40 under 40 profile: Robbie York (ABJ ’05)

40 under 40 profile: Robbie York (ABJ ’05)

September 10, 2019

Grady College is proud to have four alumni recognized as 2019 40 under 40 honorees, presented by the University of Georgia Alumni Association.

The 40 under 40 celebration, recognizing the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates under the age of 40, takes place Sept. 13.

This interview Robbie York, the owner of American Whiskey in New York City, is one of a series of conversations with Grady’s honorees this year. Other interviews include:

Brooke Beach (ABJ ’11)

Ashley Callahan (ABJ ’04)

Will Carr (ABJ ’06)

Grady College: What does this recognition as a 40 under 40 awardee mean to you?

Robbie York: “Being awarded 40 under 40 is a reflection of the UGA community that I helped build in New York, and it in turn helped me grow and prosper. The honor of being recognized for not only a personal accomplishment, but also for helping to building something greater than you is, by far, one of the most gratifying things that I have ever been awarded.”

GC: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

RY: “The hands-on approach that the majority of my professors gave me during my time there was really the difference. Going from core classes into specific major courses, all students need to feel that they are getting meaningful information from professors who have had real world experience, along with keeping a pulse on what are the trends in the industry. Although I did not pursue a career in PR journalism, I sharpened the greatest skill that Grady College could give me – the skill of communication.”

GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?

RY: “Resourcefulness, kindness, and survival. Moving to and living in New York City on your own is a very daunting task. Surviving there can be even harder. It is true that New York can be a very difficult place to live, and only the strong survive. But the traits of resourcefulness, kindness, and survival  were truly the skills that have help me establish myself over the last 13 years in the City that Never Sleeps.”

GC: What motivates you?

RY: “Motivation for me is people. Every experience and interaction I have with people who visit American Whiskey from Georgia or UGA alums, is rewarding. When I get to say hello and speak with new people as to who they are, and why they came to see us, it means the world to me. Every story is unique, but they all have one tie that binds, the University of Georgia. In addition, there are so many visitors who attend UGA events at American Whiskey that never attended UGA or have even set foot on the campus. They sense an aura of what we call, “magic”. The “magic” is the spirit and pride of UGA that is inside all of the alumni and game watch community, near and far.”

GC: What advice do you have for today’s young professionals?

RY: “If you learn all the positions on the baseball field, you’ll never lose your spot on the team. The professional world today is very challenging, and you have to be willing to adapt. Never settle for just one skill. Keep learning new skills constantly. Volunteer for new opportunities and admit that you may not be a master of the new skill, but you are willing to give 100% in figuring it out and thriving in it, if it will help the team. This is one way, in today’s job market, to make yourself valuable at all times.”

GC: What do you miss the most about being at UGA?

RY: “The beautiful campus and football games”