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Rock Star of Laboratory Medicine: David Glenn Discusses his Creative Approaches to Building Teams in the Laboratory

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

With 40 years of experience, David W. Glenn, MASCP, MLS(ASCP)CM, has a distinctive approach for directing a medical laboratory. He shares his expertise with laboratory professionals in the session “50 Ways to Lead Your Laboratory” on Nov. 2 at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting in Boston. His course will focus on how laboratory managers can accomplish more with fewer resources by developing Shared Management Work Teams to improve productivity, raise morale, and increase staff retention.*

Entering the laboratory profession by accident, Mr. Glenn has thrived because he is curious, open-minded about learning new skills, and willing to change processes for improvement. Drafted into the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, he had completed a psychology degree but embarked upon studying laboratory medicine during his four-year military tenure. To his surprise, he discovered that he loved the field.

“The Rock Star is the medical laboratory profession,” said Mr. Glenn, now a consultant and the former CEO at Pathology Services, P.C., in North Platte, Neb. “Patients always need solutions for staying healthy. Laboratory medicine plays a big role in determining how to treat them.”

He does, however, recognize the laboratory profession continuously evolves as science and technology have changed through the years. His career changed with the times. After Mr. Glenn worked as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in a hospital laboratory for a few years, a pathologist gave him the opportunity to travel with him to rural hospitals.

“He was busy with medical records and clinicians, while I helped in the laboratory,” Mr. Glenn said. “We support one another’s strengths. That’s why I wanted to become involved with ASCP because the Society understands the teamwork among pathologists and laboratory professionals.”

The team was so successful that the hospital decided they were bringing in too much business. So the pathologist and Mr. Glenn started an independent medical laboratory, expanding on the shared management strategy that had worked so well for them at rural hospitals.

As he traveled for business, Mr. Glenn learned to be a pilot, earning his license in 1980. “For eight years, I was the CEO and the chief pilot,” he said with a grin.

Outside of work, Mr. Glenn and his wife love to travel—by land in an RV—and by sea on ocean cruises particularly in the tropics. Recently, they flew by hot-air balloon for the first time. “It was totally different than being in a plane; you are at the mercy of the wind and where it wants to take you,” he said.

An avid reader, Mr. Glenn polishes off two to three books per week, especially books about science fiction or mysteries. For variety, he also re-reads books by Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. “Mark Twain was a genius with a great sense of humor and insights into human nature,” he said. That quote could also describe Mr. Glenn.

*Postscript: Mr. Glenn will bring enough chocolate and frogs for each attendee in his course at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting and will explain during the educational session how eating both items will be beneficial.