Three Minutes with Steve Ryherd

Steve Ryherd is originally from Ankeny, Iowa. He started his Scott Scholarship in 2001 and graduated from PKI in 2006 with a Master’s of Architectural Engineering. He currently lives in Atlanta and works for Arpeggio Acoustic Consulting, LLC. Contact him via Facebook and LinkedIn.

As acoustics consultants, we work with people in the building industry to address sound and vibration issues in the built environment. Arpeggio does anything sound vibration related that doesn’t have wires – we don’t do sound system design.

I came to Arpeggio Acoustic Consulting as a partner three years ago. Every project is unique. Right now, we’re developing a noise ordinance for municipalities in Louisiana. We are helping the policy makers understand the impact of environmental noise on a community. I’m also designing a brand new training facility for the Army Band at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. It involves looking at room acoustics, sound isolation between practice rooms, and mechanical noise control within the building. The neat part about the band training facility is we are a driving force in the design process. Too often we’re brought in as an afterthought.

Recently I was approached by a large church with speech intelligibility issues in their existing sanctuary. In that case, we go on-site to take measurements with a sound level meter to investigate reverberations times. Site visits can be as much qualitative as it is quantitative, running the spectrum from number- crunching analysis to listening for where a noise is coming from or how something sounds.

Living in Atlanta has been wonderful. It’s warm but we still have all the seasons including  our one week of snow per year. This year, we got an unusually high four inches of snow along with a quarter inch of ice with freezing temperatures because of no sun for three days. A guy was even ice skating on Peachtree Street in downtown. This rare winter event shut the city down. Atlanta has four million people and ten snow plows – you do the math. Some people complain about Atlanta’s heat in the summer, but I will take that heat with air-conditioning over months of winter anytime.

I had a friend come down to visit two years ago [who may or may not be the interviewer]. After visiting  the world’s largest aquarium, we left our car there and headed to a Braves game, confirming with a security guard it would be fine before departing. After the game, we get back to find the parking garage closed. We had to climb a wall and get onto a fire escape before finally find our car. After driving around and around, we found a hand-operated exit. We had to answer some questions from another security guard, but it’s one of my more unique stories from Atlanta.

Erica and I are finishing the last few things on our former foreclosed home. We spent the first month with a contractor making it inhabitable and then moved in. The previous owners had managed to destroy it, taking out all lighting fixtures, half of the mechanical systems, and a tub. We’ve been slowly working on it for the last two and a half years but just have the last couple of rooms to paint.

I am the proud owner of a shuffle board table—a lifelong goal that came true much sooner than expected. Sam’s Club had them on clearance for $75. I couldn’t pass it up. We had to rent a special vehicle to get the thing here, but it was well worth it!

The Scott Scholarship provided me the most opportunity for post-secondary education that I could find. It’s a quality degree through the University of Nebraska, but on top of that, you’re surrounded by some of the most intelligent minds in the Midwest with access to professors and staff who are open and supportive of you and your efforts in whatever it is you want to do.

I can’t encourage people enough to study abroad. I spent a semester abroad in Budapest, Hungary, in undergrad and a year abroad in Gothenburg, Sweden, after graduating from the University of Nebraska. The opportunity to look at American society – most likely the only culture you’ve ever known and lived in – from the outside makes you appreciate it more. It opens you up to new ways of thinking. Until you experience living abroad, it’s tough to understand, but it is worth the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Swedish soccer fans were the craziest fans I have ever seen in my life. Sweden is perceived at times as a very passive, neutral country, but when it comes to “football” they are true fanatics. They stood and sang/yelled the whole game. At one point, they brought out road flares in the middle of the crowd which emitted so much smoke I couldn’t see three people away from me, let alone the field.

For a Fulbright Scholarship, there are endless possibilities of where you can go and what you can do. Do your research on the program. Be creative in selecting your destination and your topic of study. I encourage you to not be intimidated about the idea of applying.

Find this and other interviews of Scott Scholar Alumni at If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview, have a request to hear about someone else, or just have any other comments or suggestions, please contact Kyle Hoback.

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