New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie took office Jan.19, 2010, and one of his first appointments was Hopewell, N.J., resident Robert “Bob” Martin to be the next Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). A biography of Martin follows. In advance of Martin’s confirmation as Commissioner, Gov. Christie’s Department of Environmental Protection Transition Subcommittee issued its report Jan. 15, 2010, detailing the conclusions and recommendations of the subcommittee’s fiveweek examination of NJDEP. To view the subcommittee’s report, click here.
Martin, 52, was born and raised in Massachusetts. He earned a B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Boston College and an M.B.A. in Finance and Investing from George Washington University. Martin has lived in Hopewell Township for the past 14 years and also owns a summer home in Avalon, New Jersey. He and his wife Brenda, a teacher at the Cambridge School in Pennington, New Jersey, have three children, a son (24) and two daughters (21 and 12).
Martin currently serves as the Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Mercer County Republican Committee. He has served as Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Greater New York since January 2007 and currently serves on the Princeton Healthcare System Foundation Board. Martin served on the Board of Trustees at the Chapin School in Princeton, from 1996 to 2008, and on the Finance Advisory Committee for Hopewell Township, from 2005 to 2007. He has been active in coaching youth soccer and lacrosse in Hopewell for more than 13 years.
Martin worked for Accenture, a major business and technology consulting firm, for approximately 25 years. His primary clients were in the utility and energy industries. Upon retiring from his senior partner position at Accenture in 2008, Martin became an Advisory Committee Member of the Reform Institute (a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C., founded by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.) and an advisor to Christie on energy and environmental policy during the recent gubernatorial campaign. Martin also served on Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Guadagno’s red-tape review group and advised U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in other elections in recent years, primarily on energy policy.
Martin has experience in all aspects of business and management consulting, including business strategy and planning, business transformation and re-engineering, IT strategy, systems implementation and change management. He also has extensive experience managing large systems integration and business re-engineering projects. Martin also has international experience. He lived in England from 1991 to 1995, and worked with several large U.K. water and electric utilities as the companies were privatized and the markets were deregulated. He also spent extensive time working with utility and energy companies throughout Europe and Canada.
In 2007, Martin spent more than $100,000 of his own money as the Republican nominee for state senator against Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence). Among other issues, Martin campaigned on a platform of property tax reform and clean government. on the issue of property tax reform, Martin said that “New Jersey has an addiction to spending that needs to be fixed” and the state must “control spending – especially when it comes to waste, fraud, and discretionary spending.” Similarly, on the issue of clean government, Martin resolved to force the forfeiture of state pensions for those convicted of corruption charges, ban nepotism in political appointments and end the bureaucratic delay tactic know as Senatorial courtesy.1 Martin lost his race for State Senator in the heavily Democratic 15th district by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean hailed Martin as “the type of manager who can make the [NJDEP] an effective and respected guardian of the state’s environment again.”
New Jersey State Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce also endorsed Martin as Commissioner of the NJDEP: “Bob Martin’s diverse background and wealth of experience makes him an excellent candidate to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. His understanding of the issues from both the public and private perspective will ensure that all voices are heard. Bob is a person of high character and someone who has the ability to deal with the challenges of protecting New Jersey’s natural resources and ensuring that DEP is responsive to the needs of our residents and business community.”
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said that, although clean energy advocates have good things to say about his work in that field, Martin is not well known in the environmental activist community. Tittel also said that Martin’s experience with clean energy could lead him to streamline the NJDEP’s rules for development of wind energy sources along the coast and the development of solar energy in landfills. According to Tittel, “[w] hat’s very interesting about Bob Martin is people don’t know where he’s going to be. But that may be a good thing, because he doesn’t necessarily have any of the baggage of the past.”
Environment New Jersey Director Dena Mottola said that Martin was like a “blank slate”. According to Mottola, “there’s a lot [we] don’t know about him, but nobody’s said a bad word about him and his resume looks great.” Motolla added that she felt Martin was “somebody professional who’s not a political hack kind of appointment.”
At a State House news conference, Gov. Christie said Martin was “acutely aware of the connection between economic interests and environmental interests.” Martin said his goals will include preserving open space, cleaning up toxic waste and reforming the permit process, which can drag on for years. “It takes too long to get permits through,” Martin said, echoing Christie’s criticism of the agency. “Too long to get inspections done.”
Gov. Christie praised Martin for developing his environmental platform, which centers on attracting renewable energy businesses to New Jersey. During the campaign, Christie said he would offer generous tax credits to any wind turbine and manufacturing facility that locates in New Jersey.
In the past decade, Martin has been a regular political contributor, donating thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, county parties and the Republican State Committee. Last fall, Martain donated $3,400 to Christie’s campaign. He also donated $2,000 to Republican Doug Forrester’s 2005 unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign against Gov. Jon S. Corzine and another $2,600 to help former Assemblyman Bill Baroni, R-Mercer, win reelection that year. Martin also made $1,000 donations to the Cape May County Republican Organization in 2003 and 2004.