Our founder, Steve Barber, came up through the civil rights movement to believe in the power of participatory democracy, and peaceful resolution of conflict. The firm was established in 1991 to give people the practical tools and skills necessary to live out these values, and to be of service in influencing the trajectory of our communities.


Steve Barber After serving as the top aide to two California legislators and as a Deputy Director in an office of the California Health and Welfare Agency, Steve held the posts of executive secretary and Deputy Director of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) during his 15 years with that Agency.  While involved in the legislative and regulatory processes of State government, Steve found multiple opportunities to utilize a principled, interest approach to communication and decision making. Steve was invited by the United Nations to be one of 10 people from the United States to attend the first ever international conference convened to develop methods of introducing and sustaining interest approach negotiations and relationship principles to employers and unions.  He was recently invited to help create the first Institute to introduce collaborative and interest-based decision making principles as an effective and legitimate practice for organizational development to the international business and government communities by the Association for Quality and Participation. For 18 years Steve has served as an instructor in the University of California at Davis extension program teaching classes in labor relations, organizational development, and effective negotiations techniques. These classes are part of certificate programs in Labor Relations, Project Management, Business Management, and Human Resources. The University has solicited Steve to serve on a newly created advisory committee for the development of a Certificate Program in Organizational Development/Effectiveness. Upon his graduation from UCLA with a degree in Political Science, he attended graduate school in Political Science and Philosophy at San Diego State College. Steve has been contributing to the development of curricula for the Political Science Department of San Diego State in mediation as a component of their Interdisciplinary Degree Program in International Conflict Resolution.  Annually he presents a seminar on decision making to the Graduate School of Political Science at San Diego State.  Steve frequently presents to state and regional conferences on the subject of employer/employee relations, organizational development/effectiveness, and change initiatives.