President and Founder
Robinson Hill, Inc.
Dee Robinson is a senior executive with extensive experience starting and growing food and beverage and retail businesses. Ms. Robinson is a strong entrepreneurial leader with a solution-focused management approach and a proven track record of creative growth, initiative, financial performance and team building. She founded Robinson Hill, Inc. in 1992 focusing on the core competencies of operations and growth management, strategic alliances and food and beverage and retail development. Robinson Hill is a growing company with a focus on customer service, operational efficiency, strategic planning, human capital development and captive markets.
Robinson’s commitment to leading, motivating and inspiring teams has been the foundation for developing and growing her company. Her creative business model involves matching franchises, best- of-best brands and partners with strategic locations, primarily airports. Her successes have garnered the respect and trust of major venues’ management and franchise systems.
Robinson Hill serves as the parent company for Ben and Jerry’s Super Premium Ice Cream at Chicago’s Navy Pier and Midway Airport, Einstein’s Bro Bagels at Loyola Medical Center, and Cheeburger Cheeburger and UFood Grill restaurants at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The company also has plans to open Lebanese Taverna and other new concepts at Reagan National Airport in 2015. In addition, RH manages and oversees news and gifts stores at O’Hare International Airport via a joint venture with Hudson Group; restaurants in partnership with OTG Management at Reagan National and O’Hare airports; and with Potbelly Sandwich Works at Boston Logan Airport. The Robinson Hill and Areas USA joint venture was selected to develop the food and beverage concessions program at the new O’Hare Airport International T5 Terminal. The venture recently opened Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, Big Bowl and Kofe by Intelligentsia, Hub 51, Tocco Italiano, Wow Bao, Urban Olive, and R.J. Grunts. Robinson Hill continues to seek growth via franchise development, licensing and joint venture opportunities.
Previously, she founded Unity Square which merchandised ethnic-inspired products through a strategic retail partnership with Sears, Roebuck and Company from 1995-2003. Robinson was an advertising executive for Leo Burnett U.S.A. developing market research and strategies for new product introductions. She also was an associate product director for Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products Company facilitating successful national launch campaigns for new products. In her work with Ameritrust Co., as a commercial loan officer, she evaluated credit quality and structured and priced corporate loans.
Robinson earned her Master of Management degree from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College’s Executive Education program.
Robinson currently serves as a member of the Business Leadership Council, Airport Minority Advisory Council, Economic Club, Chicago Club, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She has previously served as a Board Director of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), LaRabida Children’s Hospital, the Fetzer Institute Advisory Council, and has been a member of ABLE (Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs).
She received the 2013 ETA Creative Arts Foundation “Giving Honor to Those Who Give” Award, 2012 Women’s Leadership Exchange Compass Award and Northwestern’s Kellogg School Alumni of the Year Award, among other recognitions.