Robert Willison, Workhorse Group COO

Willison returns to Workhorse Group as company's COO

Feb. 19, 2019
Workhorse Group recently appointed Robert Willison as its chief operating officer.

Workhorse Group recently appointed Robert Willison as its chief operating officer.

Willison, previously the company’s director of research and development, returns to Workhorse after a short stint at Sysco as director of fleet technology. His appointment follows the recently announced promotion of Duane Hughes to Workhorse CEO.

In his former role with Workhorse, Willison was responsible for various electric vehicle programs and systems, including the company’s work with the United States Postal Service (USPS) on the Next Generation Postal Vehicle, as well as the company’s NGEN composite-body electric delivery truck. The majority of Willison’s work centered on commercialization of prototypes to production vehicles, and he has experience working with new technologies and integrating them into final-product vehicles, Workhorse said. 

“Having served as Rob’s predecessor, I am acutely aware of the demands of the COO position, as well as Workhorse’s needs for the role going forward,” Hughes said. “Having also worked closely with Rob in the past, I am convinced of his ability to get that job done. He possesses a unique blend of technical capabilities, people skills and leadership experience, all of which will serve him well in this position.

“As our company continues its transition from development phase into large-scale production, Rob and his team will be focused on our core business in last-mile delivery. More specifically, Rob’s main directive, and the chief emphasis of our company for the foreseeable future, is the manufacturing and delivery of NGEN electric delivery trucks profitably to fulfill the sizeable number of purchase orders currently making up our backlog.”

Prior to Workhorse, Willison was partner and chief technology officer at Ray Technology, and before that, he was director of international operations and new business development at PDi Communication Systems. Willison also previously held senior management positions at Hughes Aircraft and Texas Instruments.

Willison earned a BSME, MSME, and PhD in Aero-Mechanical engineering, specializing in mechanics, robotics and spacecraft design at West Virginia, where he was also a NASA Fellow. He holds a multi-engine, instrument-rated pilot certificate, and graduated from Sinclair College in Dayton OH with an Airframe and Powerplant certificate.

“I look forward to taking on another senior position at Workhorse, as well as playing a major role in its current evolution into a major production enterprise,” Willison said. “Coming into this position already with a deep understanding of Workhorse, its technological capabilities, and its customer and vendor relationships will allow me to hit the ground running. We’re going to be focused on what we do best: trucks.

“My broad industry experience has provided me with the ability to help various companies create innovative products in a reliable and high-quality manner, and at Workhorse, I plan to do the same. In the process, we hope to further our mission of transforming the future of last-mile delivery.”