(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a series spotlighting the life-long journey of Nashville Entrepreneur Shawn Glinter, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pendant Biosciences Inc.)
“I want to be able to take these classes, so I can help my fellow student athletes,” Shawn Glinter explained to administrators at the University of Manitoba. It was his response to the experience with the volleyball player needing medical attention.
Even though he was only 15 years old, Glinter had already successfully completed several non-credit offerings when the university discovered that he was three years short of the required 18-year old threshold to enroll at the school. Told he could not take any additional classes, the youthful Canadian, like so many good entrepreneurs, refused to take “no” for a final answer.
“I waited all day in the department head’s office to talk with him,” Glinter told us, adding that the individual kept coming and going throughout the day. In late afternoon, the department head asked, “Are you still here?” When Glinter relayed his story, the academician agreed to let him enroll and to oversee his studies.
By the 11th grade, Glinter had a revenue-generating business going. It was named the Garden City Athletic Trainers Program with 60 students who had received the necessary instruction to be employed as athletic trainers along with 40 medical personnel, all focused on high schools. The group even secured work with the Canadian National Rugby Team.
By age 16, Glinter had also become certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). “I was too young to be hired, but I could be a volunteer,” he said. “I vividly remember my first call . . . a cardiac arrest victim.”
Glinter wanted to be a doctor, but he also saw becoming a Paramedic as a next important step on his journey. Because Canadians had to go to the U.S. for the training, he relocated to Grand Forks, ND. There, he eventually became part of a two-person Paramedic team that covered the vast and population thin area along the North Dakota-Minnesota “roaming the area in Ford Explorers.”
It was clearly a service that Glinter found very rewarding, but he had a higher calling, even if he did not know it at the time.
“You’re not going to make your life in North Dakota,” his supervisor told him one day. In fact, that person explained a new opportunity at George Washington (GW) University that Glinter should explore. The Washington, DC school was starting a new Emergency Medical Service (EMS) on campus. It was a new challenge for the entrepreneurially-minded Canadian.
“I got-off an airplane at Reagan National Airport wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots,” Glinter said with a laugh. “Everyone paused and looked at me.”
He arrived on campus with no resources and a somewhat antagonistic Chief of Police who did not see the need for the new EMS program that was to be an all-volunteer effort engaging students as EMTs.
“I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting into,” Glinter explained. The school did not have an ambulance or equipment, but it did have an all-important Certificate of Need. To build the program, Glinter and his team had to win over the Chief of Police, and he did so.
“Twenty-six years later, GW is nationally recognized for its campus EMS system,” he says proudly.
During his seven years in the Nation’s Capital, Glinter explored medical school, but dropped-out later, enrolled in another college, and graduated with a degree in business; became a Flight Medic; earned his Registered Nurse certification; and became a mentee of the Chief Executive Officer of National Rehabilitation Hospital and Washington Hospital Center.
“It was an incredible experience, working on everything from marketing to M&A,” Glinter says of his time as an Associate Vice President for Special Projects at the Medical Center at the Center. However, his wife was a Nashville native, and the lure of moving back home became attractive to the couple.
NEXT: The Nashville experience.