Northwest Podiatric Laboratory's original and longest serving employee retires after five decades

November 21, 2013

Northwest Podiatric Laboratory's original and longest serving employee retires after five decades

Northwest Podiatric Laboratory, the leader in premium custom and OTC orthotics, is proud to honor Glen Haveman who retires after 50 years of loyal service.

When Dennis Brown, Northwest Podiatric Laboratory’s Founder and President, purchased the fledgling lab in 1964, he inherited a single employee: a hard-working, 20-year-old named Glen Haveman.

“I wasn’t too sure of Glen because he was young,” says Dennis, “but he quickly proved to be excellent.”  Dennis never imagined the important role Glen’s dedicated service would play at the lab.   

The early days of the lab weren’t easy, but Dennis and Glen worked hard and persevered through challenging times. 

Glen remembers his first years at Northwest: “We had some good times, but we worked hard. Those were lean years. Every day we had to walk to the post office to check for mail, that was how we received our work and it was a little dicey there for a while. The first month we were [at our first location in Blaine, WA], Dennis paid me, but he didn’t take anything for himself, so I have always had a lot of loyalty towards him. That made me want to work that much harder for him.”

As the lab grew and added employees, it was common to hear one employee tell another to “ask Glen.”  Even as he settled into the important role of Department Head of the Cast Grinding Department, Glen’s knowledge of the many of the detailed steps required to properly craft orthotics made him a respected leader at the lab. 

Glen appreciated the challenge the lab provided and the ability to make peoples’ lives better.  He says:“I enjoyed doing the work that we were doing because, to me, I felt like I was helping somebody, and every day was a little something different. There was always something you could learn, something you could pick up on and try to store in the memory bank, so that made it fun, and the days passed quickly.”

Ben Lange, Assistant Laboratory Manager, worked with Glen for over 30 years and displays an appreciation for Glen that’s shared by many Northwest employees, both new and old.  Ben says: “I am inspired by the people who have been here for a long time. Take Glen as an example, he is just amazing. I mean how many times has he actually called in sick in my thirty-one years? I think maybe five.

In the 11,500+ days Glen spent at Northwest Podiatric Laboratory, he witnessed first-hand how a small two-man orthotic laboratory could grow into an industry leader in technology, materials and processes. 

“Today, I’m not surprised that Northwest is the best in the world at what we do,” says Glen. “Even way back when, I knew that’s what Dennis stood for and that’s what I wanted to stand for too. It’s just evolved to where it is now, and it’s still proving to be the best.”

Glen’s proud to have been part of so many milestones during his 50 years at Northwest Podiatric Laboratory.  He looks forward to seeing the lab reach new heights, even as he begins his well-deserved retirement:

“I can’t say there was any one particular proud moment, but I do look back with pride when I think about where it was when we started and how it gradually moved forward. There were moments along the way when I remember celebrating; the first time we hit a hundred and fifty pair a month, and then three thousand, right up to what it is now. All of those moments are proud moments. I would like to see the next moment and I don’t think it’s very far away.”

Glen’s 50 years at Northwest Podiatric Laboratory not only helped a small business in the far Northwest corner of the United States to grow into an industry leader, but played an integral role in building a strong foundation that will ensure the lab grows and prospers for the next 50 years.

Glen Haveman (L) with Dennis Brown (R)

 

Thank you and congratulations, Glen!