A mere three years after graduating from Rhodes, Tim Robinson ’06, is a senior finance manager at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the president and co-owner of Phat Tire Bike Shop in Bentonville, AR. He credits his experience at Rhodes as a reason for his success.
While his degree in Economics has helped with the finance side of his job, Robinson’s experience with the Music Department was also exceptionally important to him. The Arkansas native came to Rhodes on a fine arts scholarship in vocal music and eventually minored in Music. Through his music classes he grew comfortable singing in front of audiences, something he once feared. Overcoming that fear has allowed him to deliver presentations to hundreds of associates at Wal-Mart.
A large part of Robinson’s role at Wal-Mart is to prepare executives to negotiate with their top suppliers, including P&G, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Hasbro and Mattel to name a few. Thanks to the confidence and experience gained at Rhodes, he often assists the executives in these negotiations with the CEOs and CFOs of these Fortune 500 companies. Robinson says, “The Wal-Mart executives have gained confidence in me knowing that I can add value to these conversations and will represent Wal-Mart well.”
At Rhodes, Robinson’s passion for community service was re-energized after a philanthropy project with his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, at Habitat for Humanity. Throughout the rest of his college career, he took on other volunteer opportunities, cleaning up storm damage or going to soup kitchens, but he knew he wanted to do more even after college came to an end.
Now the ’06 graduate combines his passion for outdoor activities and community service by building mountain biking and walking trails in Bentonville. He has started two separate volunteer groups to help clean and maintain the trails and help the city of Bentonville become a Bicycle Friendly Community through the League of American Bicyclists. Bentonville’s off-road bike group has helped build and maintain 15 miles of single-track mountain bike trails, and its road bike group has helped put up 20 miles of “Share the Road” signs, making it easier for commuters to utilize the road and cement paths.
Robinson’s bike shop sells bikes and equipment and helps raise awareness of trails, events and the benefits of biking. Robinson is also treasurer and a board member of Downtown Bentonville Inc., a nonprofit that helps with the revitalization of economic activity in the Downtown Bentonville District. He is also the program director for the Arkansas Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar.
By: Alice C. Wombwell ’10