Professor Rivera came to JBU after a successful career as a practicing attorney; and has over thirty-years experience in the practice of law in both government and the private sector. After several years spent in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana, Prof. Rivera entered public service for two years as a Deputy Attorney General in the State of Indiana where he specialized in litigation, constitutional, and injunctive law and was a member of the Attorney General’s death penalty team. Prof. Rivera was appointed by Governor Evan Bayh to the Indiana Parole Board where he served for two years in a quasi-judicial capacity as Vice Chairman of the Parole Board and advised two governors on death penalty and criminal justice issues – writing then Governor Frank O’Bannon’s state criminal justice policy.
Following a period as the in-house litigator for a Fortune 500 engine manufacturing company, Prof. Rivera was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels, Jr., as Commissioner of Labor for the State of Indiana, a cabinet level position. As Commissioner of Labor, Prof Rivera led a state-wide regulatory agency responsible for enforcing labor laws, child labor laws, the common wage, workplace safety, OSHA, and underground coal mine safety. In addition to advising the governor, he worked closely with the state legislature and the public/private sectors on issues effecting labor policy and underground coal mine safety in Indiana. Prof. Rivera is the recipient of a Sagamore of the Wabash, the State of Indiana’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of his service to the people of Indiana and to public safety.
After this period of public service, Prof. Rivera practiced law as in-house counsel for one of the world’s largest retailers and as general counsel for an international shoe retailer. While practicing law, Prof. Rivera wrote extensively regarding diversity/inclusion and issues of interest to the American bar. He was a regular speaker at diversity/inclusion and bar association events around the country. He continues to support diversity/inclusion both at JBU and in the Siloam Springs community through ecumenical efforts to bring together the majority and minority communities in activities such as 2022’s Siloam Spring’s Hispanic Heritage Festival.
Prof. Rivera is author of a Sherlock Holmes novel entitled, “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Green Dragon,” published by MX Publishing in London, England in February 2023. Prof. Rivera is a lifelong Sherlock Holmes enthusiast and is currently working on several Sherlock Holmes related projects he hopes to get published soon.
Prof. Rivera’s interest and areas of teaching include Criminal Justice, Criminal Procedure, Criminology, Constitutional Law, Business Law & Ethics, American government and politics, Gateway classes, and Congress and the presidency. Prof. Rivera is one of the founding members and Board President of Friends of Proclamation Institute Zambia (PIZ), a non-profit corporation that fund raises and supports the mission efforts of PIZ, a Christian preaching school in Zambia, Africa. He is a proud father of four children and with his wife, Barbara, and their loving pets, lives in Siloam Springs. Prof. Rivera and his wife are active members of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs.