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Robinson Fans President Shares Legacy, Leadership of Zelienople-Based Company

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Family owned businesses serve as the cornerstone of the American economy due to their significant contribution to job creation, innovation and community development. Their resilience, commitment to quality and focus on long-term success embody the spirit of entrepreneurship that has been fundamental to America’s economic growth and prosperity. Here, Tricia Staible, president and general counsel of Zelienople-based Robinson Fans, a prominent manufacturer of custom engineered and designed industrial fans, shares her thoughts on leading a family owned business that has excelled in its industry for the past 132 years.

Robinson Fans has more than 130 years of experience in building air solutions. Tell us how the company got its start.

The Robinson Family has always had ties to the coal-mining industry. In 1863, Samuel Robinson and his son, JR, moved from the United Kingdom to the United States where Samuel was a coal-mining designer. Samuel and JR worked together to design the very first mine ventilation fan. They then acquired a machine company in 1892 and began building equipment for the coal- mining industry along with fans.

In addition to being a savvy businesswoman, you are also a lawyer and joined the family business, becoming its sixth-generation president and general counsel. What led to your decision to take over for your father at age 36?

I joined the company in 2008 after a stint at a law firm. I wanted to be a part of building a team. I had the opportunity to learn the business from a lot of different angles over the last eight years. Eventually, my dad and the board determined I was ready to step into the role of president and continue to lead the Robinson team.

What do you enjoy most about running your family’s business?

Being a part of a team that works to build the foundation of the economy.

Innovation and diversification are critical to long-term success. Describe Robinson Fans’ operations, equipment and diverse product line today.

We now have three different companies under the Robinson name — Fans, Service and Machine. Fans has operations in Florida, Utah and Pennsylvania. Service has operations in Alabama and Pennsylvania, and Machine is headquartered in Florida. We build fans for every heavy industrial process, anything from food production to cement to oil refining. Our Service team is available anywhere around the world to troubleshoot and install or remove industrial processing equipment. The Machine Company has extensive machining and fabricating capabilities but also specializes in welding pressure vessels and structural pipe.

In your opinion, what is the secret to Robinson Fans’ continued success as a family owned business?

We have committed to building a culture at Robinson that empowers all of our teammates to feel like family. Because everyone is invested in our success, it allows us all to best serve our customers.

What’s next for Robinson Fans in 2024?

Our goals are always aligned with our desired outcomes as a company — to be a safe, engaged and improving team working toward a high quality, on time, waste-free flow.

What’s the best way to learn more about the company?

To learn more about Robinson Fans, visit robinsonfans.com.