Coinkedinks (Co-ink-e-dinks)

By Lyle Hill

The odds are against them. They are unexpected and always come as a surprise … if not a total shock. And it seems as the years go by, the more frequently you encounter them. Some call it karma; others call it luck or a twist of fate. Still, others may refer to it as divine intervention. When they were very young, my two beautiful daughters referred to these things as co-inke-dinks, so that’s what I also call them. But regardless of how you label them, they happen, and I have concluded that the longer you live, the more often you will encounter them.

Last week, I spoke at a business school event at my alma matter, Olivet Nazarene University. After my presentation, I was invited to attend a luncheon for the event speakers and staff. The luncheon was held in the upper level of the school’s student center, with probably 80-100 people in attendance. Seating was open, and the food and beverages were served buffet style. I had walked over to the center with an old friend, the school’s executive director of development, John Mongerson. As we worked our way through the buffet line, we noticed very few seats still available, so we took the first two together that we saw. As we sat down, the gentleman to my left looked at my name tag and mentioned that my name was familiar to him, but he wasn’t sure why. This person was not wearing a name tag. As I looked at him, he seemed vaguely familiar, and I told him so and asked his name. When he told me it was Roy Quanstrom, I instantly knew who he was and when I had last interacted with him. You see, 56 years ago, Mr. Quanstrom was my finite math professor. I remembered him and he remembered me. We talked for quite a while and exchanged email addresses. I told him I had been looking for him for decades because he had given me a B in his class, though I was sure I deserved an A. He told me he would figure out a way to fix his mistake. I told him I appreciated this because, after all, it was a stain on my permanent record.

I enjoyed the chance encounter, but I have no doubt that had we not sat next to each other, we would not have reconnected or talked at all. For the past seven days I have pondered this and many other unique and surprise encounters that have come my way over the years. The now retired Quanstrom was an excellent professor, and I enjoyed his class … even though I should have had an A, but not important by any means. I get to the campus
about once a year at most, and this chance meeting and how it came about amazed me. I am so glad it happened.

As long as we are on unusual encounters, I want to thank Don Keller for the incredibly good caramel corn shipment I received a few days ago. When I met Keller about 20 years ago, he was in the window business. He came into our shop looking for help with a project he was working on to honor fallen war veterans from his hometown, Grand Ledge, Mich. I had never met him previously. We have never done any business together. The project he was working on was a labor of love, and he was taking no payment for his efforts. We did as he requested and asked for no payment. We were honored to help. Since then, every year, I get a delivery from Mr. Keller… a box of this incredible homemade caramel corn. It’s not necessary that Don do this, and I guess that’s what makes it so special. Thanks, Don.

In the last seven days, I have had either email or phone exchanges with Jerry Grossberg, Jim Ricci, Glen Greenberg, Mike Mann, Clay Belongia and Jim Beckman. In each case, I met these people through what I would term a co-ink-e-dink event or encounter—in a couple of cases, over 50 years ago. I have come to appreciate the co-inke-dinks of life … more than I can say.

On another somewhat different note, I want to publicly congratulate the Key Media and Research team for their recent recognition at the annual ASBPE Awards presentations, the Azbees. The Azbees recognize excellence in business publications. Key has long been recognized for their work at these annual competitions, and this year was no exception. Winners were Dawn Campbell, silver medalist for Best Magazine Cover—Photo
(USGlass), Saundra Hutchison, silver medalist for Best Opening Spread (DWM) and bronze medalist for Best Opening Spread (USGlass), and the USGlass editorial team, gold medalist for single topic coverage by a team for the USGlass Women in Glass special section.

I have long been impressed with the talent at Key Media and Research and feel honored to work with them. Perhaps, life’s biggest co-ink-e-dink of all for me.

Lyle R. Hill is president of®, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 50 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.