Hello, I’m Glen Van Peski, and I’m excited you landed here.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
– c.s. lewis
I am a husband to my smokin’ hot wife of over 40 years, Francie, and father to two amazing men Brian and Grant, our middle son Derek having been born severely handicapped and died before he reached 20.
We live in Bend, Oregon, which is pretty much outdoor wonderland, and we enjoy all the seasons. I am an engineer, though retired from doing much actual civil engineering since 2017. An entrepreneur since an early age, I am an inveterate tinkerer and maker. I am an outside adventurer – not like some of my more accomplished friends, but I’ve done some serious trips. We have been blessed with more than we need, and being generous is important to us, in both traditional and non-traditional ways.
I was born in the Los Angeles area, and moved back to western Massachusetts when my parents divorced. I graduated from Amherst Regional High School, and rode my bicycle back to the west coast. I have a BS in Engineering from CSUN, and an MBA from National University. My engineering career spanned public and private sectors, included working for others, having my own companies, and consulting. I retired as Community and Economic Development Director from the City of Carlsbad. I am a registered civil engineer in OR, CA and NV and a licensed land surveyor in CA.
I am blessed with generally healthy genetics, and I pay attention so as not to squander the upbringing by my mother Claire, who baked all our whole wheat bread, believed kids should be outside, refused to have a TV in the house, and grew organic vegetables before that was even a thing. I haven’t been to a gym in decades, but endeavor to get outside every day. I eat a ‘plant-forward’ diet, close to ‘vegan + cheese’, steering away from processed foods.
I am a Jesus-follower, but have a long way to go towards Jesus’ commandment in John 13:34 that I love those around me as Christ loved me. Humility comes easily for me, both because of the comparison to Christ, but also because of all the incredibly amazingly talented people I know and count as friends. I’m wired for work, so am always busy on various projects, but I like to have some margin, and remain alert for things that God brings across my path.
Even as a confirmed introvert, I actually do enjoy meeting new people, and figuring out if God put us together so I can help them, or so they can teach me something I need to learn (and I often find it’s a little of both). Though I don’t dwell on it, there’s been incredible hardship and suffering along the way, which helps me empathize some with others. I shake my head in wonder at how I’ve been blessed, and work every day to be a blessing to others.
• Glen received an Honors Student designation on his Oregon Foodhandlers Certificate.
• Only 4 people alive know what Glen’s trail name of G-Squared stands for.
• Glen roasts his own coffee at home in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop.
• Glen bakes all their bread, making fresh sourdough every 3-5 days when in town.
• Glen once rode from California to Utah in the covered back of a pickup with two young adult male African lions.
• Glen walked away from a small plane crash, at night, that killed the pilot.
• Glen has spent the night with his wife Francie in three different convents.
• In 1976 after graduating high school, Glen rode a bicycle 4200 miles from Massachusetts to California.
• Glen has a pilot’s license.
• Glen has a lot of family in South Africa, where his mom was born.
Companies I am involved with
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
— Paulo Coelho
Gossamer Gear – I founded Gossamer Gear in 1998 from making gear for myself. That story has been told in many podcasts, and will be included in the book. I still own 25% of the company, serve as Managing Director/Founder and corporate Secretary, and am actively involved in gear design, vision and strategy, and board management.
Travel Ledge – My buddy Mike Bell travels a LOT for business, and came up with an incredible idea to turn your roller bag into a portable desk or gameboard. He described the idea to my dad and I, my dad saw how it should be designed, and I sewed a couple of prototypes. I told Mike he didn’t owe me anything, I was happy to help, but he insisted on making me part owner, so I’m still involved.
Sparrow Bakery – This story will be in the book, but if you’ve been to Bend, you know Sparrow Bakery, and you’ve probably had one of their famous Ocean Rolls. I work part time (very part time) as a dishwasher, filling in once or twice a month when needed. More than one person has said that this story alone will make the book worth buying…
Bluffworks – I love adventure travel, and see no reason to pack more than necessary even if I don’t have to actually carry it. Bluffworks makes amazing clothes that you can wash in hotel sinks, have anti-stink and anti-wrinkle properties, feel great and look good. Since I’m a customer, when the opportunity to invest in the company came up, I jumped at it.
Food for the Sole – This amazing vegan backpacking food company had trouble scaling, and because I had lent them money, I ended up with the intellectual property, including the recipes. I’m currently researching to find a way that these great meals can again be available to the public.
Love Life! – John Mackey’s latest venture is an evidence-based lifestyle company that marries culinary, healthcare and wellness, based in Austin, Texas. It plans to open a chain of plant-based restaurants and health centers under the Love Life! brand. Since John invested in Gossamer Gear when it needed it, and he’s really really good at what he does, I welcomed the opportunity to invest in his new startup.
Ember Mug – okay, I don’t actually have any investment in this company, but I should. I have given away dozens of these mugs, to people who share my enthusiasm for hot beverages, usually coffee. If you haven’t heard of the Ember mug, check it out, they are amazing.
Some of Glens Interests
I always have more things I’m interested in than I have time to pursue, even though being technically ‘retired’. I have a very long,
and growing, list of things I’m curious about and would like to explore, but for now, these are some of the main interests I’m pursuing.
I bake all our own bread. My starter is named C.J. for Corneles Johannes van Peski, my grandfather who was a European-trained chef. My mom baked all our bread growing up. Now, my dad, brother and son Grant all bake bread, so it’s definitely in the family.
I like coffee that’s strong and dark. I roast my own, courtesy of a zero day that Anish spent at our home on her calendar year triple crown, when she told me about the Ethiopian Method of home roasting.
Our Winnebago Revel “Wally” is a great compromise for Francie and I. It’s an opportunity to spend quality time together, and we’re often in the wilderness, which I like, but not sleeping on the ground or going for weeks without showers, which Francie appreciates.
Leadership has always fascinated me, and while I don’t seek those roles, I seem to sometimes end up in positions of leadership in life. I still find Leadership books and blogs interesting, even though my opportunities to practice leadership have changed.
Homelessness / Addiction / Obesity
these are not areas I’ve personally experienced but seem to be, along with mental health, some of the persistent problems facing us today. I don’t have any answers, but it’s something I’m curious about.
I’ve always loved languages, even though I have no special talent for them. I took Latin and Greek in high school along with French. I’m currently using Duolingo to work (slowly) every day, on Italian, French and German.
I love the business of business. The business of creating a product or service, finding customers, keeping customers happy, growing the business so you can serve more customers, providing good jobs for people. I appreciate people who are doing ‘business’ well.
DUH. I like backpacking, bike packing, kayaking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain/gravel bike riding, SUP’ing, running ultramarathons, walking.
I’ve been invited on a couple of trips in Europe that include walking all day, and staying in a hut, or lodge or nice hotel for the night, with luggage transferred between most stops. While I much prefer to sleep on the ground and cook in a beer can pot hunched on a log or rock, this mode of travel is a nice alternative.