February 1, 2012

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Robert Workman

Zero Apathy, Zero Boundaries

Amy K. Stewart

February 1, 2012

Robert Workman’s ideas just keep growing and growing.

            As the president and founder of TIFIE Humanitarian (Teaching Individuals and Families Independence Through Enterprise), Workman hopes to instruct people in third world countries on how to be self-sustaining.

            Workman founded GOAL ZERO, a renewable energy company for outdoor lifestyles, which delivers dependable, socially responsible and eco-friendly devices that power—and empower—people around the world.

            He established TIFIE Humanitarian to supply and teach the use of renewable solar energy technologies to underserved communities globally. “The need is there but the solution isn’t that far off either,” he says.

            TIFIE Humanitarian is a Utah-based international organization that is pioneering a new approach to charitable efforts in Africa and the South Pacific. TIFIE has established thriving agricultural development farms, medical initiatives and business entities, as well as successful distribution, transportation and construction services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Western Samoa.

            “The ‘zero’ in GOAL ZERO stands for zero apathy, zero regrets and zero boundaries, as well as empowering people—which is the heartbeat of TIFIE,” he says.

            In 2007, Workman was recognized as Humanitarian of the Year by ASCEND, a Humanitarian Alliance. A philanthropic ethic was instilled in Workman as a child. “I was taught, at a very young age, you give back,” he says.

            Workman grew up in a farming community in Lovell, Wyo. He recalls, at age 5, seeing a man eating a bowl of bread, sugar and milk. The man, teasing Workman, said that was all he could afford to eat.

            The idea of someone not having enough food touched the young boy’s heart and stuck with him throughout his life. “I told my mother, ‘This isn’t right. We need to find this man some food,’” he says.

            But rather than go into a foreign country and simply donate food, why not give the people the skills and equipment to become self-sustaining?

            “Life takes you one step at a time,” Workman says. “If we listen with our hearts and react to the opportunities and circumstances and make a decision and do it—the next step opens up to us.”

            Workman took over Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. in 1976 and was instrumental in building and growing the company.

            He and his wife, Angé, have eight children. They live in Morgan where they enjoy opening up their 825-acre farm to youth organizations to learn about nature.

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