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“Brothers take on various leadership roles and responsibilities, and that certainly helps prepare one for the real world."

Phi Phi Chapter has yielded many successful alumni in various fields over the years, but this story is one we couldn’t have imagined.

In 2007, after a 25-year career working with computers, Brother Eric Robbins took the leap, transforming a long-time hobby of sailing boats and volunteering as a race officer into a second career.

The Life of a Race Management Director

Eric is certified by US Sailing as a National Race Officer, Judge, and Umpire, and now serves as the Race Management Director for Nantucket Yacht Club every summer. His primary role is to run successful sailboat racing events and programs. Along with a staff of race officials he recruits and trains, he is responsible for ensuring quality and consistency for all racers.

“During the rest of the year, I do some race management, judging, and umpiring and build my career in the sport,” Eric said, noting that most of his work is done in Greater Tampa Bay, Florida.

“This year, I helped run the world championship for the 49er class, which is an Olympic class,” he continued. “I have also run several national and North American championships for various classes.”

When he’s not busy managing races, he’s out racing as part of his own team.

“I’ve been a racer all my life,” Eric said. “I enjoy helping other people have fun in the sport, but I still race myself, mostly in Tampa Bay, on a J/42 team—that’s a 42-foot sailboat—and we participate in all the area regattas. On that team, I am the Tactician and Navigator.”

Eric is one of about 9 to 10 team members and is one of the most experienced racers. He enjoys sharing his expertise with his younger team members, mostly in their 20s and 30s.

“It’s great to work with younger participants,” Eric said. “They all learn so quickly. Our team now races all over and has even signed up to do some off-shore events, including sailing to Jamaica and Cuba."

His History with Phi Phi Chapter

Eric pledged in 1972, after hitting it off with many of the brothers and fellow recruits.

“It was a great group, the house was in a nice location, and there was a great atmosphere,” he said.

Eric values his experiences at Penn and Alpha Chi Rho. His role as social chair of Phi Phi Chapter taught him critical organization skills and budgeting.

“Brothers take on various leadership roles and responsibilities, and that certainly helps prepare one for the real world,” he said.

Today, Eric keeps in touch with Bill Latour ’76, who he sees about twice a year. “There are numerous other people from the chapter that I’d love to get back in touch with, but aside from that, everything is good.”

If you’d like to catch up with Eric, you can reach him at EricLaser@aol.com