Jan 29, 2018, 10:35 AM EDT
Braxston Cave (’12, football) and Trevor Robinson (’12, football) used to play alongside each other on the Notre Dame offensive line and now they’ve teamed up again in the business world. After being standouts during their Fighting Irish careers and graduating from the University, Cave and Robinson both spent time in the NFL. Cave played professionally for three seasons, while Robinson enjoyed a five-year career.
Cave and Robinson now work at Lippert Components Incorporated (LCI) in South Bend, just a few miles from their old stomping grounds at Notre Dame Stadium. They are in the business side of LCI, a leading supplier of premium components to the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing, trailer, bus, marine and heavy truck industries. Cave has been at LCI since 2016 and Trevor joined the company in 2017.
The Monogram Club recently caught up with the duo.
What’s the best part about working at the same company?
Robinson: “I always have someone who I can trust to answer questions and help me make valuable connections within the company. Braxston has been with LCI much longer than I have and has built a great network in the community so it has been invaluable to have him as a resource. Our families have been close for a long time, our kids are the same age, so it has also been great to have friends going through the same experiences that we are.”
Cave: “It’s knowing that we are speaking the same language on all aspects of life and business. There is something truly unique about working with someone who has walked in your shoes with a very similar life experience. As all former athletes can agree, we all operate differently than most because of the routines and lifestyles we all lived for such a long period of time in our lives.”
What’s been the most difficult part about transitioning from your playing career to entering the business world?
Robinson: “The schedule. In the NFL, you are always operating on a very cyclical, short-term time frame. Each week begins and ends the same as the previous week during certain phases of the year. There is the cycle of season and offseason that always dictates a lot of what you are able to do outside of work. Now in the corporate environment I am able to plan and approach work on a longer time frame. It is the first time my family and I have been able to be completely present where we are without the fear of being released and moving on a moment’s notice.”
Cave: “Adapting to a different type of daily structure and routine. For 18 years, my routine and daily structure were pretty similar. This challenged me in the beginning to restructure my own schedule and make sure that I was creating my own new routine that was going to put me in the best position possible to be successful. The atmosphere and culture at LCI has made this transition easier than most transitions because of the camaraderie and leadership that engulfs you from day one.”
What excites you most about becoming more engaged with the Monogram Club, your former teammates and fellow Monogram winners?
Robinson: “Becoming more engaged with the Monogram Club because I know there are several people that are going through, or will soon be going through, the same transition that I went through a few months ago who are looking for guidance and resources to help them be successful. I hope it will also be an opportunity to connect and network with more people from our Notre Dame family. Proximity to Notre Dame was one of the big factors in my decision to pursue a career at LCI, so I hope to be able to make meaningful connections at the University.”
Cave: “I’m excited to expand my Notre Dame network and build more meaningful relationships with fellow Notre Dame alums. There are so many successful and inspiring alums that you can surround yourself with to lean on and utilize as resources as we continue to mold ourselves into not just better business men and women, but better overall people.”
Knowing what you know now, what’s a piece of advice you would share with a younger version of yourself?
Robinson: “I think about this a lot, but I would advise a younger version of myself to be more proactive in building relationships while I was playing in college and professionally. I wish I would have taken advantage of the resources that were available at the time they were more readily available to me so that when I began to make the transition I would have been better prepared.”
Cave: “Utilize all of the Notre Dame resources from the very beginning of your Notre Dame career. Thankfully I did this my last couple years in school, but I wish I had taken full advantage of the network from the very beginning.”
What’s a memory from your time at Notre Dame – on or off the field – that you will always take with you?
Robinson: “One of my favorite memories from Notre Dame was senior week in 2012. It was a great time to be away from football and class and just enjoy the last time being together with everyone on campus. You get so used to seeing people in a specific environment, whether that’s football or the dorms or class, it was great to be able to connect with people in a different way. A lot of the relationships that I made during that week have become the lasting relationships that I took away from my time at Notre Dame.”
Cave: “Beating USC in 2012 to complete an undefeated regular season and send us to the national championship game. To see the joy and pride in the eyes of my teammates was a moment I’ll never forget.”