Meritorious Achievement Award: Michael Robbinson 

When Michael Robbinson graduated from Pittsburg State University, he quickly rose to the top of his profession, gaining acclaim for achievements related to environmental and safety compliance and best practices. 

Michael Robbinson

His achievements made him an obvious choice for this year’s Meritorious Achievement Award, said PSU President Steve Scott, who presented Robbinson with the award in a ceremony Friday attended by friends, family, faculty, staff, and alumni.  

“It’s an incredible honor close to my heart,” he said. “To get an honor like this from an institution you love is so rewarding.”  

Robbinson (BS ‘78, MS ‘83) never forgot the foundation of learning he got from the Biology Department, and in retirement still makes time to return to campus when he is able to volunteer in the Sperry Herbarium, assisting Professor Neil Snow in the processing of collected plant specimens. 

“Then, and now, I found it rewarding to always be learning,” he said.  

Among his fondest memories were biology field trips. 

“Going with an expert and your peers — a group filled with people who are passionate about what you’re passionate about — and learning something new was one of the most memorable experiences of college,” he said. “I think it put me on a path to seek out learning throughout my life.” 

Now retired and living in Lenexa, Kansas, Robbinson earned degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology and propelled himself into a career working with major manufacturing companies in aerospace and defense industries. 

For more than 25 years, he worked for Hercules Aerospace and later Alliant Techsystems Inc. where he rose to become corporate vice president of Health, Safety, and Environment. He also worked for Honeywell Aerospace, a division of Honeywell International, as vice president of Environment, Safety, Health and Facilities. 

Robbinson also was a long-time member of the Aerospace Industries Association Environmental Safety & Health Committee. He became vice chair, and later chair, for that committee. He spent the final eight years of his career with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a $16 billion global facilities management and commercial real estate company with 88,000 employees, as vice president of Safety, Health & Environment for the Americas, where he developed best practices in environmental and safety, performance metrics, and tools for use across operating facilities, as well as managed compliance with regulatory requirements. 

He was selected as one of two global health, safety, and environmental experts supporting one of JLL’s highest-profile projects: conducting a management systems audit in Dubai, U.A.E., of the Burj Khalifa Tower — the tallest building in the world — and the Dubai Mall — the largest mall in the world. 

When retiring from JLL, he earned the Lifetime Achievement Award for Safety. 

Robbinson has been a leader in numerous professional societies and organizations and has been a sought-after speaker. He is a member of the PSU Heritage Society, and he and his wife, Carol, with whom just celebrated 39 years of marriage, are Legacy members of The Nature Conservancy.