They have seen him in key peacemaker roles in union, school, city, and community disputes. He was also the key man to go to when nonpublic funds were needed to keep the Mummers Parade and now the cityâ€™s bicycle marathon a continuing tradition.
He knows instinctively what needs to be done and the â€œcontactâ€ list on his cellphone includes everybody in this city who can help make a difference.
His latest role has been to save the enthusiasm of bicyclists racing against the formidable Manayunk Wall. He has formed a nonprofit with the hope of raising the $500,000 such an event will cost. Now those joining up know the necessary goal, and know they have his support, to keep the â€œPhilly Cycling Classicâ€ alive and a reality.
To his credit, he attracts the talent and places them on the track, letting them move forward as fast as they see fit.
What readers may not know is Bob is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he weekly teaches courses on organizational dynamics to students seeking their doctoral degree.
We now wonder why it is Mayor Michael Nutter insists on going to the courts to settle his contract grievances with the Cityâ€™s unions. He should know to ask Bob to sit beside him and mediate his conflicts with the union leadership representing the Cityâ€™s employees.