A Tampa native and Shareholder in Hill Ward Henderson’s Litigation Group, Robert A. Shimberg has served the Tampa community for many years. As he explains why this community is special to him, he shares, “While it has grown into a very large area with more than one million people, Tampa still has the feel of a small town in a lot of ways.”
As a child, Robert was greatly influenced by his parents who were very actively involved. “As my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, our parents taught us that we all have an obligation to support our community,” he explained. “To live in a community like Tampa Bay and to enjoy all the great benefits, it is natural to feel compelled to give something back.”
Robert remembers that at a very young age he began to join his mother in serving Meals on Wheels. “I met people I wouldn’t otherwise have even had the opportunity to chat with. I learned that, particularly in the Meals on Wheels program, the volunteers really get as much or more out of it as the recipients, because they get a chance to learn about other people. I remember serving in that role had a big impact on me,” he said.
This is one of many examples of service at a young age in Robert’s upbringing. Both his parents, James and Amy Shimberg, had a profound influence upon his life, and upon the Tampa Bay community.
“I have been very lucky. I grew up in a great family, I married a great wife, and we have three great kids. My family has been very supportive of me. I believe that in order to be successful, you need to have good people around you that offer support. I have been very fortunate, so I think it is important to work hard to give people some of the encouragement and support that I have received over the course of my life,” shared Robert.
Robert and his wife, Michelle, have instilled these values of service in their three children. “We have shown our children by example that we place a high priority upon being involved in the community and in various organizations,” explained Robert. “Our kids have made up their own minds by jumping in and becoming active. At our house, it’s pretty easy to know what is important.”
Marshall Criser, the father of HWH Shareholder, Mark Criser, and former president of the University of Florida, was also very influential in helping shape Robert’s values regarding community service. Robert earned his two bachelors degrees and his law degree at the University of Florida. After graduating with his Bachelor’s degrees, Robert worked for then President Criser for nearly two years before beginning his studies to become an attorney. “Marshall Criser was so involved in the community in Gainesville and in the State of Florida. Just observing him was an inspiration. Having the opportunity to work with him left a strong impression on me,” shared Robert.
Before joining Hill Ward Henderson, Robert was a prosecutor with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office. His work there allowed him to help people on a daily basis. “When you work for the State Attorney’s Office, not only are you working with victims of crime who come from all walks of life, but most of the people charged with crimes tend to more often be associated with the lower socio-economic areas of our community,” explains Robert. “You get a real feel for the needs within those segments.”
Currently, Robert serves on the boards of four very worthwhile local organizations. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for The Tampa Housing Authority, Metropolitan Ministries and MoreHealth, a health education and safety program for school-age children. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.
The one type of community service that is most enjoyable to Robert is that which is geared toward children. Through the years, Robert has had the chance to become involved in coaching or assisting a number of youth sports teams – baseball with his son, Connor, dance with his youngest daughter, Jilan, crew with his eldest daughter, Taylor, and swimming with all of his children.
“My wife and I have always attended and supported all our kids’ events and activities. We believe that if we’re going to be there anyway, we might as well become actively involved in some way,” he explained. “It has been very gratifying to watch children grow up that I have known over the years, and to have a little bit of an impact on their lives. It’s great to see them accomplish some very positive things.”
Robert’s strong belief in community involvement played a significant role in his decision to work at Hill Ward Henderson, over other Tampa law firms. “Knowing the history of Hill Ward Henderson and the people who worked here made it an easy choice for me. I believed that this firm was filled with the kind of people that I wanted to practice law with because they had such a commitment to giving back in service to the community.”
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