Robinson Communications has a broad base of institutional knowledge, our firm has local knowledge of ground level politics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California. Our diverse team members bring different skills and working relationships for our clients, allowing Robinson Communications to utilize resources and achieve success wherever we go. Every team is configured for the benefit of the client and many of our team members have entities, businesses and firms of their own.
Rich Robinson, President and CEO
Richard Robinson has served in all levels of government: in the U.S. Senate as Northern California Director to former U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, as Deputy Insurance Commissioner for the State of California, as a Senior Consultant to former Assemblyman John Vasconcellos and as policy aide to San Jose City Council member Jerry Estruth. Richard Robinson is an accomplished political and government veteran whose hard driving style has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business. He was the Northern California Director for Bill Clinton for President and has worked in national campaigns, including Barack Obama for President, Gary Hart for President, Alan Cranston for President, John Kerry for President and Joe Biden for President. He was privileged to advance Senator Ted Kennedy for the Democratic National Committee in 1986 and Michelle Obama in San Jose in February of 2008. He was a delegate to the 1984 and 2004 National Democratic Conventions.
Richard Robinson has had tremendous success in throughout California, especially in the Bay Area. His clients include many public officials throughout , with an special emphasis in Silicon Valley. Among these are Former State Senator John Vasconcellos, Assemblyman Rich Gordon, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, and Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh . Richard Robinson has given wide-ranging advice in the field of public affairs. He has served as a public policy advisor to the California High Speed Rail Authority, San Francisco Airport, the Santa Clara County Health Department, and the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. He has served as a business consultant to many entities including Calpine Corporation, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Sobrato Development, Centex Homes, Shea Homes, and Summerhill Homes. Richard Robinson is an acknowledged expert in strategic planning, public policy development and government relations. He founded Robinson Communications in 1989. Rich Robinson is also the author of the Shadow Candidate.
Douglas S. Chan, Corporate Attorney
Douglas S. Chan is a founding partner in the law firm of Chan & Welch, LLP. Mr. Chan’s practice focuses on the representation of start-up enterprises with a particular emphasis on the financing and commercial issues faced by emerging companies. His practice is concentrated on transactions involving international and domestic business formation, joint ventures, technology licensing, product distribution and supply arrangements, asset protection, and strategic counseling for foreign and domestic firms. He has participated extensively in nonprofit, civic and governmental affairs. He is a former police commissioner, and he currently serves on the San Francisco Civil Service Commission. Mr. Chan was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1981. He received his A.B. degree from Stanford University in 1976. He earned his J.D. degree from the University of California (King Hall) School of Law.
William G. Rutland Jr., Senior Consultant
William G. Rutland Jr. is a consultant of Robinson Communications and founder of The Rutland Group. He began his career as a staff member with the California Legislature, working in both the Senate and the Assembly where he served as a Consultant on several legislative committees, including, Finance and Banking, Criminal Justice, and Elections and Reapportionment. During his 20 years of public service he served as a staff member to eight different Assembly members and Senators including both Republicans and Democrats. His career with the California Legislature culminated in his service as the Chief Consultant to Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, Jr., who later went on to become Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.
After leaving the California Legislature, Mr. Rutland joined George R. Steffes, Inc., a multi-state governmental advocacy firm that represented clients in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. He spent a total of 6 years there working closely with George Steffes, the founder, who previously served as Director of Programs and Policy and Chief Legislative Advocate for then Governor Ronald Reagan. A partial list of clients included: American Express, the Association of International Auto Manufacturers, Inc., Bechtel Group, Inc., Exxon Corporation, Honeywell, Inc., Hughes Electronics, IBM Corporation, AIG, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, Pebble Beach Company, Raytheon Company, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, UNOCAL, Union Pacific Railroad and 3M.
Finally, in 1996, Mr. Rutland founded his own firm. As an advocate, Mr. Rutland has earned a reputation as a creative spokesman and problem solver for his clients. Under his able guidance, The Rutland Group continues to produce successful outcomes for its clients through astute negotiation and coalition building. The Rutland Group has successfully represented clients before Federal agencies, the California Legislature, state regulatory agencies and local government bodies throughout California, offering in all cases an unparalleled level of service and resourcefulness.
Patty Jo Rutland, Senior Consultant
Patty-Jo Rutland is a seasoned political professional with over 35 years of experience in policy development, strategic planning, issue management, new business development, grassroots coalition building and campaign consulting. Currently, Patty-Jo manages her own consulting firm and an extensive client list. She is also currently working with The Rutland Group, a governmental relations consulting firm. Her past endeavors have included serving in the California State Assembly, as Deputy Administrative Officer, serving under then-Speaker Willie L. Brown Jr., serving with the the law firm of Rutland and Virtue, and continued her leadership as the Regional Vice President of Lockheed Martin IMS. One of her most notable successes was the successful procurement of a $40 million contract through a public-private partnership with the City and County of San Francisco while she served as the Regional Vice President of PRTW Services Inc.
Ron Lind is the President Emeritus of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose, the largest private sector union in the San Francisco Bay area with nearly 30,000 members. During his 35-year career with the union, Lind served as Communications Director, Organizing Director, and Education Director prior to his election as President. He also served as a Vice-President of the UFCW International Union, a Vice-President of the California Labor Federation and as President of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and was the chair of the Northern California UFCW Employers Pension Fund. He retired from his union positions in 2014.
He currently serves as the Public Member of the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation’s largest pension fund with more than $300 billion in assets. He was appointed jointly by the California State Assembly and Senate in 2013.
Lind is a San Jose State University graduate and a credentialed college professor. He has taught courses on media relations, labor history, and collective bargaining, and has assisted the UFCW and the International Federation of Employee Benefit Plans with educational programs throughout the U.S. In recent years he has been asked to speak at numerous investment conferences on fiduciary responsibility, corporate governance and a number of other topics. In 2000 he was elected as a governing board member of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District and served for three four-year terms.
Ron is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum and is a volunteer in his community working with several organizations focusing on education and services for low-income and disadvantaged children. Ron and his wife Jenifer, a teacher, have lived in Milpitas, California since 1979. They have two grown daughters.
Stephen (Steve) Kline is a consultant of Robinson Communications, Inc. As a precursor to Robinson Communications, Rich & Steve were partners in Robinson Kline Associates. Taking time off from active political campaign management, Steve pursued his legal career as an attorney, working as a litigator, general counsel, arbitrator, and Judge pro-tem.
Steve’s passion and expertise lies in the field operations area of the political campaign. His enthusiasm and motivational approach inspires volunteers to go above and beyond. Politics is a numbers game and understanding those numbers is vital to achieving success and Steve understands these numbers.
Steve has had tremendous success on the local level. His clients have included many local public officials throughout the Bay Area. He was referred to as the “wizard” of Marin County politics and many campaigns in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. In 2014, he consulted on four campaigns that included victories over two incumbents with over twenty years of service. Steve has a Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Shimer College in Illinois. He has taken courses at Oxford University as well as Harvard. He has a certificate for mediation services from Humboldt State and the University of California at Berkeley
Nebi Alemu has over 20 years history of professional management experience in media, technology and transportation companies in Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. He possesses extraordinary knowledge of nonprofit and private organizations in international environments. He has successfully engaged in a myriad of national and international issues. Mr. Alemu is active in political and grassroots community organizing, ethnic outreach, public speaking, diversity, and advocacy experience both internationally and domestically. Mr. Alemu earned a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from University of Phoenix and received a higher business education certificate from Stanford University.
Barry Wyatt Associates, Senior Consultant
Barry Wyatt is a nationally recognized Consultant for Robinson Communications and he manages production and data for the firm. Mr. Wyatt is an outstanding expert in campaign management, event planning and government relations and has a 40-year history of success in politics and government. As the principle of Barry Wyatt Associates, Mr. Wyatt’s clients have included U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, Congressman Richard Gephardt, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and many other nationally recognized government officials. Mr. Wyatt has also served as Chief Consultant in the California State Legislature. He has vast institutional knowledge of the issues, procedures and rules of the California State Legislature, and various other areas of government and public affairs.
Bob Staedler is a Senior Consultant for Robinson Communications Inc. and owner of the California Development Regional Center, an EB5 Investment Conduit. Bob began his development career working as an Owner’s Representative at Stanford University in 1996. He worked on Stanford’s ambitious SEQ Phase I project mostly funded by the estates of Hewlett & Packard. He moved on to the San Jose Redevelopment Agency where he started as a Project Manager and rose to the position of Real Estate/Portfolio Manager. Over the last fiver years, Bob oversaw property worth $225M and transacted over $450M in real estate. His knowledge of the development world and the ability to streamline the government process makes this partnership poised to leverage the EB-5 investment conduit.
George Broder, Senior Consultant
An independent consultant, George Broder provides guidance and strategic support to clients in the areas of Government Relations, Public Affairs, Communications and Media. Broder brings 31 years of experience in government, media, campaigns, public affairs, corporate communications and community relations to bear in service to his clientele, from his position as President, George Broder Group, LLC. Broder has served as the official spokesman of the Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, a Special Assistant in the Office of Mayor Dianne Feinstein, and as Vice President/Public Affairs – California in the private sector with Patrick Media Group/Eller Media (now Clear Channel Outdoor), the nation’s largest outdoor advertising company.
Kathy Torgersen, Consultant, Palo Alto
With more than 25 years of experience in state and local politics, Kathy Torgersen brings expertise in campaign management, finance, communications and event planning to the Robinson team. As an independent consultant, her clients have included: Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Senator Joe Simitian, State Assemblyman Rich Gordon, Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss and numerous city council, school board and community college candidates. Ms. Torgersen has worked at every level of the campaign experience and has an in-depth knowledge of not only campaign strategy and finance, but also campaign messaging, community outreach and mobilization. A skilled fundraiser, she has seveloped innovative fundraising campaigns and has raised millions of dollars for community and educational non-profits that have provided them with a sustained source of funding.
Bruce M. Smith is Chief Financial Officer of Robinson Communications and he brings a significant amount of executive and financial experience to BBRS, LLP. Mr. Smith has held key executive and financial positions with merging companies, as well as being a small business advisor. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and a seasoned financial professional with over 27 years of progressive accounting responsibility. Mr. Smith is a graduate of California State University Chico with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.
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