Rising to the Top
By Kimberly Kratz, Class of 2011
Bucks alumnus Glenn Bostock is the kind of person who exemplifies how a community college education can pave the path to a solid career. Today, he heads SnapCab, a company that employs 70 people and generates $15 million annually by manufacturing and outfitting elevator interiors with his patented renovation system.
Bostock knew while in high school his preference for hands-on learning over academics, so he went to the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Upper Moreland to learn carpentry. Realizing his proclivity for woodworking, in his junior year he apprenticed at Bryn Athyn Cathedral under master woodworker John Ally (who also taught at Bucks County Community College).
In 1979, Bostock enrolled at Bucks as a fine woodworking major taking advantage of the opportunity to learn the craft on brand new equipment. He took classes in business, the chemistry of wood, wood history, and (his favorite) glassblowing. He credits the numerous field trips to visit local masters with being instrumental in developing his skills. His senior project consisted of a commissioned breakfront which allowed him to get both college credit and payment for his finished product.
At 23, Bostock and two other Bucks classmates rented a barn for a business co-op where they refinished and repaired furniture. At that time, Bostock's father, a partner in an elevator maintenance company, tutored his son on the ways in which to operate an elevator during renovations where a typical re-outfit took four days. Bostock took on one renovation job a month for several years thereafter.
By 1998, Bostock had created a streamlined system that narrowed the remodel time to only one day by pre-fabricating interconnected and overlapping parts that allowed for flexibility and forgiveness in its installation. "This was kind of a throwback to one of the first classes I had at Bucks County Community College on a modular design. [Professor] Steve Ripper had us all design something that was repeatable, that interlocked with each other, and it was that idea that I used to develop my paneling system. So I think it really does come back to the help I got there."
The success of SnapCab is evident in the fact that the company now has contracts with all of the major elevator companies, and it is working with Corning® to bring Gorilla® glass (currently used on tablets and phones) to elevator walls, complete with graphics, speakers, and touchscreens.
Bostock struggled academically due in part to a learning disability and dyslexia. In retrospect, he wishes he hadn't focused quite so much on the grades he got in his classes, but rather the lessons learned. "Your primary job is to get the tools to get you through life," he said.
Today he sees that school is about learning the lessons rather than learning to be perfect. "Just know that it's a building block for your life," he said. Believing that, his suggestion is to set goals, and to focus on other people and how you can enrich their lives.