Robert was raised in Port Arthur, (now Thunder Bay) Ontario, where he attended York University on a hockey scholarship. He attended Confederation College also in Thunder Bay and earned a Diploma in International Business.
Robert first became a member of the IUPAT in April 1985, painting as a summer student at the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company in Thunder Bay.
It was not until after graduation that Robert became the Business Manager of Local 1671 in Thunder Bay. During this time, he was elected Secretary to the local building trades. He was also a Director with the Superior North Apprenticeship Board.
In 2000, Robert and his family relocated to Caledonia, Ontario, where he accepted an Organizer position with Local 205 in Hamilton. In the Fall of 2000, Robert was appointed General President’s Representative (GPR), and attended the Harvard University Trade Union Program in 2001.
In 2005, he was appointed General Vice President and, in 2009, was elected to that position. Active in many aspects of the industry, Robert serves as an alternate delegate for the General President’s Maintenance Committee. He is a trustee of the Finishing Trades Institute (FTI), the Labor Management Cooperation Initiative (LMCI), and Co-Chair of the IUPAT Industry Pension Fund Canada.
In 2012, Robert was elected as the Chairman of the Executive Board for the Canadian Building Trades.
Robert is an active member of his community as a Knight of Columbus. He and his wife, Suzanne, have been married for 38 years and have two sons.