A native Texan, Robert Steinhagen was named after Col. R.B. Thieme, the pastor of Baracha Church in Houston, where he grew up. He was raised with a reverence for the nation’s military and those who have served our country from both his father, who served with distinction as Master Seargent in the Korean War and his grandfather, who served in both WWI & WWII, and was a member of General Omar Bradley’s Flagstaff in the II Corps. It inspired his interest and involvement in politics at an early age, where he volunteered for his first political campaign in elementary school, which led to volunteering annually on many local, state, and national political campaigns.
He served on President George H.W. Bush’s advance team, which included the 1990 Economic Summit and the 1992 Republican National Convention, and managed several campaigns, including Greg Abbott’s first successful campaign for district court judge.
It was while attending Robert E. Lee High School where he distinguished himself a leader as Student Body President, among other honors.
Steinhagen received a full scholarship to the University of Houston’s to study Theater Arts, but after a year he transferred to Texas A&M Univerity in College Station where he changed majors and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He also served as President of the 12th Man Student Foundation, which was then the second largest student organization on campus.
The day after graduation, to help a long-time political friend, he packed up his truck and headed to Nebraska to serve as Organizational Director of the unsuccessful US Senate campaign for Republican Jan Stoney. It was during the campaign that he attended Christ Community Church in Omaha and met his future wife, Michelle, who was working to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree at Creighton University. Following the election, he and Michelle were engaged and shortly after that he was the second person hired for Republican Chuck Hagel’s successful campaign for US Senate, where he served as Press Director.
Following Michelle’s graduation, Steinhagen ended his stint as Senator Hagel’s Press Secretary and returned to Texas to join Winning Strategies, a consulting firm that focused on recruiting and supporting conservative candidates for public office as well as non-profit public policy groups and organizations. Steinhagen consulted on more than forty-five campaigns including retired Col. Dennis Boerner & Dr. Jim Loehmeyer for Congress, Dan Flynn & Leo Berman for Texas State Representative, & Judy Strickland & Don McLeroy for State Board of Education. He also served clients like Christian Coalition, American Family Association, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Wall Builders.
Robert left politics to focus on helping Christ-centered ministry organizations with successful strategic-development strategies.
He first served as Director of Communications and Development for Champions for Life International (formerly Bill Glass Ministries) an evangelical prison and crusade ministry that he had been volunteering with since college. He then joined WorldServe Ministries, an international ministry serving the suffering Church in closed and restricted-access countries, to again lead the many different fundraising-development & communication teams scattered throughout the world. Following that, Steinhagen became Bakke Graduate University’s firstVice President of Advancement, a school that develops Christ-centered leaders who change global cities.
Robert was recruited by the consulting firm Pursuant/RSI/Ketchum, the largest capital campaign consultation company in America to help grow and develop a new institutional division, which was to focus on Christ-centered, non-profit ministry clients. In addition to serving clients, Steinhagen led the development of the firm’s client manuals and helped train and equip consultants to help their clients through successful major gift and capital campaigns as well as organizational and strategic training to their boards and staff.
As his daughter grew Steinhagen, who was traveling more than 100,000 miles domestically each year, gave up his position at Pursuant to start his own consulting firm, Inspiritous, which simply “helps ministries work better.” Most of his consulting work is performed via video conferencing from his home office, which has allowed him to be present for his wife and daughter.
On March 23, 2014, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) recognized Robert with the distinction as Master Trainer for his innovative, entertaining, and highly effective seminars and courses that he has conducted over the last ten years. In addition to AFP’s annual national conference, Robert is a frequent speaker and facilitator at national conferences for the Christian Leadership Alliance, Association of Christian Schools International, National Religious Broadcasters, and Christian Camping and Conference Association, on subjects relating to fundraising development, policy board governance, and “earned media” strategies.
Robert is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and Accredited American Professional Statistician (PSTAT), and is a Candidate for Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive ACFRE. Robert also served for eight years on the Standards Committee for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability [ECFA] and helped write many of ECFA’s guidelines and commentaries for fundraising practices.
By a unanimous vote, Steinhagen was appointed Mayor on April 25, 2017, to fulfill the unexpired term of Nathan Hodges, who resigned from office a month earlier. He was elected to the city council in May 2016 by a landslide that saw the largest voter turnout for a municipal election in the city’s history by a factor of three.
A voracious reader, Steinhagen has been influenced by authors like Whittaker Chambers, Witness, Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Harry Jaffa, The Crisis of the Houses Divided, Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, all of which points to the calamitous impact that modern political liberalism, which advocates power to government, has on freedom and liberty.
As Mayor of McLendon-Chisholm, which is a volunteer position, Steinhagen has established an aggressive agenda to limit the size and scope of the city government so that citizens can live more freely as they work to protect the city’s wide-open spaces and more rural lifestyle.
Robert & his wife, Dr. Michelle Steinhagen, have been married for twenty-three years and are the proud parents of a ten-year-old daughter, Campbell, who attends Dallas Christian School. They have attended Watermark Church in Dallas since it began in 1999 where Robert performs often as a member of the church drama team.