Bikes for the World

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Steering Us In The Right Direction: Rich Robinson

Rich Robinson and Keith Oberg
Bikes for the World is proud to welcome Rich Robinson to our esteemed board. And although we honored Rich back in 2010 as our volunteer of the year, it seems fitting to honor him again as our Featured Volunteer of December.

Rich began working with Bikes for the World in 2007, following his retirement from federal service as a counsel (lawyer) for the Veteran's Administration. Rich has played a central role in our expansion, a constant presence at loadings and collections.

In searching for photos of Rich for this honor we found many of him lying in front of a group of hard working volunteers. We are certain this is just a trademark pose after a loading, but it's also, no doubt, a well deserved rest in our opinion.

Rich is one of the 'select few' veterans physically capable of handling the infamous, read: strenuous, "third levels" of bike loading. Any time of year, any warehouse location...you are likely to find Rich in his old tattered Bikes for the World t-shirt either throwing bikes or mentoring youth volunteers. He is truly irreplaceable.

Rich has been the lead on several loadings and has not only orchestrated activities inside 'the can' but also in the warehouse. He has lent his patience and skill to work with new volunteer crews during sometimes hectic loadings. He has also taken the time to stop and work one-on-one with individuals struggling with a menacing bike part.

He has worked with scouts on their Eagle projects and new collection managers unsure of the process of 'prepping' bikes at an event. You can often find him at one of our most successful collections, spring or fall, in Arlington, at the annual recycling event ECARE. He might be helping a donor, spinning a wrench, or driving a truck...guaranteed he's got a smile on his face.

When Rich isn't onsite steering BfW in the right direction, you might find him navigating the streets of DC in his Previa van. He regularly picks up bikes at The Bike Rack on Q Street as well as other businesses and apartment buildings as needed.

Building on his familiarity with and enthusiasm for our operations and mission, Rich is transitioning to making an even more valuable contribution to our institutional growth. Over the winter in 2012-13, he and wife Sue led our new board of directors and staff through a first-time strategic planning process. The result was the recent adoption of an ambitious strategic plan outlined with an action plan prepared by staff members. Joining the board is a logical step in pushing this process forward and helping us grow. Welcome aboard Rich!

Rich is an accomplished bike mechanic, maintaining and modifying an ample fleet of personal bikes. He is a long-time recreational cyclist, most recently completing tours with wife Sue and friends in Spain, Sardinia, and Turkey. Given Rich's familiarity with BfW, bikes, and international cycling (not to mention his recent study of Spanish), Bikes for the World would love to get him to tours in Central America, Africa, or the Philippines--to visit our partner programs!!
PS...send pictures.

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