When Lloyd Robinson ’87 reflects on his time at ILR, he remembers the small classes, talented students, and professors who care deeply about their students. As the owner of Awisco, a welding and industrial supplier based in Queens, he puts his ILR degree to use every day.
Robinson oversees 80 employees, 10 of whom are union truck drivers. He uses the negotiation skills he learned from David Lipsky, the Anne Evans Estabrook Professor of Dispute Resolution, when renewing contracts with union employees. He applied those same skills when he led Awisco through nine acquisitions he describes as exciting and good for morale because employees see the company expanding and succeeding.
As a leader, Robinson combines his warm personality with what he learned about human resources at the ILR School. Awisco’s headquarters consist of an open working space, where all employees, including Robinson, work in a start-up setting, which is both collaborative and fun.
Robinson started in sales at Awisco, working for his father, Bernie Robinson, who started in the industry. Robinson encouraged his father to change the company’s approach to sales. They began basing sales teams in the office, rather than on the road, so that they could quickly place orders for clients when they called. Since Robinson purchased the business from his dad in 2000, the company has grown from 25 employees to 85.
Awisco has been hosting interns and mentoring college students, including ILR students, since the 1990s. The Robinson family has a history of education philanthropy and volunteerism in the metro New York area. For Robinson, education for his community is important so that he has a well-educated workforce. Robinson also gives generously to the ILR Annual Fund each year. He says, “ILR gave me the foundation to succeed in business and I want others to have the same opportunity. Education is very important to my family, both personally and professionally.”