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In Memoriam: Roger S. Robinson Ph.D. (1927-2019)
by Giselle Aguiar
December 20, 2022

On March 15, 2019, Greater Phoenix SCORE lost one of its beloved mentors, contributors and instructors, Roger S. Robinson. He volunteered his extensive business knowledge for SCORE for 20 years. 

Roger was born in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and was given the opportunity to serve in V-12 program at Harvard. He served 1.4 yrs active duty and 3 years Naval Reserve where he's inactive with a rank of AZ USNR. (He was honored along with other SCORE mentors who served in the military in this article.)

For over 50 years, following time in the Navy and graduation from Harvard University, Roger successfully created and operated a multi-unit entertainment and recreation enterprise in Michigan.  During this time he oversaw all aspects of the organization including management and operations, expanding to new locations, strategic planning, marketing, finances, and personnel. 

While managing his business, Roger synchronously enhanced his management and leadership skills by pursuing his formal education obtaining advanced degrees from Wayne State, Michigan State, and Walden Universities, and Harvard’s Advanced Management Program.  Roger relished sharing his expertise and knowledge with nonprofits becoming an active member of DESC (Detroit Executive Service Corps) as well as other local nonprofits. 

Success provided Roger with the proverbial offer one could not refuse and he moved to Phoenix in 1999.  There, he pursued his vision of combining his entrepreneurial and academic experience, for the benefit of both nonprofits and for-profit enterprises, to help them pursue their dreams, visions, missions, and values.  In fulfillment of this goal he has been an active member of ESCAZ (Executive Service Corps of Arizona-clients included Phoenix Indian Center & Drug Free AZ) as well as American Cancer Society (Relay for Life-event chair) and SCORE ® (Counselors to America’s Small Business), a resource partner of the SBA, for whom he conducted business-planning seminars in addition to mentoring clients. He also served as a committee member and board member of numerous philanthropic and community organizations. 

His business mentoring specialties included nonprofits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and entertainment verticals. 

Steve Feld often presented the ABCs of Starting a Business with Roger. He remembers him...

"Having presented the ABC’s of starting a Business with Roger for over 2 years, I have noticed many traits Roger had that many business owners today are not utilizing. Roger always had a positive outlook on everything. He was kind and gentle, always willing to listen to someone’s business idea and provide encouraging, but direct and honest feedback. 

He had more energy and go then most 20 years old’s today. I wish I knew him when he was operating his bowling alleys. I visualized that they were like Cheers, where Roger knew everyone’s name and everyone always felt welcome.  He was probably the kind of boss where his employees went way out of their way, just like Roger did --providing great customer service with a smile, just like Roger did when he was presenting workshops. Roger was truly unique. I will miss his positivity, energy, knowledge (I always learned something from him every month), and just him being himself with no regrets.  

Presenting the workshop will not be the same without Roger and many new entrepreneurs will never experience his knowledge and passion that he wanted them to have for their business.  We will miss you very much, Roger."

Rod Houston co-presented the Nonprofit classes with Roger:

"Roger was a bright light at Score Phoenix in a world with ever dimming light. He took great pride and joy in the success of his clients, and approached his client mentoring and seminar teaching with the same energy and zeal he approached life with 3 careers, well into his early 90’s. He will be sorely missed, but not forgotten."

Here's one of his success stories: Heartsweet Cakes

Published Author:

As a fundraiser for SCORE, he published a business planning workbook “Basic Business Planning for Entrepreneurs, Your Roadmap to Success

Roger also contributed several articles to the Greater Phoenix SCORE Blog.

The Restaurant Startup Series:

  1. What You Need to Think About if you Want to Open a Restaurant
  2. Elements of a Restaurant Startup Business Plan
  3. 5 Reasons Restaurants Fail and How to Avoid Them
  4. Restaurant Categories and Concepts: What’s Your Style?
  5. Who’s Your Restaurant’s Target Market?
  6. Restaurant Layout and Design: Planning for Success
  7. A Building Guide for a Successful New Restaurant
  8. Menus to Pricing: What a Restaurant needs to be Successful
  9. The Challenges in Opening Your Own Restaurant
  10. 9 Restaurant Management Success Tips
  11. 19 Profit-Watching Tips for Restaurateurs

Roger's Nonprofit 3-Part Series and other articles:

  1. Do You Really Want to Become a Nonprofit? Part 1
  2. Do You Really Want to Become a Nonprofit? Part 2
  3. The Ultimate Checklist for Starting a Nonprofit

The SCORE Phoenix Chapter is naming one of our business planning seminars after Roger in order to perpetrate his name, memory and SCORE achievement's.

Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his wife, Janet, and his entire family  during this difficult time. 

About the author
Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media Wiz
Giselle Aguiar
Giselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, content & digital marketing consultant & trainer. She specializes in SEO keyword and market research, strategic planning, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, social media setups, training and coaching.
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