Rob Caughlan

San Mateo Wall of Fame

2008 Inductees into the San Mateo Library Foundation’s Wall of Fame

Robert Caughlan for Science and the Environment: Co-founder of Friends of the River, Mr. Caughlan is active professionally and personally in nonprofit and government agencies focusing on environmental issues. He was a member of the panel that authored the Global 2000 Report to the President. His passion for the ocean is evidenced by his surfing hobby and following Jacques Cousteau's advice to him, "… don't follow gurus like me. Go out and do it yourself." - Library Link, 2008

A lifelong resident of San Mateo, Robert Caughlan has devoted his life to public service with a major emphasis on fighting for environmental protection.

As an activist, Caughlan co-founded Friends of the River. The Surfrider Foundation elected him to be their first president which turned into six terms. During his tenure he acted as their plaintiff and won, in terms of violations, the largest victory for clean water in American history.

Rob began his career working on political campaigns and as staff for public servants at the county, state and federal level. He worked in the Environmental Protection Agency, served on the White House Task Force on Renewable Energy, and produced an award-winning film on solar energy. He served on the Global 2000 Report to the President, the only time the American government has tried any long-range holistic trend analysis.

He carries his commitment to the environment into his personal life. He was senior vice president of the Roanoke company, a public service oriented advertising company. He was the spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Games Endangered Species Preservation Program. He produced a television series on international environmental issues. He is co-founder of Friends of the River, served on the Board of the Planning and Conservation League for twenty years, and has been the campaign manager for just about every environmental political campaign in San Mateo County since 1980.

Robert has been called "one of the Golden State's Eco Warrior superstars." A trophy-winning surfer, he has worked to raise support for coast preservation and ocean ecology. Founding president of the Surfrider Foundation, he grew the organization a hundredfold and won the largest clean water action in American history. - San Mateo Public Library Foundation, 2008