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ECRM mourns passing of founder Charlie Bowlus
August 12th, 2011
SARASOTA, Fla. – Charlie Bowlus, founder and chief executive officer of ECRM, died unexpectedly yesterday following complications from surgery. He was 64.
Bowlus started ECRM (Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing Inc.) in 1994 as a new way to bring suppliers and retailers together. The company holds dozens of events every year in which industry participants meet for 20 minutes at a time in what are called Efficient Promotion Planning Sessions.
The events have become some of the most popular conferences in the industry.
In addition to developing the novel meetings format, Bowlus introduced software tools to streamline the buyer-seller process.
A graduate of Ohio State University, Bowlus spent most of his adult life in retailing. He began his career with the now-defunct drug chain Revco DS and later went on to work for Gray Drug, Target Corp., Cook-United and Boston Distributors, where he was executive vice president.
In a statement Bowlus' son, ECRM president Mitch Bowlus, said, "My father and lifelong business partner has left us, but his unshakable faith in the values of this company and the character of our people has laid for us a stronger and better foundation."
ECRM announced in June that Mitch Bowlus was named president after having served as chief financial officer. With the move, the company said Charlie Bowlus was transitioning to a greater focus on software development and humanitarian initiatives.