Rob Wilson (’77) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
A reporter and editor at the Wildcat during those fruitful years of the 1970s–which produced so many talented alumni–Rob Wilson gives credit to the Wildcat for teaching him the value of teamwork that helped him in his career.
“Sure, we were a bunch of cynical, arrogant, irreverent slobs–but we always hung together, often under intense pressure,” Rob recalls. “This turned out to be great training for my later work at the AP and IBM.”
Working summers during college as a general assignment reporter for the Norwalk (Conn.) Hour, Ron joined the AP upon graduation, starting in Miami and later moving to Lansing, Michigan, where he covered the state legislature. He got off the reporting track and joined his family’s furniture business, serving as vice president for advertising, before taking a position in 1982 as a writer and spokesman for the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C.
Rob joined IBM as a communications specialist in 1984 and rose rapidly through the corporate ranks, taking assignments in Boca Raton, Fla., San Jose, and Somers, N.Y. In 1991 he was named director of financial communications at IBM’s corporate headquarters, and in 1994 was promoted to vice president for media relations. As a member of IBM’s senior management group, Rob was responsible for the company’s worldwide media relations, financial, international, marketing and public policy communications. He provided media counsel and advice directly to the IBM chairman and chief executives. In 1995 Rob was named one of IBM’s top executives.
Although Rob “retired” as vice president in 2001, he was so valuable to the company that he was asked to stay on as a part-time consultant, working both from his home in Tucson and company headquarters in Armonk, N.Y.