Army Staff Sergeant Kenneth Riding was born in Moab, UT before it was a vacation and holiday mecca. Back then it was a uranium mining town and his father worked as a chemical engineer for a local uranium mine. Unfortunately, nuclear power fell out of national favor and the mines started closing down. These closures caused his family to move a number of times while he was young, but he claims Delta, UT (his middle school years) and Ephraim, UT (his High School years) as his hometowns. Central Utah was a great place to grow up with easy access to southern Utah’s National Parks and close enough to Provo, UT to sneak up to the dollar theater for an afternoon of cheap movie viewing.
SSG Riding graduated from Manti High school in Manti, UT. At age 17, while still a high school student, he joined the Manti Utah Army National Guard Unit, Bravo Battery 1/145 Field Artillery as a 13B Cannoneer. He attended basic training at Fort Sill, OK. For a small-town boy from rural Utah, this was a very eye-opening experience. Later in his ARMY career he decided to change military specialties to 12Y, Geospatial Engineer. This time he went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO to learn how to become a cartographer. This is the military occupation he currently performs for the 65th Field Artillery Brigade based in Camp WIlliams, UT. Taking advantage of his academic scholarships and the ARMY GI bill, SSG Riding attended Utah State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Right after graduating, SSG Riding started working for Alliant TechSystems (ATK) as a Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) Research and Development (R&D) Engineer. In this role he helped design, build, and integrate robotic inspection equipment into a high-paced production environment. Due to mergers and buyouts he worked for three different companies: ATK, Orbital ATK, and Northrop Grumman, while remaining on the same team and cubical. Always a glutton for punishment, while working as an engineer he decided to further his education earning a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Throughout his time as a student and an engineer, SSG Riding has always wanted to teach math, physics, chemistry, and science to high school students. When he saw the posting for an Engineering Instructor at Utah Military Academy, he jumped at the chance to teach real engineering to our nation's future.
Even though SSG Riding does a lot of super geeky and nerdy activities, he also likes to think he has some very cool hobbies. He is an avid mountain biker, currently thrashing up the hills on a full suspension carbon fiber Salsa Redpoint. He gets excited about hiking, rock climbing, cliff jumping, and camping. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wonderful and supportive family. Most of all he loves feeling closer with nature while experiencing quiet moments in the woods.