January 6, 2016

The Seattle Seawall project is the largest renovation in the history of the Seattle waterfront. Bob Donegan, CEO of Ivar's, will present an overview of the project's history and provide a current construction update. 

Bob became President on September 11, 2001 when the managing partner at Ivar’s died of a heart attack and the other three partners asked him to step in. He now manages Ivar’s Seafood Soup and Sauce Company, as well as the maintenance, information technology, marketing, human resources departments, and backs up Frank Madigan and Jim Seaver who manage operations, insurance, and real estate.

Five years after graduating from Yale’s School of Management, Bob jumped from the stability of American Can, a Fortune 100 company, back into the exciting chaos of his own consulting business and moved to Seattle so his wife could teach in the business school at University of Washington. In the next 10 years, he helped about 40 start-up and growth companies raise (and spend) about $70 million dollars, and big organizations develop and implement corporate strategy (Sears, Ameritech, Corning Glass, the Port of Seattle). In 1992, Bob got involved in the emerging specialty coffee business, helping the founders of Starbucks raise $3 million to start a new coffee roaster and retailer in Washington, D.C. Bob helped merge the D.C. company into Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley and then became the Executive VP and CFO of Peet’s.

Four years later, after $6 million of new equity, building a new roasting plant, opening 13 new stores, and developing a national growth plan, Bob left Peet's. He returned to Seattle and joined Ivar's as the CFO to help grow its restaurant and chowder businesses (wholesale and retail soups).

Bob grew up in Milwaukee and earned undergraduate degrees in economics and journalism from the University of Wisconsin. In Seattle, he chaired the corporate advisory board of the United Negro College Fund for the Northwest region; has worked with the advisory board of a Native Claims Corporation in Anchorage; and serves on the boards of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Chief Seattle Chapter of the Boy Scouts, the Seattle Sports Commission, the Seattle Aquarium, the Seattle Historic Waterfront Association, the Boeing Classic Golf Charity Tournament and the Seattle Restaurant Alliance.

Donegan lives in Shoreline, Wash. with his wife.