Rob Walsh Appointed as Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships

Walsh served as the commissioner of New York City's Department of Small Business Services for 12 years.

Rob Walsh headshotManhattan College has appointed Rob Walsh as senior advisor for strategic partnerships. Working with the president and his leadership team, Walsh will be charged with forging strategic partnerships with key New York organizations and institutions including foundations, cultural institutions, nonprofits, government agencies, major corporations, and start-up companies.

“Rob Walsh brings a strong track record of bringing together government, academics, business, and local communities,” said Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College. “He is an innovative thinker with a gift for transforming good ideas into reality. We look to him to build upon Manhattan’s already strong relationships as well as to form new alliances and partnerships.”

Walsh currently teaches at Columbia University, School of Public and International Affairs. His segment “The Bottom Line for Small Business” airs on 1010 WINS Radio where he is also the moderator of the Small Business Challenge which recognizes the work of entrepreneurs in the New York metropolitan area.

From 2014-18, he has served on the faculty at Baruch College’s School of Public and International Affairs, where he has also served as the faculty director of the executive master’s degree in public administration program.

In January 2002, Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Walsh the commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services (SBS).

During his 12 years there, SBS became one of the city's most innovative agencies in serving the needs of its 200,000 small businesses. Walsh re-energized the city's business improvement districts and created an award-winning neighborhood leadership program in partnership with the Coro Foundation.

Under his leadership, seven NYC Business Solutions Centers were established that secured more than $200 million for small businesses in the last six years of his tenure. He created a wide array of entrepreneurial courses and forged new partnerships with groups, including the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, Interise, and the Kauffman Foundation.

Prior to serving in the Bloomberg administration, Walsh served as president of Charlotte (N.C.) Center City Partners. He led the Center City master plan initiative that led to significant private and public investments. He also attracted Johnson & Wales University to the Center City.

From 1989 to April 1997, he played an instrumental role in the revitalization of one of New York’s great neighborhoods, as executive director of the Union Square Partnership. During the 1980s, he worked in the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch. He began his career in public service as a New York City Urban Fellow, a program he later directed. 

Walsh holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public affairs from Fordham University. He also participated in the senior executives in state and local government program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

By Pete McHugh