Conversation with Rob Adkins, Starbucks

Rob Adkins, Starbucks Coffee Company

The LEED AP CDP Project Manager | Construction for the Starbucks Coffee Company talks about the magic of the band Rush, Australian Rules Football and why being in the field visiting sites is his favorite part of the job. Oh, and that time he was almost detained by Homeland Security.

What is the most cherished item in your home office?
Other than photos of my family, it is a snapshot of one of the first site development projects I ever worked on. It reminds me of just how far I have come in this field. It serves as a reminder of mistakes and lessons learned.

What is your favorite time to get things done?
In the afternoon, when things quiet down and I have completed any project visits for the day.

What is the soundtrack that plays in the background of your office?
It is going to have to be Rush for sure, but Spotify is always on. I’m also a big audible buff. Check out Jocko Wilink.

What does a typical work day look like?
Outside of Monday, which is meeting heavy, I’m on the road travelling to either active projects or in the pipeline projects. I very much enjoy being in the field and getting the info from the folks on the ground.

How are you staying connected with your team? Customers?
Microsoft Teams has been a big influence and very much helped all of us stay together. We have seen many of our trusted vendors and GCs start using it, too.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on a job site?
Well, almost being arrested by the Department of Homeland Security for improperly entering a Duty Free Storage room by accident. That was fun.

Name the band you cannot take off your playlist.
Rush

What are you binge watching right now?
I enjoy watching anything educational—currently it is a scientific series on the universe.

Thoughts on the collegiate and pro seasons—will they get to finish seasons or no?
Unfortunately no, it’s too risky. But I encourage people to watch rugby and Australian Rules Football as an alternative. Both are extremely fun to watch.

What sports have you been watching (or waiting to watch)?
I’m an avid golfer, so I have been watching when I can.

What is the coolest thing you have done since the pandemic hit?
Took the family halfway across the country in an RV from DC to the Chicago, where I’m from, to visit my Dad. It was a great experience for the entire family and one we won’t soon forget. It was filled with s’mores, grilling and adventure.

Favorite comfort food.
I’m always in search of good pizza in the DC region.

Best advice you ever received?
I’ve received great advice from all sorts of avenues in my life and people who I consider mentors, but the most salient is, “Spend time with the professionals in the trades, listen to them and get to know what they do and how hard they work.”

Biggest influence in your life?
My great grandfather who immigrated from Italy and created the bedrock for future generations. I never met him, but I have a picture on my wall that I look at daily. It reminds me of his sacrifices for his family.

What trait do you most admire?
Optimism. I always appreciate those who are optimistic, even when the odds are stacked against them.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Stay the course and never give up.

What is the first thing you are going to do when you are able to get back to some sense of normalcy?
Go on a hugging spree…

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