David Gleason, former Austin Powder president and CEO, passes away

Kerry Clines

October 28, 2016

david-gleasonDavid M. Gleason, former president and CEO of Austin Powder Co., passed away on Oct.17, 2016. He joined Austin Powder in 1955 as a technical representative and worked his way up through the ranks from sales to vice president and general manager, and became president and CEO in 1965. He was instrumental in expanding the company from a small regional explosives manufacturer with 400 employees, to a 4,000-employee, worldwide manufacturing/marketing organization.

Gleason served as Chairman and board member of the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) from 1979 to 1982 where he helped reorganize the group into an effective trade organization that persuaded Congress to revise the explosives provisions of the anti-terrorism bill. He was also a member of the board and the executive committee of SAFEX, a world trade organization for the safe manufacture and transport of explosives, as well as a member of the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE), the American Mining Congress, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

As a Cleveland native, Gleason was involved with a variety of local organizations. He was a member of Cleveland Tomorrow and Cleveland Bluecoats; was a trustee and Crusade Chairman for the American Cancer Society in Cuyahoga County; a past member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO); and a former board member of the Associated Industries of Cleveland. He also founded and served as chairman of the Orange Community Recreation Commission; served as president of Orange School Boosters Association; was a member of the Village of Moreland Hills council; and was Chairman of the Planning Commission of Moreland Hills.

Gleason was active in the treatment of chemical dependency, particularly as it pertained to young people. He was trustee and president of the Regional Council on Alcoholism and founded New Directions, Inc., a secondary drug and alcohol treatment center for teenagers in Ohio. He also established the Glenwillow Foundation (Glenwillow, Ohio), an adult residence for recovering alcoholics; was a board member of the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota, the leading chemical dependency treatment center in the United States; and remained a board member of Stella Maris Cleveland, a chemical dependency treatment facility.

Gleason is survived by his wife of 65 years, Kathryn Calder Alexander; four children — Michael A. Gleason and his wife Connie and three children (Jeffrey, Regan, and Kevin), Colleen G. Hanna and three children (David, and Kathryn, & Andrew); Timothy P. Gleason and his wife Betsy Colie and two children (Jonathan and Thomas Metz), and Alexander D. “Sandy” Gleason.

A celebration of Gleason’s life was held Thursday, Oct. 27th. The family asks that those who wish make contributions in his name to New Directions, 30800 Chagrin Blvd., Pepper Pike, OH 44124; Stella Maris, 1320 Washington Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113, or The Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KA 66675.

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