A long-time resident of Wellington County in the southwestern region of Ontario, Robert Black has been serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Ontario Institute since 2010. He has also served as a councillor on the Wellington County Council since being elected in 2014.
Mr. Black worked for the Ontario Public Service for 15 years, most of which were spent in positions with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. He also served as 4-H Ontario’s first Executive Director, the General Manager of the Ontario Soybean Growers, and the Executive Director of The Centre for Rural Leadership. He’s been involved with the 4-H youth organization for over 40 years, serving as a member, leader, board member, trustee, president, and staff member at the provincial and national levels. Mr. Black has also served and volunteered in other community and provincial organizations, including the Wellington County Historical Society, Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, and he is a member of the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership, which recognized his work at the Rural Ontario Institute by awarding him the Outstanding Leadership Program Director award in 2013.
Mr. Black and his wife Julie have four grown children: Kristen, Michael, Tayler, and Adam.