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Alum Robert Schumacher gives local government a new perspective on business; founds scholarship for poli sci at CSUEB

headshot of Robert Schumacher in suit and tie

Robert Schumacher '85

  • September 5, 2012 6:00am

Robert Schumacher ’85, political science, knows his way around California’s public sector, and now it’s time for him to share the wealth of information he’s gained in 25 years with state agencies facing a long string of tough times. After a career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Schumacher drew on his years of working creatively in the public environment and moved into business for himself. R. Schumacher and Associates was formally launched in February, with five colleagues who work with city and county agencies to develop new revenue streams, gain efficiency, and improve internal business operations.

The clients Schumacher has worked with, both as an individual consultant and in his new role as founder and president of the company, include a number of city and county agencies in Northern California.

This week, Schumacher and his team will be at the League of California Cities annual conference in San Diego to meet with potential clients in local government offices. After several years of state budget woes, “all public agencies are struggling right now,” Schumacher explains.

He and his colleagues have the behind-the-scenes experience to identify new funding sources, like grant opportunities from corporations, foundations or government agencies. Schumacher believes in their ability to get results, focusing on targeted solutions instead of long, expensive engagements, which can be ideal for public agencies like law enforcement or health services that need quick response and tangible results.

Going to college at then-Cal State Hayward was, he says, a “life changing event.” Political science, in particular, was an ideal major for him; even though he thought at one point he might work in the legal profession, his background has been equally invaluable in his work in publically funded organizations. “It teaches you to think about everything, to develop solutions to problems and gives you the ability to look at the world differently.”

Thinking about many students who are “on the borderline between going and not going [to college]” led Schumacher to pledge to create a new scholarship fund in the political science department. Making sure higher education remains both affordable and accessible for East Bay students is very important to him, he says. “For me it’s a relatively small amount of money now, but it continues a legacy and I have that chance to help.”

The scholarship will be the first established by a donor in the poli sci department, but Schumacher has also made a pledge to include CSUEB’s College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences in his estate plan. Between the two gifts, Schumacher is extending his support to meet the needs of today’s students as well as those in the next generation.

When he gets away from the office, Schumacher shifts his attention to viticulture and winemaking at his vineyard in the Sierra foothills. His late father started the family tradition of small batch winemaking in Livermore — though Schumacher says his wines are much better!

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