After 28 years at AdvantageCS, Bob Thornton is retiring August 31st of this year. But while most retirees plan to take time to relax, Bob will be even busier. He may be leaving the business world, but he is jumping full-time into the non-profit arena. He will be working on partnership development and fund-raising for University Christian Outreach, a ministry serving students and young staff members at the University of Michigan. Bob and his wife, Rosemary have been supporting UCO for many years. In fact, Rosemary has worked for UCO in various capacities since they were married, 31 years ago.
And if that’s not enough, Bob will be working on his Master’s degree in Theology, one class at a time, at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
Bob began his AdvantageCS career in support and then moved into implementations where he worked on installations for more than half a dozen clients. He then moved back to a support team. (The team dubbed itself the “Data Rats,” but that name was vetoed by management as unprofessional.) Bob moved from there to what has become his favorite job: account management. He enjoys building relationships and looking for new opportunities in client organizations using “big picture” thinking.
Long-time colleague and friend Ken Nemerovski (Nemo) has this to say about Bob: “The best word I can offer to describe Bob is FAITHFUL. Here are three examples.
Between 11:00 and noon – almost every day – Bob can be found either in the Fitness Room on the Stairmaster for an individual workout … or in the Paddleball Court for the group exercise class, seemingly without exception. Bob is FAITHFUL to his exercise routine.
Every year, in January or February, we all know when winter has officially arrived. That is the day we first see Bob wearing a light windbreaker, while the rest of us have been wrapped in our Gore-Tex parkas since October. When most of us are barely surviving the cold temperatures with our teeth chattering, it is just another Minnesota day for Bob. He is FAITHFUL to his Minnesota roots.
Bob is FAITHFUL to ACS and to his clients. He can be counted on to provide follow-up to every client visit, conference call, E-mail, and meeting with the clients under his responsibility. He has made sure that his clients have been well cared for over the past __ years.”
For the past number of years, Bob has worked mostly with UK and European clients and figures he traveled overseas about 30 times. He appreciates that he has been able to visit the UK, Australia and much of northern Europe. His favorite place to visit was Oxford, England, where he says “both the city and the client (Oxford University Press) were great.”
Dan Heffernan, VP of Sales, Marketing and Product Planning, speaks highly of Bob: “I have worked with Bob for many years on dozens of activities. Many of these activities necessitated business travel, often to the other side of the Atlantic or Pacific. Bob has proven to be a man of stamina…rarely showing any sign of the exhaustion these trips can produce, and walking faster than most 25-year-olds! I have given up trying to keep up.
"Bob has a terrific sense of humor and is a real 'people person' who can connect easily with and put others at ease. He loves meeting people from new countries and always makes a point of learning some key words in their language (and using them).
"Bob has been an asset to the clients he represented. I will personally miss having Bob around as a travel buddy, a colleague, and a friend.”
A native of Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob is the oldest of seven---six boys and one girl. He attended Saint John’s University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he studied political science and German. After graduating from college, Bob got a job with an ecumenical Christian fellowship in Minneapolis. Bob then moved to Ann Arbor, the location of the group’s main center, and worked there for five years.
During his time there, Bob met his wife, Rosemary, who was also a part of the group. Marrying a Michigan girl meant that Bob put roots down in the Mitten state and the couple has lived there ever since. Bob and Rosemary have four daughters---Anna, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona; Debbie, a nurse in New Jersey; Michelle, working at a bank and hoping to get into graduate school to work on a master’s degree in speech pathology in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Rachel, who is a nurse at the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. Even though they are scattered all over the country, the entire family has managed to get together for a week’s vacation every summer since the girls were small. They usually go camping, as is the case this year when they camped in Ludington, right on the shore of Lake Michigan.
If Bob does have any spare time, he likes to do projects around the house and plans to learn all he can about landscaping and gardening. Although it’s hard to see when he will find the time, Bob says he will miss the international travel, and the many friends he has made over the years both at AdvantageCS and at clients.
We will miss you, Bob, but we wish you all the best!