HCLA names John Robbins as Executive Director


Hamilton County Leadership Academy (HCLA) is pleased to announce the selection of entrepreneur John Robbins as its new Executive Director.

“HCLA has been developing Hamilton County’s leaders for 26 years, and we had an impressive response to our executive director search,” said Board President Jody L. Dedon. “Ultimately, John rose to the top because of his experience building strong relationships, his strategic mindset, and his visionary outlook. HCLA is poised for growth, and we look forward to working with John to advance our mission and expand our impact on the community.”

Robbins comes from a family of entrepreneurs, public servants and educators. He says he was raised to believe in the strength of community, the power of people and the importance of leading and making a difference.

“I am honored by this opportunity and humbled to lead such an incredible organization,” Robbins shared. “HCLA has demonstrated its importance to Hamilton County over its 26 year existence. I look forward to balancing the rich history and traditions of the program with a desire to drive innovation and grow HCLA in the future.”

Over the course of his career, Robbins has played key roles as both a business owner and an executive working with startups and small businesses across a diverse set of industries. Most recently, Robbins fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning and operating a touring racing series. His deep family roots in the industry led to the creation of the National Short Track Alliance (NSTA) in 2009. Late last year, his company purchased the fledgling ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour and quickly transformed it into a rising star in grassroots racing. In the first season, the Tour hosted more than 100 teams, doubled revenue, increased sponsorship by 100 percent and sanctioned a race at NASCAR’s historic Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.

Robbins’ business experience and understanding of the racing industry captured the attention of his peers and earned him the reputation as a go-to expert and valued consultant within the racing industry.

A resident of Hamilton County for nearly a decade, Robbins has built deep, meaningful connections within the community. He cares about the future of Hamilton County and has taken an active role as a civic leader, community builder, volunteer and donor. He is president of the Plum Creek Ridge Property Owners Association, and he served as vice president for The Scene, a young professional networking group at The Center for the Performing Arts. He recently was inducted into Carmel Rotary and facilitates a monthly peer group for Hamilton County business owners. Robbins has developed a strong, people-centered philosophy in his personal and professional life. In order to keep Hamilton County thriving for decades to come, he believes we must engage leaders in the community and empower them to make an impact.

“I’m a proud Hoosier to my core,” Robbins says. “I love my state and I love where I live. I’m passionate about helping make Hamilton County an amazing place to live, work and play.”

HCLA will welcome Robbins as its sixth Executive Director on Jan. 8, 2018. A graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors and high distinction from the Kelley School of Business, Robbins is a native of Anderson. He and his wife reside in Carmel.

Founded in 1991, Hamilton County Leadership Academy (HCLA) is a 10-month community leadership development program for adults who live or work in Hamilton County. Participants spend one day each month immersed in and learning about different aspects of our government, business and charitable organizations. Through its robust curriculum and study of local issues, HCLA has prepared nearly 700 graduates to assume active roles in serving our community.

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