Crew has always been the ultimate team sport. Football has its star quarterbacks, basketball its Michael Jordans, but even the best athletes won’t win at crew if they can’t all row in synch. So it’s no surprise that when they graduate and move on to other pursuits, there’s still a network of rowers connecting business, medicine, law and other occupations.
John Nordstrom (seated in bow) with the UW’s “coxless fours” team during his University of Washington days. He graduated in 1958.
“Crew tends to create the sort of friendships you don’t get in other sports, and that spills over after graduation into social and business relationships,” says John Wilcox, a retired executive compensation specialist who rowed for the University of Washington from 1958 to 1961 and now chairs its board of rowing stewards. Washington has always been a hive of rowers and ex-rowers. It is hard to do business here without bumping into a former Husky rower, Wilcox says. In Seattle, he says, “crew is an absolute door opener.”
“Of all the many things I did to prepare for a career as a physician and administrator, rowing has been a principal contributor,” says Dr. Paul Ramsey of UW Medicine, who rowed for Harvard from 1967 to 1971 and still gets out on his single at 5 a.m. daily. “In rowing, you quickly learn that success depends on everyone doing their role.”
Here’s a list of Seattle rowers—until the advent of Title IX, mostly men—and where they are now.
Carl Lovsted, UW ’52, retired owner Lovsted-Worthington, local insurance brokerage (1952 Olympic bronze medalist)
Chuck Alm, UW ’58, retired senior executive, Olympic Stain
Lou Gellermann, UW ’58, retired “Voice of the Dawgs” announcer
John Nordstrom, UW ’58, retired senior executive, Nordstrom
Lex Gamble, UW ’59, New York investment banker, former managing director of Smith Barney, Morgan Grenfell, and Kidder Peabody & Co.
Michael O’Byrne, UW ’61, retired executive, Paccar
John Wilcox, UW ‘61, retired executive compensation specialist
Ron Wolfkill, UW ’61, retired owner, Wolfkill Feed & Fertilizer, Monroe
George Akers, UW ’62, partner, Montgomery Purdue Blankinship & Austin
John Magnuson, UW ’62, founder, Magnuson Management Co., residential real estate management company
C. Kent Carlson, UW ‘64, partner, K&L Gates
Jon Runstad, UW ’64, founder, Wright Runstad
Dr. Paul Ramsey, Harvard ’71, CEO, UW Medicine, and dean, UW School of Medicine
Jesse Franklin, UW ’77, partner, K&L Gates
Mike Hess, UW ’78, partner, First Western Development, commercial real estate development
Ginny Gilder, Yale ‘79, co-owner, Seattle Storm (1984 Olympic silver medalist)
Tom Hull, Dartmouth ’79, telecom executive (1980 Olympic team)
Dr. Douglas Wood, Harvard ’79, chief of general thoracic surgery, UW Medical Center
Charles Clapp, UW ’81, investment banker, Boston (1982 World Championship gold medalist, 1984 Olympic silver medalist)
Jim Pugel, UW ’81, Assistant Chief of Police, city of Seattle
John Zevenbergen, UW ’81, investor (1981 World Championship bronze medalist)
Blake Nordstrom, UW ‘82, president, Nordstrom
Betsy Beard, UW ‘84, MD, pharmacist, Swedish (1984 Olympic silver medalist)
Kyle Enger, UW ’92, principal, BBI Financial
Trevor Vernon, UW ’92, owner, Vernon Publications
John Kueber, UW ’93, associate publisher, Tiger Oak Publications
Phil Henry, UW ’94, sales manager, Guidant Financial (World Championships 1997, ‘99 gold and ‘98 bronze medalist, 1999 Pan Am Games gold medalist, 2000 Olympic team alternate)