Longtime industry salesman Dennis Gelb, who most recently worked at ZoomSystems as vice president of airport location development, died suddenly earlier this month.
Gelb, 64, was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in April 1950. He grew up playing tennis, representing his province in youth tournaments across the country. Later, he owned a factory, Lamp Land in Cape Town, that manufactured lamps for Woolworth’s department stores.
After immigrating to America in 1988 with his family, he started Action Fax, which provided fax machines and communications services for travelers in airports nationwide. According to a bio on LinkedIn, he also was involved for four years in introducing Redbox to U.S. airports.
ZoomSystems CEO Jack Lawrence says Gelb was very successful in identifying and procuring airport locations for ZoomShops and then on managing those accounts.
“He gained the respect and friendship of those he worked with through his organizational skills, creative ideas and his kind and thoughtful demeanor,” Lawrence says. “He was well liked by all of us here at ZoomSystems, always finding a way to make us laugh. He will be greatly missed.”
Those views were echoed by friends involved in airport retail. Mark Rickoff worked with Gelb at ZoomSystems and knew him when he was pitching Redbox. He called Gelb “one of the good guys,” and described him as a consummate family man who remembered to balance his work and family lives, a fair and honest business person, and a consummate professional.
“If you shook his hand, you had a deal,” says Rickoff, now vice president of business development with Hudson Group. “You had his word. He lived by his word. He was a man of integrity.”
Gelb, Rickoff adds, treasured his relationships with people in the airport industry but also was someone who recognized the need for work-life balance. He was a great husband, father and grandfather, Rickoff adds.
“Our industry has lost one of the good guys,” he says. “I am devastated by this loss.”
Gelb is survived by his wife, Ada; daughter Stacey Rothberg (Mark); son, Hylton (Stephanie) and two granddaughters. Memorial donations requested to Rylan Gelb Memorial Scholarship Fund at http://www.galactosemiamidwest.com/rylan-gelb-memorial-scholarship/ by noting “Ryan Gelb Scholarship” in the comments section.
Airport Revenue News Article