Robert "Bob" Harbert moved with his family to Pueblo in 1946 and graduated from Central High School in 1951. He served in the United States Navy from 1951-55, then returned to attend Pueblo Junior College, receiving an AA Degree in 1958. He then transferred to the University of Colorado, where he received a BSCE degree in 1961. He was initiated into the University chapter of Chi Epsilon, a National Honorary Civil Engineering Fraternity.
He began a 30-year career with Reynolds Metals Company in 1961, working in Phoenix, Arizona to design aluminum electrical tower and substation structures. He transferred to Richmond, Virginia in 1964 as Field Service Engineer, remaining there until 1967. He was promoted to Plant Superintendent of Aluminum Fabrication in 1967 and became Manager of Reynolds' Electrical Tower and Substation Operations in 1969.
In October 1970, Bob was promoted to Plant Manager of Reynolds' Aluminum Cable Plant in Malvern, Arkansas. He successfully turned the plant around to greater efficiency and profitability within a year after his arrival. One of Bob's greatest achievements was to successfully resolve a one-year shut down of the Malvern plant in 1984. Working with corporate management and the local union, he saved over 400 jobs. Governor Bill Clinton was present for the restart of the plant. Bob received a citation from Reynolds for his work at Malvern.
Bob participated in a number of community activities in Arkansas. He became a member of the Board of Directors of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce in 1973, and was elected President of the Chamber for 1979. As president, he hosted Bill Clinton for the first time. Bob was also elected to membership on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for 1978-79. He was named to "Who's Who in South and Southwest Business 1978-79." He initiated the Junior Achievement Program while serving on the Hot Springs Chamber Board in 1975-76. Finally, he was also active in the United Way, serving as Campaign Chairman in 1978, setting an all time record of donations that year. He served as President of United Way in 1982.
Bob became President and Plant Manager of the Reynolds' "El Campo Aluminum Company," in El Campo, Texas in 1984. Like his efforts at Malvern, he was able to turn the plant around and bring it back to profitability within four years. In 1988, he became Plant Manager of the Reynolds' largest aluminum extrusion plant in Bellwood, Virginia. Once again, he was instrumental in leading the plant to obtain the Ford Motor Company Q1 Preferred Quality Award. As a result, the Bellwood Plant became exclusive supplier of drive shaft tubes for Ford's Aerostar, Econoline vans and F-Series pickup trucks when awarded a new five year contract for 1991-96.
Bob retired in 1991 after 30 years of challenging and successful service with Reynolds, where he was a pioneer in both the design and manufacture of aluminum products. In retirement Bob has been active in his local church and community activities. He served as Grand Knight and State District Deputy of the Knights of Columbus in Arkansas. He is married to Kathleen "Williams" Harbert, a 1957 Central High School graduate. They have two sons: Jeffrey and Michael, who both reside in Virginia.