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NewsMaker 2020: Robert Hoffer is a successful professional and committed servant-leader

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Bob Hoffer is a soft-spoken guy and he carries a big stick. That big stick is an attitude, as in — he’s just happy to be here in his homeplace, ready to do what he can to make things better for everyone, aiming to make a difference, and feeling deeply blessed.

You can’t be around him much without having that rub off.

Robert Hoffer is the managing partner at DBL Law one of the largest firms in the area, and it’s the only firm he has ever worked for. In addition, he is chair of the St. Elizabeth Foundation in the year a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art Cancer Center has opened.

“The challenge that I would throw out to all businesses and all entities is — find that passion, find the opportunity that will be there. Give up your time, give up your talent and your treasure, to try to make a difference in someone else’s life. I think we live in an awesome community here and, if we look around, there’s always someone in need. With our resources, we can make a difference,” he once told an interviewer.

He walks the talk.

And for living his principles, giving back to the community, and being a role model for every citizen, Bob Hoffer is a NKyTribune NewsMaker 2020.

“Faith, family and giving back to the community are Bob Hoffer’s driving forces,” said Carri Chandler who heads the St. Elizabeth Foundation. “Bob is a respected, devoted leader in our community, in so many ways. He leads in his profession at DBL Law; he is a passionate advocate in support of our community for St. Elizabeth Foundation and DCCH, among others, and a man of deep faith. He is a spiritual leader among his 1,000+ prayer warrior team.”

Bob graduated from Covington Latin School, Xavier University, and Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law. He joined DBL Law when it was just six lawyers and three support staff; it now has offices not just in NKY but in Louisville and Cincinnati — and was bursting at the seams at its Crestview office.

DBL Law Managing Partner Bob Hoffer takes a bite out of the Monarch Building annex. (Photo courtesy of DBL Law)

He lead the way to take the constantly-growing DBL back to its roots, in style, and drove an excavator’s claw to knock down walls to make way for a glitzy addition to the historic Monarch Building to create 34,000-square-feet of class A office space in downtown Covington. The plans are breathtaking. The firm will move there from Crestview Hills in the fall of 2021. (See the NKyTribune’s story here.)

“We’ll be back home,” he says and adds that already he and his colleagues have plans for working with the Covington public schools and investing their time and energy on community service projects.

2020 has been a tough year for Bob, and that’s even before the pandemic took hold. He lost his mom and a brother-in-law. But he’s quick to say that his trials have “caused me to become rededicated to faith, hope, and family.”

“Trails are opportunities for us to be better individually and as members of the community,” he said.

So there’s that big stick.

“I am so proud of the generosity of this community,” he said. “and of the hope this community provides. People reach out to help neighbors and have particularly reached out to healthcare workers. . .It makes me happy to be part of it.”

On the job with Carri Chandler.

In addition to St. Elizabeth, Hoffer is deeply involved with DCCH and its work with “kids who didn’t have opportunities.” They find hope at DCCH, he says.

“I learned long ago that it is not what you have — but who you have that matters.”

He and a group of friends are also involved in Mustard Seed, an organization that supports disabled children and adults in Jamaica. They have made numerous mission trips there and organize 5 groups of 12 people to go every year. He has taken his own kids there too.

“These people have nothing — nothing — but they are so loving,” he said.

While COVID put a stop to the mission trips this year, he and his group have been focused on raising money.

“The generosity of this community brings tears to my eyes,” he says.

Hoffer has a servant-leader track record. He was selected to Super Lawyers for 2013-2019 and was named the 2012 Distinguished Lawyer of the Year by the Northern Kentucky Bar Association. The Dan Beard Council, Boy Scouts of America, presented Hoffer with the Trailblazer Award in 2015. He was recognized by Covington Catholic High School as the Northern Kentuckian of the Year in 2012. The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce awarded Hoffer the Leader of Distinction Award in 2009. He was recognized by Kenton County Fiscal Court as a 2018 Pioneer Award honoree for his outstanding community leadership and demonstration of the highest standards of personal integrity.

He has been heavily involved for more than 35 years with St. Elizabeth’s Business Support Committee, as well as the Samaritan Committee, as vice-chair, and as chair of the Foundation, he leads a team of more than 150 volunteers and staff raising $35million for the cancer center. He also has served a number of community organizations including former President and Board Member of Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, former Co-Chair of Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home Foundation, former Co-Chair of Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home Capital Campaign, former President and Member of Blessed Sacrament Church Pastoral Council, Board Member of Tri-Ed, former Member of the Advisory Board for Sisters of Divine Providence, former Member of Diocesan Pro-Life Commission, former Board Member of the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, former President of Kentucky Defense Counsel and Member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Defense Counsel, member of the Notre Dame Academy Board of Directors, member of Carmel Manor Board of Directors, and member of Carmel Manor’s Council

Hoffer and his wife Diane reside in Fort Mitchell. They have four children and four grandchildren.

NewsMaker 2020

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The NKyTribune’s “NewsMaker 2020” awards program has gone virtual this year, due to the pandemic. This week we will be celebrating our five award winners with a feature story a day honoring their success. Still to come: Ashish Vaidya of Northern Kentucky University and Alecia Webb-Edgington of Life Learning Center. See NewsMaker Catrena Bowman-Thomas’s story here and judy@nkytrib.com or call 513 324 4178. You can buy virtual tickets and bid on auction items here. Please help make our fundraiser a success.

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