Robert "Bob" Mull

As you probably know, the Club saves some of the very most special duties for presidents until their term is done—one of those duties is to chair the DSA Committee. This year I was assisted by past presidents Nishta Bhatia and Lou Callaway along with Peg Talburtt and Agnes Reading. Today, Peg along with Tony DiGiovanni and Michael Field help us celebrate one of our own in bestowing the highest honor accorded by the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor and given to those who demonstrate Rotary ideals of service above self in business, personal and community life.
It is an honor and pleasure to present Bob Mull with Rotary’s DSA member of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor since 2007, Bob has made a significant impact in his relatively brief tenure. Not only is Rotary the beneficiary but so is our community. Let us share with you a few of the reasons why he has earned this recognition.
Peg Talburtt: To begin, Bob is a devoted family man. Raised in the Grand Rapids, MI area, he attended the University of Michigan and played varsity Basketball while an undergraduate in the Engineering School. Bob has both a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He served as a Combat Engineering Officer in the U. S. Army.
During his three plus decades of employment at Ford Motor Company, Bob and his family lived in Japan and Australia. He is the father of twin daughters, Emily and Hillary, and a son, Patrick as well as the grandfather of 4. His wife Carol, a noted historian and author of a book on the Underground Railroad in Michigan, counted on Bob to help her sell and distribute her book and accompany her on many speaking engagements.  Ever a smart man, he did so enthusiastically.
Bob is an avid bicyclist and golfer. He also enjoys boating at his cottage on Wamplers Lake in the Irish Hills of Michigan. I had the pleasure of living one house a way from Bob for about 25 years and came to appreciate that he never accepts the status quo. As a born engineer and problem solver, Bob became exasperated at the snow removal company that kept tearing up a foot of lawn every time they brushed the snow. So he orchestrated a neighborhood snow removal service by measuring for and purchasing a snow blower that EXACTLY covered the walk but did not ruin the lawns. Forming a co-op, the neighbors paid Bob a fee each year for the best service in town! Snow removal by Bob. And that would be Bob: see a problem, fix it! Don't complain; take action. In and out of Rotary, the entire community has benefited from his efforts.
Tony DiGiovanni: But leaders are often shaped by their professional experiences. Robert Mull retired from Ford Motor Company October 1, 2006 after 34 years of service. His last position was Executive Director, Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Product Development Group. He was responsible for all test operations, including proving grounds, engine and transmission test, emissions test, body and chassis test, and safety test labs, cold weather sites, material testing and standards, prototype planning and build, body CAD, durability engineering, road loads analysis, design aid, and computer aided engineering.
He served as Director, Worldwide Strategy and Cycle Planning for Ford's worldwide product plan, as Director of Product Development for Ford's Asia Pacific region, and spent 7 years working in Asia, including Japan. He has worked on numerous domestic and worldwide product programs throughout his career, was the Director for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) from 1993 to 1996, and was a member of the Ford of Mexico Advisory Board from 1998 to 2000.
Bob was a member of the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Chairman of the SAE Motor Vehicle Council, and a Vice President of the Technical Standards Board. He served on several study committees of the U.S. Congress' Office of Technology Assessment and the President's Council on Competitiveness.
Previously, Bob served as a member of the Arbor Hospice Board of Directors for several years, and presently serves on the Board of the Arbor Hospice Foundation. As an active member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club, he has been a volunteer tutor of the homeless trying to pass the GED, a member of the Department of Treasury Taxpayer Advocacy Panel that works with the IRS to improve the US tax system, a member of Jumpstart, a non-profit organization that promotes K to 12 financial literacy, and is a volunteer tax preparer for the Women's Center of Southeast Michigan, and a teacher of financial literacy in the Ann Arbor high schools.
Michael Field: Bob’s Rotary experiences have truly shaped our Club. He has been an enthusiastic volunteer with Rotary projects, including leading the construction of raised gardens for the Center for Independent Living and working with the Children’s Literacy Network’s “Staying in Closer Touch Project”, helping incarcerated fathers read to their children via tapes. He chaired the Community Allocations Committee for two years and completely changed its procedures. The entire grant application and review process is now electronic, increasing its efficiency, responsiveness, and saving a forest of trees!! He has been an excellent advocate for increasing the CAC Budget to provide more money for community nonprofits and has led the creation of a Rotary Recognition event to salute our Rotary Grantees (the first ever, it’s June 2 at Misty Farms). Additionally, Bob led the strategic planning process for the Committee, creating a document that is used frequently in budget requests.
MAURITA: In sum, Bob Mull epitomizes the criteria for a DSA. He has put service to our community above himself.  Our club and community have gained tremendously. Thank you Bob!! Please step forward. [Bob was joined at the podium by his wife, Carol, their twin daughters, and several grandchildren.]