Alumni Spotlight: Don Robinson
Knowledge, work ethic and responsibility learned at B&E leads to fruitful career
Don Robinson has been around business all his life.
He’s executive vice president of MVB Financial, chief operating officer of MVB, president of MVB Bank, and a 1997 graduate of B&E. He described himself as a ‘banking brat’ growing up, as his family moved all around the state (Moundsville, Teays Valley, Berkeley county) as his father worked for various banks.
From the time he was a young child, Robinson’s family had WVU season football tickets. His love for the school and Morgantown grew through the years and when it came time to choose a college, WVU was the natural choice.
“I loved the tightknit family, the small town community atmosphere,” Robinson said. “Today, I still work with some friends I graduated with. I keep in contact with a lot of them. (WVU) is the right environment, especially for a kid growing up in West Virginia like me,” he said.
Robinson credited the challenging coursework at B&E as well as the high standards set by the faculty for preparing him for a fruitful career. The school’s relationship with top accounting firms gave him the opportunity to interview with top firms. Because of that, he ended up working for Arthur Andersen, then one of the “Big 5” accounting firms, as an audit manager in their Washington, D.C. office.
“Right out of college, I was working on a regular basis with people who came out of the Ivy Leagues – all those schools people talk about. In no way was my education inferior, or at a level where I could not compete with them. (B&E) clearly gave a strong base of knowledge, work ethic and responsibility,” Robinson said.
When Arthur Andersen fell from the ranks of the Big 5, Robinson found an auditing job at Toothman Rice (now Arnett Foster Toothman.) It was a welcome transition, as he and his wife, Carrie, had just welcomed their first child into the world and they wanted to move back closer to family.
After practicing there for three years, he worked a stint in the oil and gas business as chief accounting officer of Linn Energy in Pittsburgh. After it was announced that their headquarters would be moving to Houston, Texas, Robinson decided again to look for something a little closer to home.
That’s how he found his way into the banking industry. He joined Huntington Bank as a commercial region manager, and ended up joining MVB Bank as market president of the Morgantown area in 2011. In his three years there, he’s already seen a great deal of both personal success and company-wide success: he’s been promoted and given additional responsibilities, and the company has tripled in size.
“We’ve added four branches since I’ve started, and we’re getting ready to add two more. Rapid growth is a challenge, but it’s exciting,” said Robinson, who oversees the operation of the banks.
For him, a typical day might consist of doing site visits to branches and communicating with his team to review performance and operational issues, as well as to discuss any concerns there may be. He works with various departments to bring everyone together and make sure the business is working cohesively and effectively. His favorite part of the job is the people.
“We’ve gone out and recruited top talent. We’ve brought on a lot of team members that we’ve worked with in the past – those we’ve highly respected. It’s a group of people that you love coming to work with – people you enjoy being around. We challenge each other and we respect each other,” Robinson said.
With plenty of experience in both the accounting and banking industries, he highly recommends either field to current students.
“Both provide a tremendous ability to see different businesses and understand what they do. The saying goes, ‘If you learn something new today, it’s a great day.’ And both public accounting and banking provide a wide variety of opportunities,” he said.
Robinson resides in Morgantown with his wife Carrie and his seven (yes, seven) children, who range in age from 12 to four. All are avid Mountaineer fans. Outside of work, Robinson enjoys spending time with his family and coaching youth sports.
“The kids take all my free time, but it’s a true pleasure,” he said.