The Leader Magazine

DEC 2018

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22 December 2018 the lea D er their application noted his stellar professional experience that encompassed many firsts and lasting legacies on the businesses themselves. At Data General Computers (1975-1983), Robinson created the first CRE department, where his work included expanding the firm's network of U.S. sales offices during a particularly high-growth phase. At Tandem Computers (1985-1999), he elevated the role and visibility of the CRE department within the company, where his work also included critical-era expansion as well as strategic portfolio reductions during leaner years for the company. And, at McKesson (2000-2014), Robinson took on the "perfect storm" challenge of consolidating real estate-related functions and staff within 15 business units into the first centralized CRE department at a time when the company itself existed as a band of independent business units but was already headed toward uniting its siloed operations. Represented independently by a lone real estate operation, each business unit had its own portfolio, processes, strategic visions, staff, etc.; these real estate functions within the larger company simply hadn't been communicating with one another. Just 18 months into his position at McKesson, Robinson pitched to senior management and won the chance to prove that a centralized CRE function, along with another first – the use of an outsourcing partner to handle day-to-day real estate activities – was the key to ultimately achieving three important milestones: more consistency in service delivery across the entire company real estate portfolio, optimized space utilization, and reduced costs. During the process, he also introduced the "Workplace Business Partners" initiative to better understand business units' core business as a means for developing and providing better solutions. Ultimately, the centralized McKesson CRE function would take on responsibility for a 26-million-square-foot (2.4-million-sq.-m.) global portfolio. And it was through the consolidation of service providers and leveraged spending that the single department and its strategic structure was able to help the company achieve a $40M annual run-rate savings. In a 2003 interview with the LEADER magazine, Robinson described five lessons he gleaned from the McKesson experience: 1. Look for and take advantage of an opportunity to accomplish what you want to accomplish. 2. Be willing to fight the good fight to reach your ideal state. 3. Hold yourself accountable for your actions during the journey. 4. Over- rather than under-communicate with others during such a process. 5. Have a passion for why and a strong belief in what you're doing. If helping to evolve the profession of CRE isn't enough evidence to demonstrate Robinson's unique qualities, colleagues say, there's one more facet to his make-up that should: he's also a genuinely nice guy. "Frank has not only been a leader, a mentor and an educator but, most important, he has been the kindest man to so many professionals, including myself," said Jeff Fini, PE, CEO of AlfaTech consulting engineers. "Even after retirement he has continued to be available for those who need him." David Nelson, Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank, listed more characteristics that demonstrate Robinson's leadership qualities. "He is the smartest guy in the room and a great listener," Nelson said. "Those two attributes in the same person are truly unique. When that is combined with a willingness to share you have a remarkable individual." Humbled by the recognition from his peers, Robinson notes: "There are few things in life as gratifying as being recognized for your efforts and accomplishments, especially if it's for doing something that I truly enjoyed doing, with people who were great to share my journey with, and in a profession that I enjoyed being part of. It's been a heck of a 40-year ride, with highs and lows, but I wouldn't trade it for any other journey. "I have changed jobs many times over my career, but the one constant has been my involvement in IDRC/CoreNet Global. The business relationships and friendships that I developed as a result of these associations have significantly contributed to my personal growth and professional development over my entire career. It became like a family." Frank Robinson, MCR F rank Robinson, MCR, retired as Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate (CRE) for McKesson in 2014. Now, he spends occasional time as an executive coach backed by nearly four decades of highly active leadership and educational roles in CoreNet Global and its predecessor organizations, International Development Research Council (IDRC) and NACORE International. Among his professional achievements, Robinson counts a remarkable initiative to centralize real estate operations at McKesson while simultaneously introducing the concept of outsourcing, described as a "don't try this at home" effort in less-qualified hands. "He is the real deal," said Jeff Elie, former CoreNet Global Chair and current Vice President, Global Real Estate and Facilities, at Kaplan, Inc. "His contributions to CRE reflect his genuine desire to help promote our industry and individuals." Elie also recalls a certain passion in Robinson's association leadership efforts, such as the time Robinson forced a stand-up-and- be-counted vote during the controversial move to change the meaning of the "I" in IDRC from "industrial" to "international." "Frank understood the meaning of making our organization sustainable by being one step ahead in futuristic thinking," Elie said. "It was time to move to the next evolutionary step." Robinson was instrumental in CRE's early years of pushing the profession's association to provide content that "changed the focus from pure tactical discussions in the 1980's to how to become today's strategic partner with our business units," Robinson recalls. Nominated for induction into the Distinguished Leaders Circle by the Northern California Chapter of CoreNet Global and its Chair John Lucas, Vice-President of Global Real Estate and Workplace Services at Juniper Networks,

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