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Robert J Abernethy

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Name  Robert Abernethy

Robert J. Abernethy wwwjhubcitIMAGESDedicationAbernethyjpg

Robert J. Abernethy (born February 28, 1940) is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Manhattan Beach, California. He is the founder and President of both American Standard Development Company and Self Storage Management Company.


Early life, family, education

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana and raised in Davidson, North Carolina, Abernethy received a B.A. in Mathematics & Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1962. After serving in the Navy Supply Corps from 1963-1966, he graduated from Harvard Business School with an M.B.A. in 1968. During his time at Harvard Business School Abernethy studied national security affairs under Henry Kissinger and Graham Allison, defense economics under Tom Schelling, and defense contracting under J. Ronald Fox. Abernethy went on to receive certificates in Construction Management and Real Estate from UCLA in 1973 and 1974.

Abernethy’s parents were both professors at Davidson College, in North Carolina. His mother, Helen, was an artist and art history professor. His father, George, taught philosophy. Abernethy has one younger sister, Jean Helen Poston.


After Harvard Business School, Abernethy worked for Hughes Aircraft (from 1972 to 1974) where he was quickly promoted to the position of Controller for the Technology Division.

Prior to his promotion, he worked on developmental aerospace projects such as the Phoenix Missile Program, the Iroquois Night Fighter and the Night Tracker Program. In 1974, Abernethy left Hughes Aircraft and started two companies, American Standard Development Company and Self Storage Management Company, the latter of which develops and manages industrial parks, incubators, and mini storage facilities throughout Southern California. Abernethy served as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the National Self Storage Service Association from 1978-1986. He also served on Public Storage’s Board of Directors from 1980 to 2007. In 2009 Abernethy was inducted into the Self Storage Association's "Hall of Fame."

Abernethy currently works out of the Redondo Beach Information Technology Center in Redondo Beach, California.

Public service

Abernethy served as a Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Planning and Zoning Commission from 1984-1988, a Director of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors from 1988-1993, a Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Telecommunications Commission from 1992-1993, a Director of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority from 1995-1998, a Commissioner of the State of California Transportation Commission from 1999-2000, a member of the California State Board of Education from 2000-2004, and a member of the California Arts Council from 2001-2004.

Educational organizations

Abernethy is a trustee of Davidson College and Johns Hopkins University, where he serves on the Advisory Boards of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Bologna Center, the Peabody Institute, the Center for Talented Youth, and is a board member at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Abernethy is also a trustee of Loyola Marymount University and serves on the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture Board of Visitors.

Public policy and political activity

Abernethy is a trustee at the Brookings Institution. He serves as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council of the United States. Abernethy sits on the Advisory Boards of the Truman National Security Project, the RAND Center for Global Risk and Security, and the publication Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Abernethy is also on the Board of Directors for the New Leaders Council. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, where he advises on the implementation of sanctions. Abernethy is also a member of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows, and a member of the California Committee of Human Rights Watch. He is also a member of the Center for American Progress Foreign Policy Advisory Council.

Philanthropy and cultural institutions

Abernethy is Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles Music Center He also sits on the Board of Directors for the William H. Parker Los Angeles Police Foundation. He is also a member of the Boards at the Metropolitan YMCA of Los Angeles County and the Westchester YMCA. In addition, he is on the Board of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. Abernethy frequently supports health care service providers like the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation, and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship – where he sits on the Board of Directors.


Robert J. Abernethy Wikipedia