At the conference table, Bloom -- just weeks before he would leave the post -- offered tall glasses of ice water to the staff members of individual automakers who came by with tables and graphs of proprietary costs and sales projections in their briefcases.
Bloom, 56, a senior member of the president's automotive task force that oversaw the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies, listened patiently to their concerns during the two-hour sessions.
Bloom had been drafted by the president around the end of June to drive multilateral negotiations to a conclusion.
Months of conversations involving automakers, California state regulators, environmentalists, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation had produced reams of data and ideas but no agreement.
California's cooperation was key because the state is allowed by law to pursue its own standard. If the administration couldn't get California regulators on board, the industry could have faced a patchwork of targets: a national one and that of California, plus those of the 13 other states that follow California's lead.
Obama wanted a pact by the end of July so his administration could work out the details and formally propose a rule by September, with final approval due in July 2012.
The timetable would give automakers five years to gear up for the new standards.
The new targets would follow on the heels of a historic ramp-up of CAFE standards from 27.3 mpg in 2011 to 35.5 in 2016. Under legislation from the George W. Bush era, the high-end target was to be reached by 2020, but Obama had moved it up four years.
By courting favor with the Detroit 3 and the UAW, last month's agreement also possibly lays the groundwork for a favorable outcome in Michigan for the Democrats in the November 2012 presidential election. Full-sized pickup trucks mostly produced by domestic automakers were exempted from fuel economy increases between 2017 and 2019. After that, annual increases begin at a rate still to be determined, until they reach an annual rate of 5 percent a year in the 2022-25 model years.
Bloom, whose close-cropped brown hair gives him a youthful appearance, asked questions in measured tones in a painstaking attempt to reconcile automakers' disparate interests with those of other stakeholders.
On July 29, after a month of Bloom's diligent deal-making, Obama announced an agreement to seek a 54.5 mpg CAFE target by 2025.
"Ron Bloom was pivotal," said Ziad Ojakli, Ford Motor Co.'s group vice president of government and community relations, who headed the Ford delegation that met with him. "He did a phenomenal job in bringing all the stakeholders to the table."
While more than a dozen automakers signed on to the agreement, Volkswagen and Daimler did not.
Volkswagen noted the administration's concessions for full-sized pickups in its criticism of the agreement.
"It places an unfairly high burden on passenger cars, while allowing special compliance flexibility for heavier light trucks," VW spokesman Tony Cervone said.
Bloom declined to comment. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, he announced he was stepping down from the post by the end of the month.
Before joining the Obama administration, Bloom was an investment banker and a collective-bargaining adviser to the United Steelworkers Union.
He became deputy to Steve Rattner on Obama's automotive task force, which helped to bail out and restructure GM and Chrysler in bankruptcy.
Since September 2009, Bloom has been assistant to the president for manufacturing policy, trying to revitalize the manufacturing sector while also helping to oversee GM's recent initial public offering.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Ron Bloom's age. He is 56.