If there’s an issue moving to the forefront of our region’s utility industry, you can bet that Robert Glidewell is in the know.
After coming from a large utility provider to join G.S. Proctor & Associates in 2017, Robert has proven to be an incredibly valuable asset to our team and to our clients — particularly in the areas of regulated utilities, competitive energy suppliers, nuclear, natural gas, solar and wind generation. He also provides clients with strategic assistance with mergers and acquisitions, as well as land use and regulation matters.
He’s a tireless advocate for our clients, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team. He understands the needs of business owners, in part, because he is one. Robert turned a boyhood fascination with airplanes into an aviation business that has been successfully operating for more than 15 years.
Read this insightful Q&A to learn what motivates Robert — on the ground and in the air.
What’s a typical day like for you at G.S. Proctor & Associates?
A typical day starts the night before. I’ll review what meetings and client calls are scheduled for the next day and prepare discussion topics and also make sure I’m up to date on any relevant national or local news that could impact the client(s).
Most of the clients I work with on a typical day are subject matters experts themselves, so I try to listen and learn from them, so that I can effectively communicate our client’s positions to elected officials and other stakeholders. I firmly believe that to be an effective lobbyist you have to thoroughly learn your client’s position and issues to be able to effectively communicate with and influence folks.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
From a legislative success standpoint, without a doubt it was the passage of the STRIDE law, which covered replacing aging utility infrastructure in a much more accelerated manner, while authorizing regulators to allow for contemporaneous cost recovery for my client and employer. That law dramatically increased public safety, stabilized utility bills to prevent rate shock, and led to the creation of hundreds, if not thousands, of new good-paying mostly union jobs in Maryland. That’s an accomplishment I’m very proud of.
While I always hope to be successful in my advocacy for a client, I don’t always have the outcome I’d like. Learning to accept a loss while maintaining friendships and the respect of lawmakers is a win in and of itself.
In your view, what makes G.S. Proctor & Associates such a successful firm?
Wow, what a great team I get to work with at G.S. Proctor. It’s a family and we treat each other like family. Each and every person I work with absolutely keeps a client-first attitude. Our diversity in background and experience allows us to meet the needs of almost any potential client; from land use, transportation, budget, energy and communications clients, we have a deep bench of experience with which to help our clients with. And we do it 24/7 for all of our clients, no matter their size.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
Isn’t it always a dream to turn your passion (or hobby) into a business? I learned to fly when I was 15 because aviation was always fascinating to me. From the planes to the airports, I just loved every aspect of it.
Fast forward through college and beginning the work phase of life, it didn’t leave much time for flying. Once things settled down, I decided I wanted to get back into flying. Airplanes don’t come cheap, and I knew there was a need for more aircraft in the commercial sector, so I decided to purchase an aircraft that I could use and was qualified to fly, but that also had a need in the commercial aircraft sector. I formed Glidewell Aviation 16 years ago to do just that.
From that first aircraft to the fleet I now operate, it went from a hobby to a full-fledged business. I supply aircraft to the flight training market and also the light freight sector. Most flight schools don’t have the capitalization to own a fleet of aircraft, so that’s where I come in and supply their aircraft on a “wet lease” basis.
It’s a lot of work keeping all those planes maintained, painted, new engines, upgrades, etc. Aviation is a growing sector, the demand for more pilots is unprecedented and there are not enough schools or aircraft to train those student pilots at a rate quickly enough to replace pilots who are retiring.
Working in the aviation world keeps me at the cutting edge of new technologies, environmental and regulatory changes, but it also makes me subject to the very frustrating supply chain issues we are facing, as well as the unprecedented levels of inflation and cost of fuel. I pay almost double per gallon what you pay at the pump to fill up your car, so you can imagine how that impacts my business. Electric-powered light aircraft are very close to emerging into the mainstream market; I plan on being first in line when they are approved and available.