If variety is the spice of life, then Robbie Walsh has led an exceedingly flavorful existence—especially when it comes to his athletic résumé. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with experience in football, wrestling, rodeo, hockey, and cross-country—even someone who, at one point, had his sights set on becoming a gym teacher.
As a kid growing up in Alaska, playing hockey was pretty much a requirement for Robbie. But when he and his family moved from the land of the midnight sun to the land of the desert sun—Wilcox, Arizona, to be exact—he traded games on the ice for matches on the mats. “It was a culture shock for sure,” he said. “In the winter time, everyone was wearing jackets, and I was wearing shorts.”
After a successful stint as a high school wrestler—he was second in his region as a senior—Robbie had the opportunity to lace up his skates once again as a student at Northern Arizona University. In addition to working on his slap shot, Robbie “studied anything and everything,” eventually settling on physical education. “I took a games class that basically involved teaching kids how to play sports, and I fell in love with that,” he said. But as fate would have it, a scheduling conflict led to a last-minute switch to NAU’s parks and recreation management program, from which he ultimately graduated.
As he reflects on the highlights of his time in Flagstaff, though, hockey, school, and even his fraternity activities as a Phi Delta Theta all pale in comparison to the moment he calls “the only cool thing that happened to me in college”: when he met his now-fiancée—and fellow WebPT rockstar—Lauren Milligan. They were both part of a group trip to Las Vegas, and Robbie had “one of those giant yard-drinks” around his neck when a pretty girl in a shiny purple jacket approached him and asked how long he thought it would take him to finish the whole thing. His response: “About an hour.”
From that brief interaction, a romance blossomed, and the rest, as Robbie said, “is history, I guess.” After graduation, Robbie and Lauren settled in the Phoenix area, where Robbie landed a job working for a local parks and recreation department. That gig didn’t last long, though. “Basically, I set up fields for sports practices and made sure the kids didn’t get hurt,” he said. “And if they did, I brought them ice packs.”
That, he said, wasn’t exactly the parks and recreation career he had dreamed of—and with the path to advancement slow and uncertain, Robbie decided to explore other job options. That’s when he stumbled upon a listing for the WebPT Support team. He applied, got the job, and started in November 2013, the day after WebPT moved into its new building in downtown Phoenix.
Robbie hit the ground running immediately, and he quickly became one of WebPT’s top Support reps. So, when a tier II position became available, he jumped at the opportunity to move up. In that role, Robbie mainly focuses on troubleshooting. “When a Support rep gets a question they can’t answer, they send it to us,” he said. “We’re like an advanced help desk within our own organization.” He also is responsible for informing the Product team of any issues that require fixes as well as testing new functionalities before any application updates go live. “It’s like a giant puzzle every day,” he said. “I love it.”
When he’s not at the office, Robbie is most likely catching some winks, playing with his dog, Mollie, or cheering on the Louisiana State Tigers or the Tennessee Titans. He also enjoys the occasional camping trip or country music concert. In fact, he proposed to Lauren at a Casey Donahew Band show—as they played a song titled “Give You a Ring.” With the couple’s wedding coming up in April, Robbie is staying busy helping Lauren with all of the final preparations for the big day.
So, while he might not have the whistle and the locker room office he envisioned years ago, Robbie is pretty satisfied with the way things have turned out so far. “I come to work happy, and I leave happy,” he said. Not having to smell sweaty gym clothes all day is just icing on the cake.
Fave Five with Robbie
- Favorite food: Pizza rolls with ranch dressing
- Favorite movie: Casablanca
- Favorite sports team: LSU Tigers
- Favorite musician: Granger Smith
- Favorite place: It’s a three-way tie for Lizard Gulch (the nickname for one of his favorite campgrounds); Nancy Lake, Alaska; and the inside of a hockey rink