranks – not my engineering boss.”
“You use math in everything, whether you call it engineering or you call it science.”
Schoenheit founded Cascade Coil Drapery in 1987, building on what his grandfather established in 1921. With endless creativity and a passion for learning, he broadened the company lineup from primarily fireplace curtains to the innovation powerhouse it is today. Today, Cascade Coil Drapery makes metal curtains that serve a variety of purposes throughout the world. From the backdrop for a Rolling Stones concert tour, to providing window coverings for embassies overseas, Schoenheit’s wire drapery provides beauty as well as blast protection.
Staying up to date on all the latest innovations, Shoenheit often finds ways to incorporate them into his own work. At the request of an interior designer, he even began making high-end wire mesh shower curtains.
The innovation and flexibility of the company model has consistently adapted to diverse uses for its environmentally friendly, sustainably designed metalworks. A timely new collaboration with Oregon State microbiologist Maude David works to design copper screens that they hope can be used in public areas to reduce virus and bacteria transmission.