Resting in his rural Bridgewater Township home/workshop on a recent August morning, Glen Castore pondered his successful career as a business owner and holder of three patents that have helped major corporations ensure the safety of their aircraft.
The clear windows of his home reflect the wildlife and prairie near his home, his passion for woodworking and the rural feel he wants the township to maintain even after he finishes his time as a township supervisor.
His chosen field
Castore is an Idaho native who attended high school in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. From there, he was accepted into the prestigious Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia. Initially a psychology student, Castore switched his major two years later to focus on mathematics.
“I liked math and I knew what I was doing,” he said.
However, Castore’s career was slightly delayed after he was drafted into the U.S. Army in September 1969 during the Vietnam War. He served two years doing artillery work, mainly within the U.S., with a six-week temporary assignment in the Vietnam Central Highlands.
Following his service, Castore moved to Chicago for seven years and proofread auto parts catalogs.
Castore’s career as a student, however, wasn’t done. He later attended Syracuse University for graduate school and completed his degree in 1981. From here, he moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he learned about screw threads and precision management. He was tasked with measuring blocks to a couple millionths of an inch and developed the tools to ensure such a precise measurement could occur.
Castore starts new company
After working at NIST for four years, Castore moved to Roseville in 1985 and worked for Honeywell before starting the Minneapolis-based business Apeiron in 1989. Within the next few years, Castore had led the securing of three patents.
A laser thread measurement system was developed in 1990 under Castore’s leadership for use with high-precision measurements of aircraft parts and thread gauges. The patents have been used by NASA, Boeing and the Canadian National Standards System.
“It was definitely satisfying to see it be used,” he said. “ I think they were impressed with it. In some places it definitely made a difference in what they could do.”
As an example, Castore cited the use of his patent by a Texas-based Army base to measure a helicopter tail rotor with a non-contact system. The format ensured there wouldn’t be a scratch that could have caused a breakdown under stress.
A software patent was completed on how to control the laser and machine, the other on the machine itself.
At the same time the patents were being developed, Castore was also raising $3.5 million for Apeiron.
Castore continues leadership role, nears retirement
In 1996, just when his company was breaking even financially, Apeiron was purchased by M&M Precision, a subsidiary of the multibillion dollar company Danaher Corp.
Selling the company was always the plan for Castore.
“It takes a lot of money to put a factory together, and Precision already had a factory,” he said.
For three years, Castore, who had a wife and two children at the time, traveled to M&M Precision’s Dayton, Ohio, location every other week, a task that proved difficult with a growing family. He then left the company and became the vice president of operations for CyberOptics, a public company valued at $50 million that made the laser sensor Castore created. There, Castore was responsibility for improving the company's profitability.
Even as he remained at the top of his field, Castore was aware of the extraordinary intelligence of many of his coworkers.
“You’re working with very sharp people doing very tangible things,” he said. “It’s not always pleasant working with smart people, but it is always interesting. Mathematics is a very competitive profession.”
“It’s a challenging profession in that way.”
Castore retires, moves south
After retiring in 2002, Castore moved east of Northfield on 74 acres of property in 2004, land now complete with pottery sheds, woods and prairie.
A few years later, Castore, after speaking out on a proposed ethanol plant in Bridgewater Township, was approached to see if he was interested in running for town supervisor.
Castore at first spent six years on the board and then five away from office. He then decided to seek reelection to the board and again became a supervisor a couple years ago. Since then, major work he has led includes evaluating the possibility of the township petitioning to incorporate as a city. Last year, Bridgewater opted to step back from that idea and sign a three-year annexation agreement with Northfield.
As a supervisor, Castore is responsible for managing the township funds, setting the levy, taking care of road maintenance, addressing natural disasters and calamities and developing Bridgewater Township’s long-term future. Castore, who hopes to serve for the next 3½ years, expects the proposed construction of the interchange at the intersection of County Road 9 and Interstate 35, in nearby Forest Township, will be a major project for Bridgewater due to the project’s potential to attract businesses to the area.
“It will have a huge effect on the southern part of our township,” he said.
Castore also expects the city of Faribault to continue growing to the north over the next decade, causing “serious annexation pressures” on Bridgewater.
Despite those looming challenges, Castore said he wants Bridgewater, a township of approximately 1,800 residents, to maintain its rural feel.
“That’s what most of the people of the township want,” he said.
Castore views his work as a supervisor as enjoyable because he can see the impact of what he does on a small scale and view the results, both good and bad. Though he sees his public service and private leadership as entirely separate endeavors, Castore said there are satisfying aspects of both positions.
“In terms of the work I had, running the operations of Cyberoptics was by far the most satisfying,” he said. “In the township, sort of engaging people in thinking about the future of the township has been the most satisfying.”
Bridgewater Township Zoning Administrator Jim Braun, who has worked with Castore over the years, recognizes Glen as someone who can calm community members when they are upset and presents the problems residents face to the board.
“He’s an excellent supervisor,” Braun said. “He’s always looking to the future as a township. He’s been excellent to work with. He worries about the township, their future, so he’s been great.
“He definitely cares. He’s Bridgewater.”