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Ryan Bohnert, Tool & Equipment Manager for Robinson Construction Company, has earned the designation of Equipment Manager Specialist (EMS) from the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP). The EMS designation is a recognized standard for developing the qualifications of a person involved with equipment management in a private, municipal, or government fleet within the first five (5) years of career development and signifies that the designee has fulfilled the prescribed standards, passes a rigorous examination, is committed to ongoing professional development and has pledged to uphold AEMP’s Standards of Ethical Conduct.

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Bill Johns is a teacher, so you’d imagine that there wouldn’t be much that could shock him into speechlessness. But that’s exactly what happened recently when he met Frank Robinson, president of Robinson Construction Company in Perryville. “I’ve been working closely with the Robinson Construction staff for the last few years,” said Johns, who is the welding instructor at Perryville Area Career and Technology Center at Perry County School District 32.

“We have a great partnership with Robinson Construction,” Johns explained. “I am able to help them with staff training and certification, and they are an outstanding employer that is willing to interview my welding class graduates. They have hired a number of my students, many right out of high school, and give them a career that offers a good wage and the possibility for advancement.”

Johns had never met Robinson; he works most closely with HR Director Dolores Buehler, who said that the partnership between the school and the company is beneficial to both.

“Bill Johns has helped us so much by providing training assistance and certification testing for our welders,” Buehler said. “He’s a great guy to work with, and he happily provides a valuable service to Robinson Construction Company. He expresses appreciation for the opportunity to allow his high school students to interact with professional welders during testing and certification.

“We’re very, very pleased with the quality of welders that graduate from Mr. Johns’ class, and I know truly appreciates the opportunities we offer those graduates. It’s just a win-win situation.”

Buehler said that she “brags on” Johns and the PACTC welding program and recently suggested to Robinson that the company make a donation to the school.

Frank readily agreed, and in a big way. “Dolores called me and said that Frank would like to meet with me and Steve King, the director of the career center,” Johns said. “She said he would like to make a donation to the program. I was really excited. I imagined that we would get up to $1,000 and I could replace some equipment.”

Johns’ imagination wasn’t as large as Robinson’s heart, it seems. When they met, Robinson presented a $10,000 donation to the PACTC Welding Program.

“I imagine that both Steve’s chin and mine hit the table,” Johns laughed. “I never expected such a generous gift. I don’t think I can adequately express my appreciation. It was unexpected, and it’s going to provide better, more reliable equipment for my students.”

King and Johns are using matching grants to stretch the $10,000 gift from Robinson Construction Company into $35,000 worth of equipment for the welding program. The donation grows even more when you factor in working partnerships with companies like Ozarc Gas which provide quality equipment to the schools at affordable prices.

The generous donation humbles King, who has spent the majority of his career at Perryville Area Career and Technology Center. “Along with the gift, Frank expressed his admiration for the center and the welding program, and especially praised the professionalism and talent of Bill Johns,” King said. “The money is wonderful; the recognition for my staff is priceless.”

Robinson said that Johns’ assistance has proven to be invaluable to his company. “It’s a tremendous benefit to our company and to other companies in this area to have a resource like Bill Johns,” he said. “His willingness to share his expertise with our welders has allowed us to meet certification and safety requirements. We’re also very fortunate to have a local vocational program that is producing job-ready welders. It’s important to me that young people have opportunities that allow them to stay in Perry County.”

According to Kelly Garza, marketing director at Robinson Construction, this donation is part of Robinson Construction’s continuing mission to improving the lives of people in Perry County.

“Frank is committed to helping this community in any way possible, and that’s a vision he shares with all of us,” Garza said. “We’re always happy to sponsor soccer and Little League teams, donate to the various fundraisers that are held locally for families in need, and to lend a hand to our schools. It’s a way of life for us at Robinson Construction.”

Robinson Construction was founded in 1946 by Frank’s father, Edward G. Robinson, as a plumbing and heating company. Ed Robinson then advanced the company’s growth into heavy mechanical construction. Frank Robinson joined his father’s company in 1971 after graduating from college then serving in the US Army in Vietnam, and has served as president since 1973.

Under Frank’s leadership, Robinson Construction Company began installing water and sewer lines in southeast Missouri, and soon after began constructing water and wastewater treatment plants. In the late 80s Robinson started performing mechanical construction and general construction services for several local industries and today acts as a design-build general contractor for clients from Florida to California.

Headquartered in Perryville, Robinson Construction has a regional office in Hopkinsville, Ky. The company is licensed as a contractor and/or has completed projects in 30 states. It is a major employer in Perry County, with a current staff of nearly 350 employees. It’s an experienced and talented workforce, from engineering and design to tradesmen certified in underground utilities, deep excavation, sheet piling, water supply systems and treatment plants, piping, structural steel and concrete, and material handling and conveying systems.

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