Glenn W. Bostrom
March 5, 1914 – September 30, 2010
Glenn W. Bostrom, our founder, our friend, and our beacon passed away September 30, 2010 in Glenview, IL leaving behind a legacy of leadership, innovation, and passion in the Association Management Company (AMC) industry.
Glenn Bostrom was born March 5, 1914 in Vinton, Iowa……education here…..family here…………he served honorably in WWII in Italy and South Africa. He met his wife, Clyde, during the war and they had two children, Robert and Karin. Glenn was the dear grandfather of four grandchildren: Kimberly, Kevin, William, and Melissa and proud great-grandfather of six.
In 1949, Glenn resigned from the salt division of General Foods when several of his clients in the water-treatment industry asked him to serve as executive director of their new trade association, the National Association of Soft Water Service (now the Water Quality Association). After four years with the association, Glenn moved into the industry, working for water-treatment and manufacturing companies in California and the Midwest. Based on his industry and nonprofit experience, Glenn came to believe that managing multiple associations made the most business sense. And in 1965, with more than 25 years of association and community service experience, Glenn purchased and renamed a Chicago-based association management company, known today as Bostrom.
Glenn brought his expertise to Bostrom and created significant change in the association management company industry. Most notable of his work was that of his unique, multiple management approach that tied all functions to a unified accounting code. The system has been integrated into a new infrastructure and is still used today.
Glenn always believed his people were his greatest asset and continual professional growth should always be pursued – “grow or go” he’d say many times to his team and something he himself lived by his entire lift. A member of ASAE since 1949 – when it was still known as American Trade Association Executives – he gave Bostrom employees an annual education allowance as encouragement to stay on top of industry trends and earn the CAE designation – a practice still held today at Bostrom.
Glenn has received numerous accolades for his service in the industry, in particular the ASAE Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 1995 and the AMC Institute (AMCi) Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2004. In addition, AMCi regularly presents an award named The Glenn W. Bostrom Award for Service, Quality and Excellence, an honor to his professional and lasting contributions to association management.
Glenn’s passion for the association industry emerged through his unending devotion to his employees, and the trade group dedicated to making association management companies succeed. He was a determined competitor in the market but always encouraged AMCs to share best practices in serving associations. He was always open to sharing his experience with other AMCs and believed that when all players in a market collaborated, it became a better market as a whole.
In 1995, when interviewed for an ASAE article regarding his Lifetime Achievement Award,Glenn was quoted about association management saying, “It’s an excellent opportunity for those who can both handle details and know how to delegate. There’s no other place where you can find a job so rewarding. If we do our jobs well, every professional is a better professional and every company is a better company.”
In his “retirement” Glenn founded and served as president of the Success Institute that was a service company supplying a cadre of speakers and materials based on a philosophy of growth that emphasizes that age should not be stereotyped as “too old” to grow and be productive.
Glenn remained an active Board member of Bostrom up until his passing. In July, ASAE featured Glenn and Bostrom’s president, Randy Lindner, as the feature cover article on mentoring relationships. Glenn and Randy have been mentor-mentee for more than 30 years in the association industry. In the article Glenn said that mentoring helped him see that wealth is not only measured in dollars; his mentoring relationships have made it easy for him to feel wealthy. He also said that his parents were his mentors too, and that they taught him the importance of being the best that he could be and that if he couldn’t help someone, he shouldn’t hurt them.
In addition to his years of work in the industry, Glenn contributed greatly to community and charitable organizations such as Rotary International, Roosevelt University, Cornell College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Lion’s Club and the Masons.
“Glenn enriched all our lives and taught us to work hard to enrich the lives of others by furthering the mission of the organizations that we served. He always said that the AMC model was one of the few career opportunities that provided the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others in some small way every day. We will miss our friend and mentor, ” said Randy Lindner, president of Bostrom.