Way up in the far northwest corner of the state, Robert “Bob” Trowbridge was working at the Delta Farmers Elevator during the blizzard of 1978. The Elevator was asked for assistance to help clear the roads in York Township. Bob jumped on the company’s pay loader and this was his first direct contact with township government but certainly not his last.
“After my Dad retired from the township with over 40 years of service, I felt it was my civic duty to run and serve the residents of York Township as trustee,” said Trowbridge.
Taking over as trustee in York Township isn’t the only thing he has in common with his dad, John Trowbridge. John served 18 years on the OTA Board of Directors as a representative from Fulton County. In 2015, with 10 seats up for election, Bob threw his hat into the ring for consideration as an OTA Director. In January 2016, Bob was elected to serve as OTA Director for a four year term.
“I ran for the OTA Board of Directors after watching my dad make such a difference,” said Trowbridge. “I, too, wanted the opportunity to work with others across the state to keep the voice of township government strong.”
And following his dad once more, Trowbridge took over the family farm, which he calls one of his life’s biggest accomplishments. The family farm raises corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and Angus cattle. He credits his parents with instilling strong morals and values in him and encouraging him to always lead by example. He strives to do the same for his children and granddaughters, as well as the members of his church and the residents of York Township.
“Being self-employed, you learn there’s no one to put the blame on but yourself. This mentality certainly carries over into my role as a township trustee,” stated Trowbridge. “Understanding how to keep a balanced budget and working hard does pay off. They all go hand in hand when faced with making good township decisions.”
That might be why Bob is following in his dad’s footsteps once more by participating in the OTA Leadership Academy. His dad was included in one of the first OTALA graduating classes and Bob looks to complete his requirements next year.
“The more knowledge you can get, the better off you are. The world is changing so fast and if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind. By continuously learning new things or ways to approach situations, I benefit but so do the residents of my township.”
This mindset has definitely helped Bob in his eight years as trustee, especially when York Township was developing a new park on the site of a demolished school building.
“We had the opportunity to purchase the property for one dollar from our local school district several years ago. This was such a great deal and it had the potential to bring a much needed service - recreational area - to the community.”
He feels the biggest challenge he has faced during his time as a township trustee has been balancing agriculture with the growth of industry to provide a healthy balance in the township. His township has faced several annexations over the last few years, as well as a threat by the connected village to conform boundaries.
Trowbridge believes in the golden rule and that God put all of us here for a purpose. However, he has some words of wisdom for anyone that wants to get involved with townships.
“The most important thing to know is that when elected, you work for the residents. Listen to their concerns,” he said. “The biggest challenge is trying to please everyone, which is attainable most times, if you just listen to everyone’s concerns.”