A heart for business
Feb 05, 2013 | 464 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By the very fabric of their design, some awards seem destined for certain people.

One such honor is the respected M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award sponsored through the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. One such honoree is the equally respected Steve Robinson, president of Cleveland Plywood Co., whose commitment to community service and whose conviction for helping others have molded his image in the eyes of others as “... truly one of Cleveland’s unsung heroes.”

We credit the above quote to Charlotte Peak-Jones, owner of KACE Construction & Development, a regular customer to Cleveland Plywood and an area professional who has seen firsthand Robinson’s flare for people and his regimen for best business practices.

Another who knows him well is Dr. Carl Hite, president of Cleveland State Community College, whose CSCC Foundation and BradleyAchieves Mentoring Program have benefited from the entrepreneur’s business leadership and his selfless outreach — both individually and through his company.

From Hite’s perspective, “Every community needs a Steve Robinson.”

No truer words could be spoken about this Cleveland native whose slate of civic contributions is as long as the list of inventory at his building supply company.

Last week, Robinson was named recipient of the prestigious Headrick award at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. It was an appropriate setting for such a recognition because it allowed the business community to recognize one of its own — and not just from the venue of economic success, but also from total impact on people and their quality of life.

Another who knows Robinson best is his secretary, Judy Wilson, who spoke of her boss in the Headrick nomination package that was initiated and prepared by Christy Griffith, senior vice president of the Bank of Cleveland.

“Steve’s door is always open, whether it’s a customer or an employee,” Wilson offered. “His caring and patient attitude is infectious to those around him.”

It is believed by many, and with good reason, that workers often reflect the mindsets of their leaders. Managers who trend toward the positive are most likely to be followed by others who admire, or at the very least, respect their ways.

In her nomination of Robinson, Griffith pointed to the diverse strengths of this likable leader. Obviously, the Cleveland Plywood administrator has an uncanny knack for understanding business — by virtue of his company’s impressive growth — as well as knowing the needs and the wants of the community and his customer base.

But the nominator went a step further in her recognition of the humble family man by pointing to his zeal for helping others. It is no accident they first worked together with Christmas in April of Bradley County, a program that identified area families most in need. She remembered his quick willingness to say, “I’ll take care of that. And using his own time, money and skill, he did just that.”

Another trait of community heroes is their readiness to serve without recognition. Said Griffith, “[Steve] is always willing to help those in need and others around him, yet he will never take any of the credit. That’s just the type of person he is.”

It is with good reason that Robinson is this year’s recipient of an award that meshes business savvy with size of heart.

Yet, it is Robinson’s own words that help others to understand the secret to his success, not just in business but in life.

“When someone walks through my door, and whether they spend 50 cents or $1,000, both people matter and I can’t tell you how it makes you feel at the end of the day,” he said. “It makes your step light when you go home, it makes you want to hug your family, it’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”

Treating others as we wish to be treated. It not only is the right way. It is Steve Robinson’s way.

We congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.

We thank the Chamber of Commerce for making it possible.