Meet Josh R.

Automotive Technical Services graduate

“The detective work that was involved in diagnosing a car. I really, really liked that aspect of it.”

The slow but inevitable transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles will take a monumental shift in our country’s infrastructure, and Josh Robin ’11 wants to make sure that transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Josh, who completed his Automotive degree in 2011, is the co-founder of Cornice Technology, a company whose mission is to help municipalities, businesses and school districts safely, effectively and efficiently make the move to electric fleets. If you think that’s a big and complicated task, you’d be right, but Josh and his partner, Kyle Buying, are making it their businesses to help.

“Working with clients and not only providing expertise but also educating them is one of our goals,” he said. “We need to provide good quality information to these groups so that they can make informed decisions.”

Cornice Technology aims to be at the forefront of this new wave of electrification, serving as consultants for a variety of industries. Their overarching goal: make sure clients get the most out of their investment in what can sometimes be a predatory business environment.

If a start-up consultancy firm seems like an odd place to find an automotive tech graduate, know that Josh, like many Hudson Valley graduates, didn’t have a traditional education path. The son of New York City high school teachers, he hopped between several colleges and ended up completing an English degree at Queens College. Writing music and working for a production company in New York City in the late 2000s, he then headed upstate to follow a passion for snowboarding. Working in a ski shop wasn’t exactly his life’s ambition so he ended up in the college’s Automotive Technology program.

“I had zero experience; had never even changed the oil in my car,” he admitted. “But I really loved the getting the oddball cars – something that had an unusual electrical problem or it was making some odd noise. The detective work that was involved in diagnosing a car. I really, really liked that aspect of it.”

After graduation, he worked for four years as a technician at Honda and then moved into service advisory positions at a few local dealerships. That progression led to management positions at several auto groups, and Josh found a niche, working on ways to improve the culture, effectiveness and efficiency of the dealerships.

After working at Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, Toyota and Honda dealerships, he decided to begin his own consultant business, helping individual dealerships, which, as he discovered, often had similar personnel and process issues. His role, he said, was a mixture of psychology and motivation, paired with his knowledge of the automotive business.

At the same time, he was having conversations with Buying, an old friend from college, and the seeds for what was to become Cornice Technology were being planted.

“I started having some very in-depth discussions with one of my oldest friends who I went to Binghamton with,” Josh said. “He was an engineer and then moved into wireless communication and 5G networks and large-scale battery networks, so he had the infrastructure side of the conversation and I had the vehicle side of the conversation. It led to me really getting deep into researching these topics and learning more, just to provide value to the conversation. I think eventually we realized there’s actually a business here.”

Josh calls Cornice Technology, which fully launched in 2021, a “new and evolving business.”

“There is a small window of experts in this field, and everyone needs an understanding of how this will affect their infrastructure and how to consider safety at every step. Because of that, our business is to be that internal advocate for those entering this field.”

Josh recently found his way back to his alma mater, after being named to the advisory board for the new Electric and Autonomous Vehicles degree program, established in 2020. With his background in the industry, he also was influential in helping the college obtain a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. That grant will help both automotive tech and electrical construction students better understand the crucial vehicle-to-grid charging systems that will be needed for the coming rollout of more electric vehicles.

“I love the automotive program here,” he said. “It is so valuable, and provided me with the best possible foundation to start my career. I’m happy to be back on campus and helping out however I can.”