Rob O’Brian is founder and principal of O’Brian and Associates, LLC, a consultancy in economic, workforce and community development. Rob is dedicated to assisting organizations that help their communities thrive including chambers of commerce, economic development entities, local government, and not-for-profits. He has led short and long-term board and committee planning sessions, conducted workforce studies, researched education levels in poverty areas, assessed business park development opportunities and advised fund-raising efforts. Rob has also been a disaster recovery contractor for the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Prior to founding the company in early 2018, O’Brian led Chambers of Commerce in economic development for more than thirty years. As President of the Joplin (MO) Area Chamber, Rob
led development of a small business incubator; a workforce training center in partnership with the local community college, City and workforce Investment board; and development and marketing of one of the premier business parks in southwest Missouri. In prior chamber roles he developed industrial parks, led efforts to create a community conference center, expanded downtown development efforts and established a Main Street program.
Rob is a strong advocate for workforce development and worked closely with numerous companies and partners to make Joplin (Jasper County) the first ACT Work Ready Certified Community in the U.S. He has been a presenter at the national ACT Workforce conference.
Rob was president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce when the community was hit by an EF-5 tornado in 2011; the most devastating and deadly tornado in U.S. in more than fifty years. The Chamber’s efforts to bring back small businesses were recognized nationally by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Rob has spoken on disaster recovery and preparation to a number of groups from the local to the national level.
Rob is a Strategic Doing Certified Workshop Leader. He is also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Ball State University with a BS in Telecommunications and minor in journalism. He completed the Executive
Management certification program at Notre Dame University and is a Certified Economic Developer as
designated by the International Economic Development Council. He is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management (IOM).