Chuck Gilman founded GLA in 1984 after a successful run as CEO and principal of a 7th Avenue fashion apparel manufacturer that was both a licensee and licensor to several well-known designer names in the 70’s and early 80’s. With a keen eye for deal-making and a keen sense of which brands would be successful, Chuck put GLA on the licensing map through the representation and outbound licensing of several major fashion designers, including, among others: Tommy Hilfiger, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Mary McFadden (for an exclusive license with JC Penney before the current wave of Direct-To-Retail deals came to prominence). Always on the lookout for the next big trend, Chuck took a chance in 1984 on a little known athletic footwear company run by a little-known executive named Robert Greenberg. Over the better part of a decade, Chuck helped launch L.A. Gear into the pantheon of licensing success stories, bringing on 18 licensees during the company’s early years (1985 – 1987), and another 10 when the company peaked in the early 90’s, as their exclusive licensing agent. The licensing royalties generated by Chuck’s deals accounted for a significant portion of L.A. Gear’s profits and were an important factor in the company’s phenomenal growth from a $5 million start-up venture to a $900 million behemoth footwear company in only 6 years.
Faced with changing market dynamics in the mid to late 90’s, Chuck and his two sons decided to change the course and focus of GLA from an outbound licensing agency to an inbound licensing consultancy that exclusively represented industry-leading manufacturers (licensees) for the identification and acquisition of license rights to powerhouse brands. They haven’t looked back since. Over his 40+ years in the licensing business, Chuck has personally been involved in the negotiation of over 250 licensing deals involving some of the most well-known trademarks in a variety of industries. Chuck has also served as an expert witness, and continues to do so, in intellectual property cases and trademark evaluations involving such high-profile companies as: Adidas, Gucci, Steve Madden, Lane Bryant, Doral Resorts, etc. Today, Chuck continues to steer the ship at GLA, utilizing his rich licensing experience and highly developed strategic skills to build the company to even greater heights.
A born negotiator and deal maker since childhood, Mike is an aggressive, intelligent, and respected licensing consultant, having spearheaded and closed numerous major licensing deals for GLA since the start of his career in the mid 90’s. In his early days, Mike ushered GLA into the “Computer Age” with his technological savvy, a skill he acquired while a Presidential Academic Honors Scholar and Cum Laude graduate of the George Washington University. At this stage in his career, Mike is personally responsible for putting together over 100 deals, including the acquisition of several billion dollar plus brands for GLA’s clients (which are some of GLA’s biggest deals to date). Known in the licensing industry for his dynamic and engaging personality as well as his sharp and aggressive negotiating skills (he’s often referred to as the “pitbull”), Mike has been profiled by License! Magazine in their special “40 Under 40” issue as one of the “Licensing Leaders of Tomorrow”. It is his unwavering ability to form long-lasting relationships, uncover opportunities and consummate highly favorable deals for clients that makes him such an asset to GLA. If Chuck is the soul of GLA, Mike is the heart that keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently.
With a background in finance and a solid writing/research/communications skill set honed during his years as a Presidential Academic Honors Scholar at The George Washington University, Jarod is the COO, CFO and Chief Information Officer of GLA. Though Jarod has personally spearheaded numerous deals since he started at GLA in 1995, his perfectionistic attitude and appreciation for excellence drive many of the essential back-end functions required to keep the business running smoothly and to get deals done, including: business strategy, contract drafting, brand research, recommendation preparation, brand database construction, accounting, development of marketing materials, brand analysis, client strategy, business communications, business plan preparation, deal memo preparation, etc. Jarod is keenly aware of the interplay between research and communications and strives to meld these two skills together when representing clients. Utilizing his almost encyclopedic knowledge of brands and a well-curated brand database, Jarod is often the one responsible for best matching our clients’ needs with the right brands. Some may call Jarod the “brains” of the outfit; others call him the creative spark that initiates alliances. Most importantly, Jarod is a team player whose unique skill set is a major reason why GLA is able to function on such a high level.