Cooperative Development Institute
Rob Brown is the Director of Business Ownership Solutions (BOS), a program of the Cooperative Development Institute that promotes employee ownership and works with business owners and their employees to facilitate transitions to worker cooperative. He was part of the advisory group that successfully converted three retail businesses into the Island Employee Cooperative, which is now the largest worker co-op in Maine and the second largest in New England. He has also organized mobile home park residents to convert investor-owned parks into resident-owned cooperatives. Rob participates in several national networks promoting the strategy of employee ownership conversion and best practices in the field, including as a 2015 DAWI Cooperative Developer Fellow and as a founding member of the Workers to Owners Collaborative. Prior to his work with CDI, Rob was the founding Executive Director of Opportunity Maine, and ran the successful citizen initiative campaign to create what is commonly referred to as the Opportunity Maine Program – a universal student loan forgiveness program that, over the past decade since it was created, has paid off over $20mm of student debt for degree earners working in Maine. Over the years, he has been a featured speaker at many regional and national events, including as a William Jefferson Clinton Distinguished Lecturer at the Clinton Presidential Library and School of Public Service. Rob studied economic development policy at the University of Maine and College of the Atlantic, and has a diverse background in policy research, advocacy and organizing, and non-profit and for-profit business development. Rob lives with his wife and son in Northport, Maine.