Collaborative Strategies’ Bob Donaldson is a tough and fair-minded person with years of experience in negotiating and representing the public good. California Wildlife Foundation has witnessed first hand his ability to take a complex issue with multiple party interests and bring projects to successful completion, on time and on budget. He is skillful and determined in meeting his contract obligations. We do not hesitate in recommending him to others based upon his past performance.

— Janet Cobb, Executive Officer
California Wildlife Foundation


Bob’s capabilities and capacity to distill complex and challenging issues into systematic approaches to solutions is near genius. I can count on a single hand the number of people I have encountered with the ability that Bob brings to organizations and projects. Over the 25 years I have known Bob professionally, he has consistently achieved measurable improvements in staff development and productivity, team-focused direction, and success where success is hard to derive.

Teresa Herrera, P.E., Assistant Manager/Authority Engineer
Silicon Valley Clean Water (formerly South Bayside System Authority)


In his presentations Bob was smart, well prepared, and a very good communicator. He had the ability to measure his audience and stay on track with his delivery. Not too little or too much, but just right, taking questions then moving his presentation forward.

Tom Davids, Former City Councilman
San Carlos, California


Bob Donaldson combines many unique qualities into one powerful personality. He fosters strong team interactions by establishing clear lines of communication and a common understanding of chain of command. He keeps projects moving by focusing on the project objective, and identifying and removing impediments to progress. Bob builds teams of people with the necessary skills required for the assignment and he shares the credit with his collaborators. He provides an emotionally safe environment and encourages honest conversations. Bob mentors and coaches everyone he works with by sharing generously his good advice, which he has in abundance.

— Roanne Ross, P.E., Managing Engineer
Whitley Burchett Associates


When you work with Bob Donaldson on a challenging, full-of-potential-pitfalls kind of project, you are in for one of the most rewarding professional achievements of your life. I have been working with Bob on complex infrastructure projects for nearly 20 years. He is a master at leading mission-oriented teams who respect, challenge, and support each other in working towards a common goal. For Bob, collaboration is not just a bunch of people sitting around a table making nice. Collaboration is work–hard work–real work. And the stakes for the outcome of the process are often very high. It is in this kind of environment that Bob thrives and excels. He produced a small “Guide to Collaborative Behaviors” for our team–this guide has become one of my “go to” resources in working with other clients who struggle with difficult team dynamics. It always works!

— Valerie J. Young, Principal
Environmental Planning Consultancy


Wetland restoration at Bair Island of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge is becoming a reality through the assistance of Bob Donaldson. His collaborative approach helped us find ways to make this complex project work for both wildlife and people. When we ran into problems with a contractor Bob used his skills of dealing with difficult people to help us solve our problems. We couldn’t have done it without his help.

— Mendel Stewart, Chief of Budget, Performance and Workforce
National Wildlife Refuge System, USFWS, Arlington, VA

I have worked with Bob Donaldson and under his guidance for 20 years. During these years I interacted frequently with him and depended on him. Bob is very goal oriented as well as a team player, and always easygoing. He is keenly devoted to his work, but being a real people person, he is also enjoyable to be around. He is well organized and thrives under adversity. Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration. No one is better at creating this environment than Bob. What I have learned from him is that as you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. He has taught many of us that other people’s ideas are often better than our own and that when we find a group of people who challenge and inspire us, spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life

— Duane Sandul, Public Outreach Specialist


I have closely witnessed the work and accomplishments of Robert Donaldson for more than 25 years in the various capacities he has held. Bob was able to facilitate the best solutions to a myriad of problems including technical, personnel, organizational, regulatory, functional, operational and administrative issues that he was continually confronted with. Bob was always cool headed and rational in his thinking and at his best in listening and then making assessments of the necessary actions to be taken. The list of projects and programs he successfully steered and is steering to the desired conclusions is impressive. I have always been impressed by how honestly and respectfully he treated each participant and conducted his activities in a manner that allowed everyone to express themselves and yet lead the discussion candidly and productively. Bob’s talents are many and I heartily and unequivocally recommend his engagement in any assignment that fits these talents.

— Joseph Covello P.E., Board Chairman and Principal
The Covello Group


I’ve worked with Bob for more than 25 years on a wide array of efforts/projects ranging from public health emergencies to multi-year planning efforts. Inevitably, the successful completion of these projects required the collaboration of parties with vastly different agendas and definitions of success. Bob has displayed an unusual ability to assess the needs of the parties involved and craft a strategy for cooperation that will benefit everyone. He has a large tool box of strategies on how to get a team working together. I also want to mention that he is not content with just any collaborative outcome, he understands and pursues the right one—the best one for all parties involved. Bob commands respect in a room full of potential combatants without demanding it. He does his homework and comes with a plan that works. I don’t recall ever second guessing his methods or the outcome.

— Mike Joyce, Principal
Kennedy/Jenks Consultants


I have worked very closely with Mr. Robert (Bob) Donaldson of Collaborative Strategies for over seven years. Bob is one of the most detail oriented and organized people I have ever met and displays these traits in his professional approach. Bob is extremely talented in his ability to work closely with others in strategic systems and organizations. He is able to bring many differing, and sometimes opposing, concepts together into one room and work out a collaborative solution to address whatever challenge the organization may be facing. I believe Bob’s absolute strongest skill is his ability to see the big picture related to the project at hand and set up systems that allow him or the designated project lead to organize and successfully carry out whatever project they are working to complete. This talent has been demonstrated not only on project-related work, but also in workforce situations where Bob has organized teams to complete assignments in an orderly and structured manner. I highly recommend Bob Donaldson for any work that requires the ability to coordinate and facilitate many different job-related tasks and professional skills into one organized, structured, and collaborative effort!

— Dan Child, Manager
Silicon Valley Clean Water (formerly South Bayside System Authority)


I have known and worked with Robert Donaldson for nearly 30 years. Bob is a progressive policy thinker while maintaining personnel accountability within the workforce. In the mid-1980s we shared employment at an organization that was recovering from a labor strike. Employees were at odds; personal property was being vandalized and communication between work teams was inconsistent at best. Morale was low, and organizational efficiency was extremely poor. Bob believes a strong workforce begins with employee empowerment. He initiated programs that increased employees’ viability to their current (and as it turns out also to future) employers. In the face of internal resistance he maintained his beliefs and persevered with these changes. These programs eventually provided increased educational opportunities and coupled with defined lines of communication within the organization, became the cornerstones of greater efficiency and employee empowerment. Within five years, this group became the model that the industry held as an example. Individual and organizational awards began flowing in. The organization became a well-oiled machine that translated into highly motivated and efficient work teams that either met or exceeded all objectives of its mission statement.

— Karl Royer, Operations and Maintenance Manager (ret.)
East Bay Dischargers Association


Bob Donaldson gets it. He identifies the ailment of a fledgling organization that is slowed by a culture of mediocrity and timidity, and then lays out the cure. His no-nonsense leadership and organizational philosophy provide practical steps to help groups and teams of all sizes obliterate their status quo and establish a foundation for the team to thrive by inducing outstanding individual performance. As individuals are truly empowered to perform within the dynamic team environment, be prepared for revolutionary results!

— Hugh Logan, Operations Specialist
Logan Services Inc      


I had the honor and pleasure of working both for and with Bob Donaldson from 1986 until 2006. Bob brought qualities such as clarity, focus, objectivity, and equitable treatment of those working for and with him on the teams he led. I learned a great deal from him about how to manage and lead. I was consistently impressed with his ability to navigate the complexities of multi-disciplinary projects involving lots of people with a wide variety of expertise while keeping the overall project on time and within budget parameters. As a minister and spiritual leader, I have come to appreciate Bob’s more subtle qualities as well. Developing collaborative strategies requires keeping one’s head while all about are losing theirs. For many years I witnessed Bob’s remarkable ability to do just that.

— Reverend C. Michael Woodstock


I have worked with Mr. Bob Donaldson for approximately 15 years on various projects. Bob was a project manager while my duties involved electrical engineering design and consulting. From our very first meeting I realized Bob’s effectiveness as a manager. In my opinion, Bob has two main strengths, both of considerable magnitude. First, Bob is one of the smartest “technical” people that I have had the pleasure to work with. In my line of work, I often find it challenging to convey ideas involving electrical systems in an understandable manner to non-electrical people. Not only was Bob able to easily understand what I was talking about, he oftentimes facilitated a clearer understanding of my work by asking the “right” questions. Secondly, Bob is a complete team player. He has the unique talent of bringing out each team member’s technical strengths while maintaining a positive, safe, and focused working environment. Project meetings that are normally dry and laborious were often made enjoyable due to Bob’s ability to keep the mood positive while keeping the discussion on track and efficient.

— Todd Beecher, Owner
Beecher Engineering


I have known Bob for over 12 years. Bob is an extremely trustworthy and ethical person. He has demonstrated a very steady and even character. He follows through on all projects in a timely manner and is very dependable. He has demonstrated the ability to work under a high-pressure, fast-paced environment while maintaining a good sense of humor. He is very comfortable and experienced talking with the board, making presentations and answering questions. I strongly believe that his work experience and character provides for the confidence you need in order to utilize Bob on any project.

— Jeff Ira, former SBSA Board Chair
Redwood City Councilman Redwood City, CA


I have had the pleasure of working with Bob Donaldson for more than 20 years on numerous issues and projects. During that time I developed an appreciation for Bob’s ability to successfully deliver on every project and honor every commitment. Bob uses a disciplined, thoughtful process for breaking down highly complex issues into more easily understood parts. He also has a talent for seeing a problem from the perspective of those on the other side of the table and is able to build trust and work effectively with people at every level of an organization. I came to enjoy working with Bob because I knew that at the end of the day any project or problem we were working on would be handled with integrity, professionalism and a sense of humor.

— Mark C. Larson, Director of Airports (ret.)
San Mateo County, California


I am the Refuge Manager for the 30,000-acre Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. For the past eight years I have worked directly with Bob Donaldson on a variety of issues concerning a sewage force main which runs through part of the Refuge at InnerBairIsland. Bob has proven time and time again to be extremely efficient, professional, and comprehensive with the many different tasks our agencies collaborated with, such as right of ways, memorandums of understanding, site logistics, and coordination efforts with multiple contractors. He has a can-do attitude with a very unique set of problem-solving skills to work through any issue that may arise in a timely and communicative approach. It has been a pleasure to work with Bob and I highly recommend him.

— Eric Mruz, Refuge Manager
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS


As someone who has worked with Bob on numerous projects for over 20 years, I got to know him on a professional and personal basis. Many of these projects were large and complex from both a technical and organizational point of view. Bob needed to manage many parties ranging from engineering firms, consultants, and contractors as well as several departments within the utility he served. Through keen insight Bob was able to sort out challenging issues and help bring positive results that helped fulfill the operational mission of his utility while being fair to all parties involved. He is a man of outstanding character and integrity.

 –- Dewitt Smith, M.S.E.E., P.E.


I have known and worked with Bob Donaldson for nearly thirty years.  Our professional relationship has seen us tackle a variety of technically challenging construction projects that involved both physical and environmental risk for all parties involved.  Bob has always displayed a cool head and a level of professionalism in his approach to these difficult challenges. Bob has the ability to quickly recognize the strengths individuals bring to the table on a particular subject.  Given his communication skills, he quickly guides the team to identifying the issues and then works with the various team members in finding the best solution.  He displays an upbeat attitude and a focus on solving the problem without alienating team members. Working with Bob has always been a pleasure and an inspiration.

— Ken Lindberg , Power Engineering Contractors,  Alameda California 


Bob is able to condense the best from decades of study and his own experience with transforming an organization and individuals, and deliver it in concentrated immediately usable packages. During Bob’s presentations I found my head moving up and down in agreement and mentally holding on while experiencing a tour de force of tried and true concepts and rules for the road of becoming a super employee and an effective human being.

Ray Busch, Water Pollution Control Facility Manager Hayward, California


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Wetland restoration at Bair Island of the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge is becoming a reality through the assistance of Bob Donaldson. His collaborative approach helped us find ways to make this complex project work for both wildlife and people. When we ran into problems with a contractor Bob used his skills of dealing with difficult people to help us solve our problems. We couldn’t have done it without his help.
Mendel StewartChief of Budget, Performance and Workforce for the National Wildlife Refuge SystemArlington, VA