A Monster Career
Denis McGlynn took over Dover International Speedway long before NASCAR became a phenomenon. Almost 40 years later, he’s still driving growth.
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Denis McGlynn’s office at Dover Downs is similar to those of other successful executives. There’s stylish furniture and a large desk where business papers are arranged neatly. Subtle artwork decorates the light gray walls and photos are scattered around the office.
One functional piece of office equipment is missing, however: a computer.
“I don’t want to get bogged down in emails,” says McGlynn, the president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “There’s so much data available on computers now that you could spend your entire time looking at the data. There’s a hole in the desk in case I want a computer. I don’t have a BlackBerry, either.”
Secretaries print out emails for McGlynn. He writes notes on the printouts, then the secretaries email his responses.
McGlynn, 63, is a tall, slender New Yorker who long ago adopted Delaware as his home state. He has worked at Dover Downs since he was discharged from the Air Force in Dover in 1972.
You’ve heard the story of the person who started in a company’s mailroom and eventually ran the place. That’s McGlynn’s story. He may be the most prominent Delawarean state residents don’t know.
“A job opened in the promotions department (at the speedway),” he recalls. “I didn’t want to go back to New York. You can get into fights and arguments three, four times on the way to work. The first time I got my butt kicked I was 4 years old, on West 51st Street, where I lived.
“When I got here—and I saw this elsewhere in the Air Force—people don’t know you, but they’ll smile at you and say hello. And the big kids will play with the little kids rather than beat them up. It’s a great place to bring up a family.”
McGlynn graduated from Pace University’s then-new Pleasantville, New York, campus in 1968 with a marketing degree. He and his wife, Louise, married before his senior year in college. Knowing he’d eventually serve in the military—these were the Vietnam years—he spent a few months as a commercial property insurance underwriter trainee after graduating. “It was so dull I couldn’t stand it,” he says.
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