Bob Brunkow graduated in 1968 from the Murrow College of Communication at WSU.
Bob credits much of his success to his Department Chair, Robert A. Mott. Mr. Mott (always Mr. Mott) led by outstanding example and set a very high bar of expectations for his students. Mr. Mott’s expectations were generally well met by his students. Those students, sometimes referred today as “The Mott squad”, benefited greatly from lessons learned and absorbed from Mr. Mott’s unique leadership style.
Bob earned his communication degree with an emphasis in advertising and broadcast management while pursuing a 2nd major in business administration-marketing management. Upon graduation from WSU, Bob joined Pacific Northwest Bell and later AT&T. At AT&T he developed price elasticity forecasting models based on early “timeshare computer systems.”
By 1971 Bob’s entrepreneurial passion led him to start his own company. After much research, he discovered in Osaka Japan a small, evolving communications equipment company (now known as ICOM) that developed solid-state communication equipment. Since Bob had learned Morse Code and had become a HAM operator in his early teens, he decided that he and ICOM made a perfect fit! He founded the North American arm of ICOM, a manufacturer and international distributor of two-way communication and navigation equipment.
Over the next four decades, Bob’s interest in communications and its emerging technology helped ICOM become a global leader and technology innovator in the fields of amateur radio, marine, aviation, commercial radio and navigation equipment. He participated in the company going public on the Osaka market and later the Tokyo market in Japan.
While CEO of ICOM America in Bellevue he became active in community affairs especially Seafair in Seattle. In the mid-80’s he founded a signature event called the Seafair Special People’s Holiday Cruise. Annually, over 2000 developmentally disabled guests gather in early December to enjoy cruising on Lake Washington and meeting with Santa Claus. The Special People’s Holiday Cruise continues to this day. Bob served in various other capacities on the Seafair executive board for 30+ years and was Seafair President in 1989.
Following Bob’s retirement from ICOM, he remained active in the community with particular emphasis on helping entrepreneurs and inventors in starting businesses. He serves on the board and as a mentor at Northwest Innovation Resource Center in Bellingham and also assists in mentoring new businesses in Friday Harbor with the Economic Development Council.
Bob’s long-standing passion in aviation has served him well in giving back to the community. Through Angel Flight and San Juan Eagles, he volunteers as a pilot, using his aircraft to fly patients from rural to urban centers for medical treatments.
Most summers, Bob can be found cruising southeast Alaska on his vessel “Companionship”.
He has two sons Rob and Brian and two grandchildren. Currently, Bob resides in Friday Harbor, Washington with his wife Carol, his Golden Retriever “Mini” and his air-lifted/ rescue chiwawa “Lu”.