Robert Earl McPherson was a major figure in designing and implementing leading-edge workforce and education strategies at the national, state, and local level over a career spanning more than five decades. He passed away in the early hours of December 9, 2016 after a protracted battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Big Bob, as he was affectionately known to most of his friends and colleagues, was a central figure in Texas workforce circles and spent much of his career associated with the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, as a project director, associate director, and senior advisor and mentor to many colleagues and students alike.
We have created this memorial page to Big Bob and his work. Below you will find links to some of his work over the years as well as many photos. We invite former colleagues, friends, and family to share your thoughts and stories, including what his son Mark has referred to as “Bob-isms” in the comments on this website. And please send any photos you may have as well. (Photos can be sent to chris.king@raymarshallcenter.
Also, Liza Hallman, Bob’s widow, along with Bob’s children Mark McPherson and Kim James, want to invite friends and former colleagues to an open house at her home on Saturday, April 15th from 11am to 3pm. This will be a time for all of us to celebrate Bob’s life and share stories and photos of our time with him.
The Job Training Demonstration Project: The Conceptual Design (1992)
Engaging Employers in Public Workforce Efforts in Texas (1997)
Evaluation Action Plan for the Texas Workforce Development System (1997)
Improving Performance Measures for Texas Workforce Development Boards: Phase One: Summary Report (2002)
3 paper series on a Human Investment System for Texas:
Integrating Human Resource Programs: Recent Experience in Five States (1991)
Profiles of Workforce Development Programs in Texas (1991)
Building an Integrated Workforce Development System for Texas: A Radical Blueprint for the Future (1991, r. 1992)
4 paper series on Human Investment Strategies:
The Local Option: A Stronger Role in Workforce Development (1994)
A Labor Market Approach to Workforce Development (1994)
Building a Local Workforce Development Board: The Key Steps (1994)
Designing a Local Workforce Services Delivery System (1997)
L-R: Chris King, Bob Glover, Ray Marshall, and Bob McPherson; old Center for the Study of Human Resources location, 107 West 27th Street, Austin, TX, 1981
Bob McPherson and Chris King; old Center for the Study of Human Resources location on West 27th St, n.d. (mid-1990s).
Bob McPherson; Tx Assn of Workforce Boards gathering, n.d. (mid-1990s).
Workforce board directors Judy McDonald, Willie Taylor, Mary Ross, Rodney Bradshaw, and others with Bob McPherson and Chris King; Tx Assn of Workforce Boards gathering, n.n. (mid-1990s).
Workforce board directors Mary Ross, Rodney Bradshaw, Mike Temple, and others with Bob McPherson; Tx Assn of Workforce Boards gathering, n.d. (mid-1990s).
The late Chuck Nielson, former Texas Instruments Sr VP for Human Resources, Bob McPherson, and an unknown gentleman; Tx Assn of Workforce Boards reception, n.d. (mid-1990s).
Bob McPherson facilitating a strategic planning session for the Texas Association of Workforce Boards, n.d. (mid-1990s).
Attendees at a Texas Association of Workforce Boards meeting; n.d. (mid-1990s).
L-R: Bob McPherson, Ray Marshall, Liz Hallman, and others (LBJ Prof. David Warner in background left) attending re-dedication of the Center as the Ray Marshall Center; Austin, TX, June 1999.
Bob McPherson, Chris King, and guests attending the rededication of the Center as the Ray Marshall Center; Austin, TX, June 1999.
Chris King & Bob McPherson; Austin, TX, October 2008.
Bob Glover and Bob McPherson; Ray Marshall Center 40th Anniversary Celebration, Austin, TX, October 2010.