Robert Walsh is Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He brings hands-on experience in economic development and revitalizing communities throughout New York City.

Walsh previously served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) from January 2002 to December 2013. During his twelve-year tenure, he reshaped SBS to become one of the city’s most innovative agencies in serving the needs of its 200,000 small businesses. Walsh re-energized the City’s 69 business improvement districts and created an award-winning commercial revitalization and neighborhood leadership program in partnership with the Coro Foundation. He also built a new business-focused approach to the workforce system that secured job placement for nearly 200,000 people through 17 workforce centers.

Walsh also led the Union Square Partnership from 1989 to 1997, where he played an instrumental role in the neighborhood’s revitalization. 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.

Before returning to New York, Walsh served as President of Charlotte Center City Partners in North Carolina, an organization dedicated to improving and growing Charlotte’s central business district. In Charlotte, he led the Center City 2010 Master Plan that laid the groundwork for significant private and public investments, including additional housing, retail development, an NBA basketball arena, a minor league baseball stadium, and other public facilities and infrastructure.

Walsh holds a Bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Public Affairs from Fordham University. He also participated in the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. His weekly radio segment, “The Bottom Line for Small Business,” can be heard on 1010 WINS every Monday and Friday during drive time. 

Research & Publications

January 2006|Economic Development Journal |Robert Walsh

Union Square Park: From Blight to Bloom

September 2004|Urban LAnd Magazine|Robert Walsh

New York’s New Business: Redefining Workforce Development

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