Ernest N. Robinson epitomizes the legendary rung-by-rung rise on the corporate ladder, relying on skill, innovativeness, determination and integrity throughout the climb. Robinson, retired vice president of Stewart-Warner Corporation, rose through the ranks the old-fashioned way: with hard work and a great deal of energy. His savvy and inspired leadership guided the company through a critical period of growth and expansion.
Robinson joined the firm in 1934 as a record clerk in the sales order department. He held positions such as sales representative, sales manager, marketing assistant, marketing manager, and divisional general manager. Perhaps Robinson is best remembered for recognizing early in his career Stewart-Warner’s need for a new, modem, and expanded finished goods warehouse facility to remain competitive. At the time, the company was embroiled in a semi-crisis situation, as it strove to properly react to newly developing markets. Not only did he conceive the warehouse idea and sell management on his plan but he also supervised the construction of the located in Elgin, Ill.
The Elgin facility played a major role in the success and growth of the company from that point on. Robinson was instrumental in the significant expansion enjoyed by the corporation, especially its Alemite Instrument Division. Sales and earnings increased substantially due to his aggressive marketing, leadership and innovation.
Since his retirement in 1973, Robinson has maintained an active role in the industry trade association activities. Now the treasurer of Automotive Service Industry Association, he is a former committee member, director, and chairman of the organization. He helped initiate the ASIA Scholarship Fund, which has assisted more than 60 automotive students in recent years.