A Bit About Me…

Robert W. Weinhold, Jr. | Chief Executive | Fallston Group, LLC

I started my career at age 11 when I hustled door-to-door with a red Craftsman push lawnmower and steel-canned gallon of gas wanting to cut lawns. Or, depending on the time of year, a snow shovel asking neighbors if they needed their snow removed. I found work, and plenty of it! There was nothing more rewarding, at the time, than looking at freshly mowed grass or mounds of snow next to what used to be a covered driveway. And, a few extra bucks in my pocket (that I quickly spent at the local Farm Store) didn’t hurt either!

During this time, I learned the value of work ethic, customer service and long-term relationships. You see, loyal neighbors would have me back during the summer or after a driving snow…they expected that I’d be there, and I didn’t let them down. In fact, years later when I was about to get my drivers license, I bought my first car – an 8-cylinder, 1970 Buick Skylark – from one of my longtime customers. He knew I’d been eyeing that car up over the years and, as a way to help a young kid out, Mr. Kosten sold it to me for $500. Between the low price, low miles and my parents chipping-in a small percentage, I couldn’t have been happier! My entrepreneurial appetite grew but I didn’t take a conventional path.

Rob Weinhold

I started my career as a police officer in the City of Baltimore. I always had an interest in helping people during life’s most difficult times and the job was extremely rewarding; it taught me a lot about humanity. I saw the very best and worst in people. What most don’t realize is that policing provides the unique opportunity to use discretion and be creative while treating people with dignity and respect. There are many ways to problem solve; the question is which outcome is optimal for the situation. Yes, some people require handcuffs, but many more needed authentic understanding and a clear path forward – hope – for a better life. I did my best to view each call for service as a challenge – how could I make the situation better for those that were depending on me? Being a street cop taught me a tremendous amount, through many trials and triumphs.

I was promoted through the ranks and eventually became the public affairs director/chief spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department, an incredible honor. To represent the hard-working men and women of one of the largest police departments in the world was an awesome responsibility. From daily crime to public policy to, tragically, line of duty deaths, the weight of the world was, at times, on me to make sense of the senseless. This was no easy task…you prepared for every tough media question as your future could easily be altered by one wrong syllable or insensitive expression. After six years and thousands upon thousands of local, national and international media interviews, I was fortunate enough to again advance my career. I was recruited to Washington, D.C.

In D.C. I served as chief of staff for the United States Department of Justice. I had an opportunity to manage large teams, lots of public dollars and contribute to the creation of innovative public policy. I briefed the U.S. Attorney General, worked with the White House and traveled the country keynoting about improving the quality of life in our nation’s communities. Eventually, I completed my public-sector career, having worked on the core executive leadership teams at all three levels of government – local, state and federal. I am grateful to have worked alongside so many forward-thinking, passionate professionals who deeply cared about making this world a better place. They did.

I played baseball in college, coached my boys and continue to have passion for America’s pastime. So, when the challenge arose to reinvent myself from bureaucrat to business leader, working in sports for Cal and Bill Ripken seemed to fit like a glove, pun intended! Ironically, many of the leadership, strategy and communications skills I’d developed over time were translatable…only the names and faces changed. I loved the job, had a lot of success and led the effort to transform 50+ acres of woodlands in Myrtle Beach (SC) to one of the premier sports destinations in the world. I am oversimplifying, yes, but the business grew dramatically and the team I was a part of made work seem like recreation. I learned a ton about business; this nearly 7-year “Ripken” graduate school, of sorts, gave me the confidence to start my own company – a bucket list item.

From law cutting to city side hustles to new business revenue lines, I was always thinking about how to make “something” bigger, faster, stronger. My measure of success, whether policing, public policy or ballparks, was to provide an extraordinary customer experience. So, when it came time to pursue my dream and start my own business, I knew my strength was in relationships, not transactions. So, I did what I knew – leverage my relationships and ask those who knew me best – my bosses, colleagues, subordinates, friends and family – where they thought I could make the most impact while continuing to help people. This was a scary process as I was asking for unfiltered, honest feedback from those I trusted. I knew it would be both rewarding and painful, yet a key part of the process if I were to authentically follow my passion of business ownership. Time to make myself vulnerable!

A theme developed quickly. I heard things like “Rob, you know how to lead, are a sound strategist and can communicate better than most. However, if there is one person I’d turn to when everyone else is running around with their hair on fire, it’s you.” Another said, “You make the complex simple, are a calming presence and deliver through chaos!” I heard iterations of this over and over and, admittedly, the conversations validated my passion and gift. Years ago, I received some sage advice from a friend who said when you find a calling that puts you in the crosshairs of your passion and competency, coupled with the ability to monetize and make a difference in the world, stay there…you’ve arrived! Well, Fallston Group was born in 2009.

Fallston Group is a Baltimore-based executive advisory firm that focuses on building, strengthening and defending reputations, each and every day. You can learn much more at www.FallstonGroup.com. It’s unique blend of services which fuses the skillsets I’ve developed throughout my professional life and allows me to continue my passion of helping people during life’s most difficult times. While I don’t peddle the lawn mower or snow shovel any longer; metaphorically, our team uses both tools to build value and guide companies to more brilliant and prosperous futures.

Throughout my journey so far, I am grateful to have authored a book, delivered keynotes, interviewed with worldwide media, appeared in an Old Bay commercial, attended great universities, captained a yacht, mentored young people, won a golf tournament, caught trophy rockfish, coached amateur sports teams, become a grandfather and been loved by my family. I take nothing for granted. I am a curious, audacious thinker who enjoys a degree of risk. I enjoy people who challenge me intellectually and drive me to learn. Most importantly, I am grounded in faith and believe one is never standing taller than when bending over helping someone else.

We are here for a short time…I embrace this quote and contemplate its message regularly, “When all is said and done, what do you want to have said and done?” When you figure that out, just do it!

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