After graduation from the University, Mr. Bass was employed by the Bahnson Company in Winston-Salem, N.C., a designer, manufacturer, and builder of industrial air quality systems for the worldwide textile industry. He held a variety of managerial positions in several departments, including Engineering, which required international travel to Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. He was director of Air Conditioning Systems Design Engineering at Bahnson when he joined R.J. Reynolds Industries in 1978.

At R.J. Reynolds, Mr. Bass held several positions in the parent company and its subsidiaries from 1978 to 1999. He had international responsibilities in Business Planning and Development; the Avoca Agricultural Research Division, of which he was general manager; Research and Development; and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International, from which he retired in 1999 as senior director of International Development. His work in the years prior to retirement included developing international relationships with foreign nationals and negotiating licenses and agreements with foreign partners for technologies developed by Reynolds. These responsibilities required extensive travel in Europe and the Far East.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Bass served as a board member and president of the Virginia Engineering Foundation. He has served as a trustee for the Darden School Foundation and as chair of the Advisory Board for the University of Virginia School of Nursing. He is a past chair of the Annual Giving Advisory Board for the University and past chair of the University’s annual giving program for historic preservation. He is a past chair and current member of the advisory board for the University's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, past chair of the University's Cancer Center Advisory Board, and a past trustee of the University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a registered professional engineer in Virginia, North Carolina, and California.

Mr. Bass teaches courses in negotiations and global marketing in the McIntire School.