Robert Ufer obtained his undergraduate degree from Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, with honors and exceptional distinction in economics) in 1971, and a law degree from Harvard University in 1974. After law school, Bob joined the Detroit firm of Dickinson, Wright and became a partner in 1981, specializing in the representation of closely-held corporations, real estate, commercial litigation, sports law and environmental law. He became a member of the Firm Executive Committee in 1984, before leaving with Tony Spaniola to develop his practice in a more entrepreneurial setting. Bob and Tony founded the Firm in 1987.
While remaining an of counsel shareholder in the Firm, Bob left the full-time practice of law in 1994 to become President, CEO and Commissioner of the International Hockey League, which was a “triple A” minor league for professional hockey in the United States and Canada.
In 2000, Bob joined with two other member owners to form Service Brands International, LLC located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and also purchased an ownership interest in Molly Maid, Inc. Bob served as president of SBI from its inception until early 2009, when he was appointed Co-Chairman. SBI developed the new service franchise concepts of Mr. Handyman International, LLC, ProTect Painters International, LLC, Certified Restoration DryCleaning Network, LLC, Ductz International, LLC and 1-800-DryClean, LLC.
Bob played an integral role in the development and ultimate sale of the CRDN, Ductz and 1-800-DryClean franchise concepts. Bob was Chairman of CRDN from the time it started in May, 2001 until January 2008; he was the CEO of Ductz, which was formed in May, 2004 and grew the system until July, 2007, when it was sold to its largest commercial customer.
As of June, 2015, SBI, Molly Maid, Mr. Handyman and ProTect comprised approximately 750 franchise business territories, with systems-wide consumer sales in excess of $260 million in 2014, and projected sales of $305,000,000 in 2015. SBI successfully pursued a liquidity event, and on June 12, 2015, SBI was sold to a strategic purchaser.
In 2012, Bob became an owner, officer and director of The Solutions Group, Inc. TSG is a Michigan software development company, with multiple use, modular systems that can be reconfigured to meet individual customer needs.
Presently Bob is a director of CLAA, a Michigan LLC, and helped direct the multi-million dollar renovation of Colonial Lanes in Ann Arbor, transforming it from a 55-year-old bowling center to “Revel & Roll,” a ‘multi-tainment’ center. A second Revel & Roll operation just opened in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
For the past decade, Bob has served on the Advisory Board of Horizons-Upward Bound (HUB), which brings inner-city, high school students to the Cranbrook campus in Bloomfield Hills every other Saturday during the school year and for six weeks in the summer to provide college preparatory courses and growth experiences.
In 2017, Bob co-founded with Tim Wilson the Website of New Detroit Educational Resources, Inc., a Michigan non-profit corporation, whose mission is to develop a new comprehensive website to enhance the effectiveness of existing educational charities serving the young people of Detroit. City Year is one of those existing charities that Bob also works with.