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Bob Murray & Associates brings a personal approach to providing quality executive recruitment services. Our clients include cities, counties, and special districts, both large and small. Our experience includes working with the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Diego, CA; Eugene, Salem, and Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; San Antonio, TX; New Orleans, LA; Greenville, SC; Norfolk, VA; Jupiter and Miami Beach, FL; and Washington DC. Counties we have assisted include Orange County, Monterey County, and Marin County, CA; Clackamas County and Washington, OR; Fulton County, Orange County and Lowndes County, GA; Arlington County, VA; and Bay County, FL. We have also assisted a number of special districts and professional organizations including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and the California State Association of Counties.

Many of our clients are "repeat customers" that return to Bob Murray & Associates because of our emphasis on quality and our success in finding candidates for positions that are difficult to fill.

Through many years of experience, we have created an ideal recruitment process by combining our ability to help you to determine the direction of the search and the types of candidates you seek. We understand the importance of recruiting candidates who are not necessarily looking for a job and are doing well in their current position. Working with professionalism, integrity and personal attention, our team-oriented search process, in addition to our proven expertise, ensures that the candidates we present for your consideration will match the criteria you have established and will be outstanding in their field. Our collaborative process, created to build partnerships with our clients, entails the following:

  • Developing a Candidate Profile
  • Advertising Campaign and Recruiting Brochure
  • Recruiting Candidates
  • Candidate Interviews and Evaluation
  • Referencing Top Candidates
  • Recommendation
  • Final Interviews and Background Checks
  • Negotiations

Professional Qualifications
Bob Murray
Founder and Partner
Mr. Murray brings over 20 years experience as a recruiter. Mr. Murray is recognized as one of the nation's leading recruiters. He has conducted hundreds of searches for cities, counties, and special districts. He has been called on to conduct searches for some of the largest most complex organizations in the country and some of the smallest. Mr. Murray has conducted searches for chief executives, department heads, professional and technical positions. Mr. Murray has taken the lead on the firm's most difficult assignments with great success. His clients have retained him again and again given the quality of his work and success in finding candidates for difficult to fill positions.

Prior to creating Bob Murray & Associates, Mr. Murray directed the search practice for the largest search practice serving local government in the country. Mr. Murray has worked in local government and benefits from the knowledge of having led an organization. Prior to his career in executive search he served as the City Manager for the City of Olympia, Washington. He has also served as an Assistant City Manager and held positions in law enforcement.

Mr. Murray received his Bachelor's degree in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley with graduate studies in Public Administration at California State University at Hayward.
Valerie Gaeta Phillips
Ms. Phillips has over 15 years of recruiting experience, including more than a decade of recent experience in executive search for public, private, and startup companies nationwide. Ms. Phillips has expertise in the full recruiting cycle, from process design and outreach through candidate assessment and selection. She has placed executive senior-level candidates in a variety of industries and fields, including Finance, Information Technology, and Engineering. Most recently Ms. Phillips has placed City Managers, Directors of Finance & Administration, Directors of Economic Development, CIO and Engineering executives in the public sector. Ms. Phillips is valued for her ability to find and retain the most outstanding candidates for even the most difficult or untraditional assignments and for her commitment to her clients’ success.

Ms. Phillips is a member and or a sponsor of the International Hispanic Network, ICMA, Women Leading Government, International Fire Chiefs Association, Water & Waste Water Professionals, GFOA, CME, Hispanic Professional Women’s Association.

Ms. Phillips has a passion for helping people, evidenced by her fundraising and efforts to raise awareness for organizations such as Autism Speaks and the M.I.N.D. Institute.

Follow her on Twitter @VGaetaPhillips or Linkedin www.linkedin.com/pub/valerie-gaeta-phillips/23/2b4/806/
Gary Phillips
Executive Vice President
Mr. Phillips started his career with a New York based Fortune 100 company and quickly became a Senior Manager building and running a large customer service organization in New York and eventually in thirteen countries in Europe. He also served as a Director with a large Fortune 500 company and was responsible for developing and maintaining new and existing clients in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He then became Senior Vice President with a public enterprise software company. Some of his successes include building an organization from 2 to 250 people worldwide; acquiring 5 companies in two years; and growing a company from 800 to 1200 employees.

Mr. Phillips was part of an executive acquisition and recruiting team where he helped build a start-up enterprise software company in San Francisco. He recruited top notch talent, and built a world class organization. The company was eventually sold to a Fortune 500 software company.

Mr. Phillips has maintained customer relationships in the public sector, private sector, as well as medical, and financial institutions. He prides himself on finding key talent and offering the best customer service to his clients.

Mr. Phillips is involved in his community as a soccer coach and as an organizer of fundraisers for Autism Speaks in Sacramento. Mr. Phillips received his Associate of Science degree, as well as completed coursework at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY.
Regan Williams
Senior Vice President
Mr. Williams brings 30 years of local government experience to Bob Murray & Associates. Most recently, he worked as a private consultant with Deloitte and Touche on various public sector assignments. Prior to that, he served as Director of Public Safety with the City of Sunnyvale, CA.

Mr. Williams was involved in the development of some of Sunnyvale's most innovative programs and has a national reputation for excellence in law enforcement. He has been responsible for numerous recruitments throughout his career. Clients find his insight and expertise in recruitment and selection a valuable asset.

Mr. Williams received his Bachelor's degree in Administration of Justice from San Jose State University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Joel Bryden
Vice President
Mr. Bryden has over 30 years of local government experience that he brings to the firm, having recently retired as the Chief of Police in Walnut Creek, CA.

Throughout his career, Mr. Bryden has been involved in public sector consulting. He has vast experience in hiring and promotional processes, as well as interviewing candidates for advancement in all aspects of local government. Mr. Bryden has a solid reputation as a leader in the public sector, and clients find his ability to find and evaluate outstanding applicants invaluable.

Mr. Bryden is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from San Diego State University.
Fred Freeman
Vice President
Mr. Freeman brings over 24 years of local government experience to Bob Murray & Associates, with 11 years in the recruitment field. Mr. Freeman is a retired Chief of Police and has served as an elected official in local government. He has vetted hundreds of local governmental officials in the pre-employment process and conducted recruitments for positions in all sectors of public agency employment.

In addition to his career in the law enforcement field, Mr. Freeman served as the Mayor and the Mayor Pro-Tem for the Los Alamitos City Council. Mr. Freeman has been a member of the Public Safety Policy Committee - California League of Cities; the Orange County Fire Authority Board of Directors; and the Orange Line Development Authority as the Vice-Chair. His unique perspective and experience, as both a member of executive city staff and as an elected official, provides exceptional results for our clients.

Mr. Freeman is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and received his Teaching Credential from the University of California Los Angeles.
Amber Smith
Principal Consultant
As Principal Consultant with Bob Murray & Associates, Ms. Smith acts as a liaison between clients and candidates from beginning to end of each recruitment process. She is responsible for the development and distribution of position recruitment and advertising materials, client research, reference and background checks, responding to requests for proposals, and providing a broad range of support services for the recruiting team.

Ms. Smith brings over 5 years of client-oriented customer service, administrative, and management experience to Bob Murray & Associates. She is committed to working as a partner with clients and candidates in order to provide a quality service and experience.

Ms. Smith received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from La Sierra University, Riverside, California.
Hellen Amsden
Senior Consultant
Ms. Amsden acts as a liaison among clients, recruiters, and candidates throughout each recruitment process. Her responsibilities include development and distribution of position recruitment and advertising materials, client and candidate research, reference and background checks, responding to requests for proposals, and providing a broad range of support services for the recruiting team.

Ms. Amsden joined our firm in 2016 with nearly a decade of customer service, administrative, and leadership experience. She is committed to providing the highest level of quality support and working as a partner with clients and candidates throughout the search process.

Ms. Amsden graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Saint Mary’s College of California.
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