Vincent O. Smith was born in Sheridan and enrolled at UW in 1940. He interrupted his college career to work as a land surveyor and to serve as operations officer of an engineer construction battalion during WWII, in the Pacific Theater. After earning his CE degree in 1950, he worked 10 years for the California Division of Highways being promoted to District Construction Engineer. He joined Gordon H. Balls Inc., as General Manager, in 1960 and was involved in construction of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System; Washington D.C. Metro; Vandenberg AFB Space Shuttle Launching Facility; San Luis Canal; excavation for Grand Coulee Third Power Plant; and many other major projects. Smith retired from Gordon H. Ball Inc. in 1976, as President and Chairman, to found his own company. For 24 years he operated Mark O. Engineering and Construction Co., specializing in arbitration of claims and completion of defaulted construction contracts.