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Glenn Williamson

R. Glenn Williamson

Mr. Williamson has more than 30 years of entrepreneurial and executive-level experience, primarily in the financial and operational aspects of companies.

Specializing in accessing the Canadian capital markets for global investments, Mr. Williamson is Chairman of EPCOR Water USA, the largest private water utility in Arizona, a subsidiary of EPCOR Utilities, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, with operations in Canada and the U.S.  Mr. Williamson is also CEO of Nest Ventures L.L.C. with offices in Montreal and Phoenix.

Mr. Williamson is the founder and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council, a private-sector group sanctioned by the Canadian Government and the State of Arizona to work on increasing bilateral trade and foreign direct investment between Canada and Arizona. On February 10, 2014, Mr. Williamson was appointed Honorary Consul for Canada for Arizona.

He is also a “Visiting Speaker” at Thunderbird: The American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a founding board member of Arizona State University’s North American Center for Trans-Border Studies, a member of the Deans Advisory Council in the School of Global Management & Leadership at Arizona State University, and a Board Member of the International Committee of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Mr. Williamson has also been an Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, home to the 56th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, which is comprised of some 144 F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft. He is also currently a member of the Blue Blazer Squadron, a group of 56 Honorary Commanders operating under the Fighter Country Partnership.  Additionally, he sits on the Arizona District Export Council Board, a position appointed by the U.S Secretary of Commerce.

Mr. Williamson has received six coveted gold and silver National Telly Awards for executive production of non-broadcast video and film productions and is an avid skier, scuba diver, and video gamer. Mr. Williamson, who was born in Montreal and is fluent in French, is a graduate of Rothesay Collegiate Military Academy in New Brunswick, Canada.

He currently resides in Phoenix with his wife and three children and is a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada.

As a former Honorary Commander at Luke assigned to the 56th Medical Group, he explained what a great experience it was to meet and see the inner workings of an Air Force base.  “The best part was meeting all the great people in uniform and to be able to thank them all for what they do,” Glenn said.  “All the really cool toys are fun, but the bottom line is it is the people that make the Air Force work and I have never met a finer group of people in every respect.”

The Honorary Commander program is designed to promote mutual partnerships with the local community and to promote a better understanding of the important Air Force mission.

Glenn stated, “I believe the program meets its goal by informing me of the positive activities behind the fence. You now have a person that spreads the good word our men and women in the Air Force do.”

Helping to integrate your assigned squadron or group commander to the community in which they live outside the base is another goal of the program.

“When I was an Honorary Commander, I used to invite my medical group commander to functions in the greater Phoenix area specifically around his counterparts in the medical field,” Glenn said.  “This interaction helped create professional relationships between the civilian and military leaders as well as helped develop mutual assistance programs in the medical field.”

R. Glenn Williamson on Luke AFB ramp

Glenn Williamson on the flight line at Luke AFB

Glenn participated in many base tours, mission briefings, simulator flights, air shows, etc. “I would participate in everything they would let me do but one of my favorite things to do was to play “Crud,” he said.

Note: (Crud is a game played on a billiards table without the cue sticks and using only the cue ball and a striped ball. Created by the snow-crazed Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilots, Crud became an immensely popular game throughout the U.S. Air Force and most flying bases conduct Crud tournaments annually. The objective of Crud is to win a beer from your opposite number on the opposing team. A team wins its beers by killing all the members of the other team three times each. Usually, there are at least six people on each team. In a process of elimination, the last person standing is the winning team.

“I loved the time I spent in the Honorary Commander program and the people I met,” Glenn said. “I would try to give back by supporting various base programs and events financially, morally and I also helped some military members with jobs after they left the Air Force.”
Active with Fighter Country Partnership—the only community support organization for the base—Glenn stated that he loves that he gets to stay attached to the program and continue to help the men and women at Luke.

R. Glenn Williamson on Luke AFB ramp

Glenn Williamson, (left), member of the Fighter Country Partnership Blue Blazers, assists with the “Luke Wingman Day” picnic working alongside members of the “Luke Top Three” photographed with MSgt James Castillo, Superintendent of Manpower with the 56th Force Support Squadron.

Ron Sites, Executive Director of Fighter Country Partnership explained, “As Fighter Country Partnership continues its programs supporting Health & Human Services, Culture & Tradition and Mission Sustainability; we are also beginning massive new programs geared toward capital improvement and construction on Luke AFB. An undertaking like this requires individuals like Glenn at the table providing valuable resources. It is almost unfair to Glenn…he has so much passion and support for Luke AFB, he never says no to an FCP request.”

Glenn was recently recognized as one of the Most Admired Business Leaders in 2014. When asked what does true leadership mean to you? “Stepping up when something needs to be accomplished or jump-started, making the hard and unpopular decisions, and supporting and encouraging those who dare to color outside the lines,” Glenn explained.

To read more about Mr. Williamson, please see the write-up below by Colleen Westberg of Blacktie Arizona:

Name: Glenn Williamson

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Resident: Phoenix

Profession: CEO Nest Ventures, L.L.C.

Status: Married

Family: 3 children

Title: Investment Banker; Founder and CEO of the Canadian Arizona Business Council

Story by: Colleen Westberg

Glenn Williamson could be described with many titles: entrepreneur, CEO, investor, and philanthropist. But he is most proud to declare himself a family man. This dynamic but congenial businessman stepped down from vice-chairman of a public company six years ago when his wife gave birth to their twins. As he says “…for the last 6 years of my life there has been nothing more important in my life than my children and my loving wife; it is this inner circle that allows me the strength to do whatever I undertake…”

His present undertakings involve investment banking all over the world, and assisting the two regions of Canada and Arizona understand each other better through the Canada Arizona Business Council, a private-sector group sanctioned by the Canadian Government and the State of Arizona. As founder and CEO of the CABC, Glenn works on increasing bilateral trade between the two, enlarging trade to over 2.5 billion dollars this last year. Not one to think on a small scale, his next goal is to bring that amount to $5 billion!

But it was his dedication to children and family that led Glenn to be a founding member of Social Venture Partners, a non-profit organization benefiting children and education. This group used the venture capital model to support its goals, as Glenn explained: “It’s not just about writing a check- it’s investing your own personal time and talents.”

His other non-profit contributions have included sitting on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors as well as chairing the nominating committee for American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.- based river advocacy group. He was also a trustee of the Todd Thomas Foundation, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention, and has been an active advisor to the Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano, as well as worked on her campaign to become the next Governor of Arizona. In addition, Glenn has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Zoo.

This entrepreneur has a renowned record in a unique niche: taking companies public. He has a discerning eye for identifying small and medium cap firms with the ‘sizzle’ needed to be successful in the financial markets: NASDAQ, AMEX, NYSE. “For every 100 deals that cross my computer screen, there will be one standout. One that sparks my imagination,” says Williamson. Then the fun and hard work begin. Like a symphonic conductor, Williamson directs every area of the ‘company’ into a story that will translate into a strong IPO.

“Everything and I mean everything, comes under scrutiny: senior management, intellectual property, licensing, profits, accounting, public relations, revenue forecasts. Heads sometimes have to roll but by the time I am finished the stage has been set for a whiz-bang roadshow to tell the story and sell stock. Then the day of the IPO arrives. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more exciting to me than that first week of trading when a company is on the road to really financing its potential.” And “everyone wins: the founder’s vision is realized, the management team gets the resources it needs to build the vision, and the market is happy,” enthuses Williamson.

During the last four years, Glenn has been involved in over a dozen engagements ranging from designing a world-class fractional yacht ownership program in the Cayman Islands to working with a world-class film animation production company based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. From 2000 to present he has been CEO of Nest Ventures L.L.C. a private equity firm with offices in Montreal, Canada, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Glenn Williamson has been the recipient of some well-deserved awards. Recently he was made an Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, home to the 56th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, which is comprised of some 144 F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft. He has also received six gold and silver National Telly awards for executive production of non-broadcast video and film productions.

On a personal level, Glenn is an avid skier, scuba diver, and video gamer. Born in Montreal and fluent in French, Glenn is a graduate of Rothesay Collegiate Military Academy in New Brunswick, Canada. He currently resides in Phoenix with his wife and three children. During a recent conversation, Glenn proudly noted that his six-year-old twins are studying Mandarin Chinese, and was able to practice their language skills on a spring trip to Hong Kong.

Revealing something of his personal philosophy, Glenn remarked that he has “Made it and lost it four times; that’s what is fun about life- the only constant is change.” And Glenn Williamson clearly approaches life with enthusiasm, with the love and support of his family.

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