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Herbert Schmertz was born in Yonkers, New York on March 22, 1930. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Union College, a bachelor of laws from Columbia University in 1955, and a doctor of laws degree from Union College in 1977. He did intelligence work in the Army in Washington from 1955 to 1957. He worked for the American Arbitration Association before becoming an organizer for John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1960. During the Kennedy presidency, Schmertz was general counsel to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. In 1966, he joined Mobil Oil as a labor lawyer, but took a leave two years later to work on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. Schmertz took another leave to work on Senator Edward M. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1979. Schmertz took charge of Mobil's public affairs department in 1969 and filled that role almost continuously until leaving Mobil in 1988 to form his own company. His book, Goodbye to the Low Profile: The Art of Creative Confrontation written with William Novak, was published in 1986. He died from congestive heart failure on January 17, 2018 at the age of 87.