Robert has been actively engaged in community building for over 35 years. He is the Vice-President and co-founder of the Centre for Local Prosperity (www.centreforlocalprosperity.ca), with a mandate to assist Atlantic Canadian local communities with new and alternative economic tools. He was one of the organizers to a regional conference, Local Prosperity. A second conference www.localprosperity.ca is planned for Nov. 3-6, 2016 in Miramichi, NB.
He is also the Chair and co-founder of Transition Bay St. Margarets (www.transitionbay.ca), one of the first Transition Initiatives in the Maritimes. He is advising other rural Maritime communities on the process of building Transition Initiatives in order to draw out the skills, processes and projects inherent in local cultures to build resilience and adaptability to global change.
Robert has corresponded widely and tracked the international development of new tools and initiatives bringing a solid ‘projects-first’ perspective to revitalization. He has been a member of the E.F. Schumacher Society for over 25 years, has corresponded internationally and attended key international events on alternative economics. A particular area of interest is in projects implementing innovative new tools for rebuilding economic resilience at the local and regional levels. His local currency projects include the ‘Bluenotes’ (1993, coupon note issued by 10 Halifax businesses), the “Maritime Hour’ (1994-98, local currency accepted by over 300 businesses), and the ‘Carat’ (2012-present, redeemable currency issued by local Nova Scotia farmers). Robert also sits on the Board of the St Margarets Bay Stewardship Association and several green technology companies.
Robert has been a life science tech start-up entrepreneur for over 25 years, and understands the issues related to new business creation and the health of resilient local economies. He has founded, or co-founded, biotechnology companies developing diagnostics, cancer therapy, vaccine enhancement technologies, neurological drug discovery and consumer health products. He has become particularly knowledgeable in the commercial develop of botanical extracts and natural active compounds.
As an experienced botanist and horticulturalist, Robert manages a one-acre vegetable farm at his home in St. Margarets Bay. He holds a B.Sc. degree (Forestry) from Purdue University and a M.Sc. (Botany) from the University of Wisconsin.