Our Industry Lost One of Its Quiet Giants

August 13, 2015 — On June 30, 2015, Lee Hendrickson, passed away and took part of APMP’s heart with him.

Lee Hendrickson
Lee at this year’s APMP Bid & Proposal Con

For thousands of APMP members who knew him, Lee’s passing really hurt.  It’s the kind of hurt that lingers and thuds against your heart.  For those who never got a chance to be close to Lee, this blog post is for you. It’s an introduction to a man who was always there, but had no need to let you know. Lee was a rock to APMP and a foundation to many people in our industry who had the chance to know him.

He was a champion to everything that had anything to do with the proposal industry.  He spent nearly 20 years directly involved in planning, writing, preparing and managing proposals.  Like many of you, Lee fell into the industry.  Armed with an Engineering degree from Long Beach State University, he used his education to work on procurement for large and complex computer systems and then later, joined our side to manage the proposals to win the work.

Lee was the kind of person who quietly went all in.  For example, he was APMP certified at the Professional level – APMP’s highest possible certification rank.  In 2011 he was named an APMP Fellow, an APMP honor reserved for industry professionals who have gone above and beyond service to the industry.  Lee was elected to the APMP Board of Directors in 2013-2014 and received the highest number of votes of any Board member before or since. He created the Pacific Northwest Chapter of APMP and served on APMP’s Chapter Liaison Committee.

In short, Lee quietly did big things at APMP.  He was the first to raise his hand to volunteer and did not expect any recognition for his efforts and that earned him an enormous amount of respect in the industry.  He was a doer and never expected anything for all the time invested.

I used Lee as an example (and still will) at every new APMP Board Orientation meeting.  When invariably asked what makes a good APMP Board member, I would/will say “Be like Lee” and explain how “he is the first to volunteer and the first to know when an assignment is over so he can ready for the next opportunity to serve.”

When we got word that Lee passed away, there was a collective sadness among APMP members.  It is a punch that still aches today. There would be no more conversations with the one APMP member we all seemed to turn to for advice, direction and opinion.  His APMP reach is literally to all parts of the world.  Lee would tell me frequently that our growth opportunity was abroad and advocated for international expansion.  He would say that the best way to get US membership growing again was for our chapters to see how well we were growing internationally.  And, as usual, he was right.  I don’t know if any international chapter members are even aware at how much influence Lee exerted to grow abroad.  But then again, how would they?  It wasn’t in Lee’s nature to let them know.

As much as I knew about Lee through his work at APMP, his commitment to the industry, his unflinching desire to quietly serve, it wasn’t until he passed away that I realized how little I knew about him personally.  His wife of 32 years, Marcie Rosenzweig, filled me in and I wanted to share with everyone the side of Lee that many of us did not know.

Instruments-5
Lee could play just about any instrument with strings — his collection

I didn’t know that he was a former member of the Sacramento Symphony Chorus with a rich baritone voice and a 3-octave range – although with that beautiful voice, I am not surprised.  I was not aware that he played almost any instrument with strings including guitars, dobros, mandolins, lutes, banjos, autoharps and ukuleles.  I didn’t know that while living in Los Angeles, he participated in Community Theater, even winning an award for best lead actor for his role as Cliff in Cabaret at the Westchester Playhouse.

When told that he converted his passion for Ham radio into a technical exploration by making substantial contributions to the Cactus Intertie System, I was surprised.  I had no idea, that along with APMP member Jack Dean, Lee was one of the very first to pioneer the use of desktop publishing into proposals which is the very backbone of the industry today. I didn’t know that his storytelling, talent for mimicry and jokes were legendary among his friends or that he was an organic farmer.  I didn’t know that Lee was known affectionately known among family and friends as an “animal whisperer” for adopting dogs or cats that others didn’t want.

Marcie told me that Lee was so very proud of his affiliation with APMP and although he was not terribly sentimental, he saved the badges to each of his last five APMP Bid & Proposal Cons. He saved them because they meant something to him, just like our interactions with him meant so much to us.

M & L early years 1
Marcie and Lee — the early years

Lee’s APMP legacy will live on forever.  The programs he suggested and voted on as a Board member are alive and thriving today.  His quiet demeanor, yet his love for everyone around him won’t be forgotten.

In closing, I remember Lee’s Board orientation meeting in January 2013 in Northern Virginia.  The room was buzzing with new Board members and I went over to Lee first and leaned down where he was sitting and told him “Lee, we are so lucky to have you as a Board member.  You are someone who will really make this Board meaningful and will help transform it.”  He seemed genuinely humbled and surprised by the comment because I am not sure Lee ever saw himself among our industry’s best, but he surely was.  Lee taught me a lot about humility.

Lee will have a life celebration filled with industry and personal friends on August 22, 2015 in McMinnville, Oregon.  If you would like more information about attending, please contact Marcie at  full-circle@comcast.net.

If you would like to donate to a beloved charity in Lee’s name, you can contact Homeward Bound Pets, 10601 SE Loop Road, McMinnville, OR  97128, and 503-472-0341.  APMP is contributing to Homeward Bound Pets and we hope you do too.

Goodbye, Lee and your industry collectively says thank you for who you were and everything you did for all of us.

One thought on “Our Industry Lost One of Its Quiet Giants

  1. Thanks, Rick. Lee was indeed “Passionate About Proposals” as a button he had in his closet said. He truly enjoyed his time on the APMP board and his ability as a fellow to contribute to mentoring the next generation of proposal professionals.

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