ST. MARYS — St. Marys Memorial High School graduate Bob Gill says the guiding principle he brings to building million dollar businesses is the idea that who a company hires matters.
While that person-to-person attitude may be a reflection of his small town Ohio upbringing, Gill said companies should seek out the best for every position. Gill said he tells companies great hiring permeates the company, and makes all standards higher. That encourages people to work harder.
“It’s a sign of excellence,” Gill said. “They apply it very much in the way they do their own job.”
The strategy, among others he’s implemented while in business in Boulder, Colo., earned him a place in the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame last month — an honor earned after 52 years of business experience. It was not the first time Boulder has recognized Gill’s efforts. He won Boulder’s Esprit Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.
As a St. Marys grad, Gill said he initially eyed electronics as his path moving forward. Right after graduation, the Roughrider enlisted in the Navy and served from 1954 to 1957.
When he finished life as a sailor, he went to college and earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. He later continued his education by earning a master’s in the subject. After college, he spent 23 years working for Magnavox, eventually running a division for the company in Los Angeles.
In 1983, he graduated with an MBA from Pepperdine, which put him in the position to be recruited as president of a Boulder tech company, where he worked five years before being recruited to be CEO of another local tech company, ConferTech, which was then sold.
He created a consulting business to mentor CEOs of other companies, which he’s being doing since 1996. He currently sits on the board of directors for three companies.
“What that gives me is a lot of experience to draw upon,” Gill said. “I’ve either seen it before or done it before. I’ve even been sued before.”
One of the standout factors of Gill’s story is that many of his experiences included growth later in life. Gill continued his education in several areas, all built on an education he began in St. Marys.
“Memorial High School was a really good education,” Gill said. “I had an interest in electronics even when I was in high school.”
In the 1950s, it was less common to have a career in electronics, but Gill said he was lucky enough to have a year of electronics training from the radio and electronics club at the school. That club formed under the leadership of Mr. Brinkmeyer, who was the first to suggest he could learn electronics through a Navy position. He also turned toward service at this stage, serving on the board of a non-profit business incubator, as well as serving on boards in the field of education.
Gill said he has fond memories of St. Marys. From running the projector at the now-defunct Regency Theater, to delivering The Evening Leader on his paper route and spending time on the lake. Gill said he sometimes meets with about a dozen 1954 graduates.
“I do come back,” Gill said. “One of the things we remember fondly is a sailboat we had on the lake. If we have any time at all, we come back.”