For more than 40 years Bill has been an activist for political involvement working on a wide ranging set of projects. From voter registration drives to ballot initiatives; protests to public presentations. Bill is running for the office of governor to give power back to the people of Michigan in many aspects of their lives. A Gelineau administration seeks change so voters of Michigan have representation from candidates that can represent their values and interests. Bill strives for a government that can be more inclusive to minority party’s who have constituents they represent but who’s voices are largely surprised or ignored. Accountability, transparency and access where your voice matters and is heard are also core values that can only bring positive change in Lansing.
The long story:
Born in Michigan in 1959, the era when anything was possible.
His dad was originally from Colorado having served in the Navy having travelled the country during the early 30’s, he settled in Detroit. The booming “Motor City” provided opportunity. Working any number of positions in an out of the auto industry he settled into a long career with the former R.E.A. Express Agency. R.E.A Express worked out of the classic Michigan Central Depot building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Vernor Highway in Detroit.
It was there that Bill’s dad met his mother who, after spending time during WWII as a “Rosy the Riveter” working at the Firestone Tire’s plant in Riverview, began a career in both administrative and operations with R.E.A. Bill’s mother worked 15 years before choosing to remain home full-time with 3 children.
The Gelineau family bought a home in Riverview sandwiched in the downriver Detroit area between Wyandotte, Trenton, and Southgate. Bill had his fair share of ups-and-downs during his youth before graduating from Riverview Community High School. Bill had great educators like Melvin Dickson, Mary Zellner, Charles Wiesenauer and others in this successful public school providing him a direction never lost on him as he looked back. During his time in high school, he played sports, both organized and ad-hoc games with friends. Earning letters in both cross country and basketball, the “gang” included all-state performers in baseball, tennis, and football. These “superstars” of his early life challenged him to always do better and to do the most you can with your natural talents. Bill also excelled academically earning scholarships from the Michigan Competitive Math Program and the North Central Principal’s Association.
Bill first attended the University of Michigan and then Wayne State University splitting time with his passion for business and volunteer activities. He always had an interest in business having been inspired by his maternal grandfather, William D. Muddiman. William created and grew the Downriver Insurance Agency in Trenton. His grandfather passed the business down to his son (also William) – who served 26 years on the Trenton City Council.
The loss of Bill’s dad in 1978 had a profound effect and influence on his “right now” philosophy about life. His right now philosophy is what pushed him to engage in both college and community activities.
In his late teens, while still in college, Bill began his community involvement in the Riverview Jaycees, eventually serving as its youngest President at the age of 22. Jaycee projects and leadership training offered by the Jaycees created the bulwark of Bill’s drive for business success. All-the-while Bill stayed connected to community needs. Bill considers his work with Project Concern and the resulting friendship he developed to be pivotal life moments steering him in the right direction of life. It was during this time that Bill met former U.S. Jaycee President and taxpayer advocate Dick Headlee and Bill considers it one of the most enriching times of his life.
During the early 80’s, Bill served on Riverview’s Community Development Commission helping to provide City Council advice on the use of large federal block grant programs.
Like many inspired individuals, Bill was induced to leave Wayne State for the business world. At 21, he took a management position with Consolidated Foods Corp. (now Sara Lee). It was there that he began to see his path to entrepreneurship developing. While working at “Con-Foods”, Bill met his wife and soon afterwards, his first of three sons was born. The challenges of work and family like many people, took its toll. During the downturn of 1982, he sought opportunity in his dad’s native Colorado. Bill developed his career in the restaurant business, he started Sand Creek Lawn Care on the side to support his growing family.
During this challenging period, Bill stayed on course with the values and commitments he developed from Michigan. His first project in the Jaycees was helping the American Red Cross with the local blood program in Riverview. Bill worked his relationships with churches, city government, and the local schools to divide up the quarterly blood-mobile effort. Not just an organizer, Bill began a life-long commitment to the blood program that now exceeded 130 donations.
It was then that Bill made a big commitment to restaurant work. He was given the opportunity at 26 to be a General Manager for VICORP Restaurants, Inc., in the exploding Florida market. This family-style restaurant company provided what he calls a “2nd college education” in business. Working in this hands-on business often populated with short-term career staff, young folks in transition, and a fair amount of recent immigrants, NOTHING could have provided a better sense of how to work with a diverse and complicated workforce than this experience!
Meanwhile, Bill’s family life became more complicated. Like many people, marriage and family can become a complicated story. By 1986, this was very much a yours-mine-and ours family. Like a lot of fathers, Bill learned the complexities of managing two families. One with his first wife, children from a prior marriage, their kids; and a second with his second wife and children. Like anything else, these have been deep and difficult challenges. But something through which Bill and other friends like him have persevered.
Bill participated in VICORP’s strong management training and development courses. That training together with Bill taking opportunity, helped him win recognition with several nationwide awards within the Company. Challenged by his mentor, Charles (Buck) Frederickson, a Michigan native, Bill became a stand out manager for the company.
As the 80’s came to a close, Bill moved back to Michigan ostensibly to operate a former franchise Village Inn. As life would have it, things didn’t work out as planned. Another lesson in corporate manoeuvring.
Diligent, Bill found investors and started his own restaurant, The Apple Blossom Family Restaurant, in Grand Rapids, MI. His wife, kids, sister, mother, well…everyone he knew had a hand in helping get that off the ground. He spent the most of the 90’s being a great local businessman. As a local business owner he helped organize and served as the first Vice-Chairman of the South Grand Neighbourhood Business Alliance. This group worked to help maintain the integrity of the 28th Street / Division area. Being part of both Grand Rapids and Wyoming, this group never settled on an identity in a rapidly changing real estate market. After 20 years in the business, Bill decided to accept an offer on the table to sell the restaurant which he took to explore other opportunities.
1998 began a decades-long run with the largest provider of real estate information in the country; First American Corporation. Learning new aspects of real estate transactions, Bill worked in several capacities becoming a proficient title examiner, managing a processing group for several states, and eventually becoming a key support administrator for a joint-venture business group that operated in 4 states.
While the call of small business pulled Bill back in 2008, he maintained a strong business relationship with First American that has lasted to this day. First American operates as an underwriter for Bills business, the Abacus Title Agency. He and his business partners continue to grow offering new opportunities to others in the real estate information and insurance marketplace.
Over the last few decades, Bill’s family has grown as his children have married and started families of their own. A husband, father, and grandfather are things everyone recognizes as irreplaceable to him.
Bill surprises many by the energy and time committed to outside interests and community involvement.
Looking back at his life he remembers the Jaycee years when he was involved in the creation of Riverview “Run for Burns” supporting the Ann Arbor Burn Center. Through Jaycees, he helped provide basketball activities for the local ARC Network, managed Haunted Houses, organized a dance marathon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and many other activities. Those who know him and as noted, they would say the Jaycees had a profound impact on his life and viewpoints.
He has climbed several mountains on the Continental Divide – having had the opportunity when both living in Colorado for a short time and travelled extensively with his family. Together, they’ve been to 49 states, 9 Canadian provinces and 2 territories, as well as 4 foreign nations.
Bill and his family have a bunch of hobbies. Beyond an extraordinary travel history, he and his wife Donna enjoy exploring Americana having attended all kinds of unique American activities. Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania, taking a leap on a bungee into the Royal Gorge, Colorado, doing hot springs at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies; whale watching off the Grand Banks; doing the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway; camping in Yellowstone Park and the Grand Tetons, Wyoming; from Vegas to all the major sport Halls of Fame; from Beale Street to the Confederations Bridge to Prince Edward Island and, mostly, having travelled and enjoyed attractions in all 83 counties of the Great State of Michigan! Donna and Bill once did a full circumnavigation of the Great Lakes.
Closer to home, Bill and his family are members of the National Geographic Society, the Arbor Day Foundation having planted over 150 trees in the past 10 years.
As noted, not everything has been roses and joy. Bill and his family lost their oldest grandchild to a tragedy in 2005. While creating an irreplaceable hole in his heart, he and his wife Donna have committed themselves to ongoing involvement with the March of Dimesin honor of Elizabeth. To date they have raised more than $10,000 dollars on behalf of this most worthy charity. In their spare time, they work on their personal genealogy site: Welcome2theFamily.org. Together, they have identified over 3000 relatives stretching back centuries.
For more than 40 years, Bill has been an activist for political involvement working on a wide range of projects. From voter registration drives to ballot initiatives; protests to public presentations; many would find his involvements within the Libertarian Party surprising especially if they don’t know many Libertarians. For many years, the Libertarian Party of West Michigan had a section of road clean up in down town Grand Rapids making a regular commitment to environmental action.
Libertarians across the state have been involved in a wide range of activities from gun safety programs, providing volunteers to public television, roadway, and beach clean up efforts, and civic outreach particularly during Constitution Day training and awareness.
In 2003, Bill was elected as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. It was his great honor to be one of the first state party chairman of any party to oppose the Patriot Act. At the time, he was a minority voice who a wide range of both conservative and liberal thinkers have come to embrace. To this day, he is a loud advocate for due process and the protections of the 4th Amendment.
Over the years, Bill has been out front on many civil liberties issues endorsing marriage equality, presumptive joint-custody laws, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, and helping pass Medical Marijuana.
In 2016, he was given a broad mandate as Chairman of the State Party for the 2nd time. Working throughout the Spring and Summer with many others, he helped coordinate with the Johnson campaign to enhance their activities in Michigan which helped Gary Johnson secure the endorsements of both the Detroit News and the Chicago Tribune.
These activities set the stage for the Libertarian Party to become a major party for the 2018 cycle.
As the future unfolds, you can expect that Bill will be out in front as a family man, a leader in business, a contributor to community involvement, and an activist for a better Michigan. As an advocate for liberty, Bill has spoken at over 20 Michigan colleges and universities, made presentations at senior facilities, high schools, and had the good fortune to offer timely ideas to the marketplace on radio and television hundreds of times.