A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Robert was born in Delaware, grew up in Pennsylvania, and has family roots in Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Since joining the State Department in 2001, Robert has served overseas in Tokyo, Baghdad, Beijing, and Berlin, as well as the American Institute in Taiwan, Taipei. He was Director for Japan and Asian Regional Economic Affairs at the National Security Council in the White House from 2012-13. Robert also worked closely with Japan during back-to-back APEC host years for Japan and the United States during 2010-11.
As a graduate student at the London School of Economics, Robert researched the Japanese economy and studied Japanese language in Osaka through a generous grant from the Japan Foundation. Before joining the State Department, Robert worked in the semiconductor industry.
After graduating from Boston University in 1993, he participated in the JET program in Aino-machi, Nagasaki-ken.
An amateur jazz pianist, Robert has played with jazz groups in the United States, Tokyo, Beijing, and Berlin. Robert speaks Japanese, Chinese, German, and Spanish. He and his wife Noriko have two children.