College of Sciences & Technology
Distinguished Alumnus 2013
Robert 'Bob' Brim
Bachelor Arts in Physics and Mathematics (’70)
Bob Brim graduated from Western in 1970, Cum Laude with a BA in both physics and mathematics. He has distinguished himself as a leader and innovator in his profession, as an advocate and supporter of Western within the state and region and is always willing to provide proactive support for initiatives of the college. For these reasons we are proud to present him as the College of Sciences and Technology alumnus of the Year Award.
Bob grew up in the tractor and equipment business; his father owned a Ford/ New Holland store for over 30 years. Summers and weekends were spent working in the parts department or “closing the books” for the dealership.
Upon graduation from Western Washington University, Bob went to work as a physicist for Naval Undersea Center, a research facility for the US Navy. While there he won a scholarship from the Navy to attend UCLA, where he earned a Master of Science degree in Electronic Engineering. Shortly after that, Bob left NUC to join his father and brother in the family dealership. He took on the responsibility of controller, as the company grew to several stores covering a territory from Portland, OR to the Canadian border. It was there that he began to write the software that would ultimately be the basis for founding Dealer Information Systems Corporation (DIS).
Bob and a few others founded DIS in January of 1980, and it grew quickly (with the endorsement of Ford Tractor Division). DIS was listed in the INC 500 three years in a row as one of the fastest growing private companies in the nation. Over the years, Robert has been involved in many interesting projects with the company, including the development of the software for the new Infiniti dealerships in 1989. That year also marked his earning an MBA from the University of Washington.
He has led a distinguished professional career and is a leader in his industry. He is an active member of the Technology Alliance Group (TAG) and DIS has been a consistent sponsor of their annual fundraising event, Tech Stomp, which raises funds for science and technology scholarships for students at: Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham Technical School and the Northwest Indian College.
He is an active board member of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, an advocacy organization for our local community that provides leadership in the development of public policy that affects Downtown, the waterfront, our urban environment and ensuring that Downtown's important role in the economic health of Whatcom County is widely understood. Bob is also active in Rotary and is a member of the Mt. Baker Theatre board of directors.
Bob has taken a leadership role as a member of the CST External Advancement Board in making a commitment to the development and promotional efforts for the College. He assumed the role of chair of the board in Spring of 2013. His philanthropy has funded the production of several promotional/development-oriented videos about key, stellar CST departments and initiatives. He has served as a founding board member since the board’s inception in 2009 and is a tireless advocate and ambassador for CST, our students and WWU.
Characteristic of Bob’s passion for Western and for the College of Sciences and Technology, he is always exploring opportunities for advancing our programs. He understands both our challenges and our strengths, which enables him to identify possibilities that would otherwise go unnoticed. Most recently, for example, he is pursuing on our behalf, a possible academic partnership with the FPT Technical University in Ha Noi, Vietnam. To this end he recently sponsored a visit by the Vice Chair of that institution to Western for discussing collaborations, which will very likely lead to future scholarly exchanges and academic partnerships consistent with Western’s goals for globalization.