Rick Robinson, president of Boston-based, mattress licensing group Spring Air International, died unexpectedly of natural causes on Dec. 19. He was 60.
Robinson was a mattress industry veteran whose bedding career spanned more than three decades. In 2009, Ed Bates, chief executive officer of Spring Air International, recruited Robinson to lead efforts to re-establish the 90-year-old Spring Air brand. Bates, a former Spring Air licensee, repurchased his mattress-manufacturing plant, as well as the brand’s intellectual property.
“Because of his leadership abilities and his many innovative insights and ideas, Rick was my first choice to head the new Spring Air enterprise,” Bates said. “Not only did Rick have an extremely broad skill set, but he was also the kind of person whose energy and optimism could be felt as soon as he entered a room. He will be greatly missed.”
Before teaming up with Bates to relaunch Spring Air, Robinson served as chief marketing officer for Sydney-based A.H. Beard. Prior to that, he held a number of top executive positions at the former Spring Air corporate entity, Consolidated Bedding, and at foam bed manufacturer Nature’s Rest Marketing LLC, which later was purchased by Spring Air. Robinson spent the earliest part of his mattress industry career in corporate sales and marketing posts with Restonic and Serta. His first industry job was as a sales trainer with Serta.
J.P. LeDoux, currently a vice president with Classic Brands, said: “I’ve worked both for and with Rick over the past 18 years, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to call him my friend, my mentor and my boss. Rick came from humble beginnings, was raised by a single mother in blue-collar Youngstown, Ohio, put himself through college and worked his way up in the bedding industry. … Rick left us far too soon, but I know that my life and the lives of many others have been enriched through our association with him.”
Spring Air’s chief operating officer, Eric Spitzer, said, “I’ve known Rick for more than 20 years, and over that time we always had tremendous respect for one another. … Rick was very smart, had a keen sense of marketing and merchandising, and was ahead of the curve on perceiving consumer preferences and trends. He was a great leader and a great person to work with.”
Survivors include sons Christopher and Matthew, brother Rodney, daughter-in-law Brittany, and granddaughter Lily.
Robinson was remembered in a private family ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida. The family requested condolences in the form of cards that include a description or memory of Robinson. Cards can be mailed care of Spring Air International, 70 Everett Ave., Suite 507, Chelsea, MA 02150. They will be forwarded to the family.