robb m walker

architect • engineer • yacht designer • business projects

Berkeley, CA
m 619.804.3494

“Leadership consists of picking good people and helping them to do their best for you." 

                                                                                                  –Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

career summary

I add value to organizations through my diverse experiences, knowledge, interests, and skills, which enable me to facilitate creative solutions. I excel at "connecting the dots" by identifying and understanding key issues, establishing trust, working between disciplines, leading cross-functional teams, communicating effectively with clients, stakeholders and team members, mentoring talent, and managing complex programs.

  • Architect, Builder, Engineer and Business Leader with a passion for working at the intersection of Design, Making, and Business.
  • Licensed Architect, CA and NY, with NCARB certification.
  • Mechanical Engineer with excellent analytical skills.
  • Operating Executive skilled at building and leading multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Highly skilled at establishing trust and working with high net worth individuals.
  • Writer with exceptional written and verbal communications skills.
  • Student and practitioner of Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing
  • Yacht Designer, Boatbuilder and accomplished offshore sailor.

professional experience

Interim COO | DOO, Sun Light & Power, Inc., (11/17–7/18)

Retained on a consulting basis by Sunlight and Power, Inc., a 42 year old Berkeley based pioneer in solar power systems (PV and Thermal) to act as Interim COO | Director of Operations.  Responsible for reviewing, reorganizing and improving operations, increasing profitability, and managing search for and hiring of permanent COO.

  • Conducted comprehensive review of all operational teams, team leaders, and key executives.
  • Implemented disciplined management, meeting, and reporting systems and protocols throughout the company.
  • Identified, developed and promoted internal management talent. Replaced key team leaders and executive through internal promotions and external hires.
  • Designed and implemented organizational restructuring in order to establish and clarify accountability for project performance, key performance indicators, and overall profitability. 
  • Oversaw and managed nationwide search for permanent COO candidates, evaluating more than 100 qualified applicants to create shortlist of 3 top candidates for final selection by Founder/Owner and executive leadership team. A new COO was selected and hired after a 4 month search and comprehensive multiple-interview process.

Owner's Rep. | Consulting ArchitectPrivate Clients, (6/16–7/17)

Served as Owner's representative, construction manager and consulting architect for construction of a minimalist custom private residence & gallery with exacting details and quality standards.

  • Represented project owners. Oversaw and managed construction of custom private residence and gallery for a successful art dealer in Berkeley, CA.
  • Consulted with Owners, project designer and General Contractor in developing construction details and advising on constructibility issues during construction.
  • Advised owners on financial issues, change orders, etc. which arise during the normal course of construction of a custom home.

President, Ryan Associates, Inc., (8/15–6/16)

Ryan Associates is a General Contractor specializing in very-high end residential and hospitality construction. Ryan has offices in San Francisco and New York and operates in both markets.

  • Hired to lead recovery and implement a leadership transition for a successful company experiencing organizational and financial difficulties.
  • Evaluated organization, departmental and project teams, business model, and business systems in order to make recommendations to ownership.
  • Conducted 1:1 interviews with every employee. Established regular periodic visits to every active job on both coasts.
  • Established regular visits to NYC office in order to support East Coast operations.
  • Focused on establishing open and regular communication throughout the company, with special attention to strengthening connections between office and field teams.
  • Developed reorganization strategy for SF and NY operations.
  • Replaced senior management in NY office. Closed underperforming business units and laid off under-performing employees.
  • Re-established trust with clients, client representatives, and architects in order to develop plans and strategies for completing troubled and underperforming projects.
  • Identified and mentored next generation leadership talent to prepare them to successfully assume leadership responsibilities over a 5 year period.
  • Developed a simplified financial model of company operations as a tool for evaluating cost cutting and long term financial recovery strategies.  

Chief Operating OfficerNautilus Group, Inc.NEMO Building Systems., (6/13–12/14)

Nautilus Group, Inc. is an integrated Real Estate Developer | Design-Builder | Manufacturer developing modular building technologies. The company’s mission is to revolutionize the building industry by applying industrialized lean manufacturing techniques to the production of large buildings.

  • Built an organization capable of executing multiple projects simultaneously and meeting ambitious objectives and critical schedules in a start-up environment.
  • Recruited architects, designers, and engineers. Built in-house architectural design and structural engineering team.
  • Led acquisition of manufacturing facility and directed initial setup of manufacturing line and start-up of prototype production in accordance with TPS principles.
  • Directed design and production of prototype modules for pilot project.
  • Recruited interim and permanent management and production engineering teams for NEMO Building Systems.
  • Implemented consistent accounting procedures and financial controls across a group of companies and SPEs.
  • Participated in financial restructuring that consolidated multiple real estate holdings into a single portfolio and sold portfolio to institutional JV investor.
  • Managed bankers, brokers, attorneys, CPAs, architects, investors and various consultants involved in projects and transactions.

Managing Partner | COO | Design PrincipalKMA Architecture, (7/02-12/15)

KMA is a respected commercial architecture and engineering firm located in San Diego, CA. The firm has been in business for over 40 years and maintains a diverse practice in Commercial, Government, and Multi-Unit Residential architecture.

  • Restructured company and established effective financial control systems.
  • Provided fresh leadership and creative direction.
  • Led successful ownership transition.
  • Increased revenues more than 4x with outstanding profitability.
  • Recruited a new generation of young design talent to the firm.
  • Established a culture in which every employee participates in management decisions and is actively involved in determining the strategic direction of the firm.
  • Pioneered a“creative analytical” approach to architecture. Developed a suite of creative analytical tools and methods unique within the architecture industry.
  • Actively led design teams and managed construction projects. Worked directly with major developer clients during initial project feasibility, schematic design, project entitlement and construction phases.

Member, Board of DirectorsSCI-Arc, (10/98–10/2000)

SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) is an internationally recognized private institute of architecture study and research located in Los Angeles, CA.

  • Member of the SCI-Arc Board of Directors while enrolled in graduate program.
  • Influential in the decision to purchase a building and move SCI-Arc to its current downtown Los Angeles location.
  • Active in the Institute’s budgeting, strategic planning, and 1999 WASC/NAAB academic re-accreditation processes.

Principal Designer | Managing Partner, Nelson/Marek Yacht Design, (4/85–2/98)

Nelson/Marek Yacht Design, Inc. is an internationally recognized naval architecture and sailing yacht design firm based in San Diego, CA.

  • Managed design and construction of more than one hundred custom and mass produced sailing yachts for racing and cruising. Participated on several America's Cup design teams.
  • Formed design/construction teams and managed yacht construction projects internationally.
  • Developed and managed multi-year, multi-million dollar construction budgets.
  • Responsible for overall financial and operational management of the firm.
  • Earned a reputation within the international yachting industry as a professional manager, innovative thinker and problem solver. 

Mechanical Engineer, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, (6/83–385)

  • Began professional career as a mechanical engineer in the Advanced Composite Structures R&D Group, Engineering Division.
  • Trained as Aircraft Assembly Technician. Worked 6 months as aircraft assembler on Douglas MD80 final assembly line.


Masters Degree, Architecture (M.Arch), SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), January 2002

  • MArch Thesis Project: "Spreadsheet Architecture."
  • Member, SCI-Arc Board of Directors, (1998-2000)
  • Recipient of Alpha Rho Chi Bronze Medal. Awarded for Leadership, Service, and promise of professional Merit.

Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering (BSME), University of California, Santa Barbara, June 1983

  • Emphasis on ocean engineering topics.
  • Winner of University of California engineering technical writing competition, 1983. Published Article: "Ocean Wave Spectra", California Engineer, Vol. 62, No. 1, October 1983, University of California, Berkeley, CA

professional credentials

  • Licensed Architect, California (C 30782) and New York (038616).
  • NCARB (National Council Architecture Registration Boards) Certification.
  • LEED Accredited Professional, BD+C
  • Certificate in Scenario Planning, Monitor Group/Global Business Network.

Download Resumé in PDF format.

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