The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to present the 2020 BN360 Spotlight Professionals.
Each year, BN360 highlights 12 up-and-coming young professionals who strive for professional growth and development, care for their community, and are passionate about the future of the Buffalo Niagara region.
Associate Automation Engineer | Rich Products
Robert was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He is a graduate of Hutchinson Central Institute of Technology. Robert went on to earn a BS in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Currently, Robert is pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Buffalo, with an anticipated graduation of May 2021.
Robert is an Associate Automation Engineer at Rich Products, where his team builds and supports applications that automatically collect data that measures and reports on the efficiency, quality, and energy management at our US and Canada food manufacturing plants. They also support applications that manage and print labels for boxes and pallets.
Outside of his duties at Rich Products, Robert has worked with the Buffalo Branch NAACP for the past five years, where he has served on various committees and currently serves as the 2nd Vice President. Robert is a graduate of the NAACP NextGen program, an NAACP national leadership development program for young professionals who aspire to take up leadership positions with their local branches, states, and throughout the association. As the membership chair, he has led the Buffalo Branch to placing third in New York State in both 2018 and 2019 for the largest amount of new life memberships.
In addition to pursuing his Master’s degree, his day-to-day work at Rich’s and his work with the Buffalo Branch NAACP, Robert is also an IT consultant for the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Buffalo NAACP, and Second Baptist Church, where he manages websites, social media, and memberships.
My first job was working for the Buffalo News as a paperboy at 11 years old. I only had 1 street to do, my street, but it was still a lot, especially when battling Buffalo winters. I was recognized by the Buffalo News as one of the few carriers to deliver newspapers every day throughout the blizzard of 2000 consistently.
My first job after finishing my B.S. in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was as a Developer II at Paychex in Rochester, NY. While there, I developed forms designed to onboard new clients to Paychex’s various programs and services
Greatest Professional Win:
My team was able to complete a huge software and infrastructure upgrade initiative that spanned the past two years. This project is essential to the company’s initiatives to stay current with today’s technology and pushing the possibilities of innovation with cloud computing, digital optimization, and predictive analytics. The project affects our plants across the US and Canada and helps to improve the performance and quality of Rich Products’ food manufacturing currently and in the future.
I’ve been able to work with community-based organizations and minority-owned businesses, helping them with their internet presence. I develop websites, manage social media accounts, and facilitate membership platform integrations, allowing these institutions to increase awareness of their initiatives and gain memberships and followings.
Best Piece of Professional Advice:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
It is important to believe you can achieve your goals. When you have doubts or think you can’t do it, your subconscious finds a way to make it true. Giving up and quitting is easier when you believe you already can’t achieve your goals. When you want to learn or accomplish an initiative, it’s important to visualize your successful completion. From there, you take the correct steps to complete the necessary tasks to accomplish your goals. Learn what you must, learn, talk, and network with those who can help you get there, then plan your next moves accordingly. There is always a lesson to learn, and as long as you have a true “why”, you will only fail if you quit.
- Buffalo NAACP Branch – 2n d Vice President; Gold Life Member; Membership Chair
- Rich’s Kaleidoscope Affinity Group – Co-founder & Digital Platform Leader
- Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s BN360 – 2020 Spotlight Professional
- College Simulation – Volunteer
- Ionic Lodge #88 of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York
- Free and Accepted Masons – Member
- NAACP NextGen – 2018 Graduate
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc – Theta Upsilon Sigma Chapter Member
- Second Baptist Church of Lackawanna NY – Deacon & Media Ministry
- Second Baptist Foundation Food Pantry – Volunteer
Thoughts on living and working in Buffalo Niagara:
I love this city. This city is my home, and I want to do what I can to help the people here. I enjoy seeing the city represented well by the people here, and I want to be a part of the solutions to the challenges the people in this city may face. Buffalo is one of the best cities in America, even with its flaws. I’m proud to call this city my home, and I enjoy every opportunity I may have to give back.
On Being a BN360 Spotlight Professional:
I feel honored and grateful for this opportunity. To be named along with the other young professionals this year and in the past years makes me feel appreciated. It makes me believe that the work I do doesn’t go unnoticed and encourages me to do more.
Top 5 Favorites:
- Favorite Mural: Freedom Wall on Michigan St and East Ferry St
- Best Buffalo Hidden Gem:Underground Railroad Tour
- Go-to Buffalo Food:Chicken Wings and Loganberry
- Best Buffalo Activity/Hobby:Bowling, Video Games, Spending time with my wife Kanasha Blue & daughter Robyn Blue
- Place you would take someone new to Buffalo:Buffalo Bills Game and Niagara Falls