Robert O'Brien

Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG)
Title: Senior Economic Development Manager
Phone: (207) 939-7703
Photo of Robert O'Brien


As Senior Economic Development Manager, Robert heads our housing and zoning technical assistance initiative. Part of his duties include prioritizing shovel-ready projects for federal funding.

Professional Experience

Robert came from the Maine Development Foundation. As a program director, he worked at the Maine Downtown Center (the statewide coordinator of the National Main Street program) and the Forest Opportunity Roadmap program, where he oversaw redevelopment programming for 10 communities that had lost a major papermill

Prior to that, Robert had consulted on Newcastle’s comprehensive plan and worked in the Freeport Town Planning Office. For eight years, Robert was part of Maine Preservation, a statewide nonprofit advocating for Maine’s historic architecture, where he left as Assistant Director.

Robert was elected to the Portland school board (2006-2009) and two city charter commissions (2009-2010 and 2021-2022). He has served as an appointed member of Portland historic preservation board for six years. In 2006, Robert was president of the West End Neighborhood Association in Portland.


Robert earned a Master’s in Public Policy & Management from the Muskie School of Public Service, and a BA from Bates College. He graduated from the Institute for Civic Leadership – Mount Abram Class – in 2019.


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