It’s early summer in Atlanta, and as the temperature creeps above 90, the air hangs a little heavy. But real estate attorney Marc Douglas Glenn escaped all that, if only for a few days, when he headed to Iceland.
“As you go farther inland, mountains start rising. You start to see snowcaps,” Glenn says upon his return, after having explored the island in what he calls a “combination of a minivan and a lowrider truck, on wheels with a 4-foot diameter.”
He continues with the travelogue. “You see spontaneous lakes where the snow has melted, a deep blue color reflective of the sky. We stood on the continental divide, where the North American and Eurasian continental plates are pulling apart … I can’t put into words how incredible it is snowmobiling on top of a glacier.”
But what sounds like the perfect vacation from the Georgia heat is, in fact, an official trip: Glenn is the vice consul of Iceland.
“I’ve actually known the consul general for some time,” he says. “He recommended me to the position.”
Iceland has had an honorary consulate in Atlanta for almost 40 years now, helping Icelandic citizens living in the Southeast, and the many others passing through (thanks to Hartsfield-Jackson), with everything from absentee voting to passport renewals. “I spend a substantial amount of time representing Iceland at local events, such as Consular Corps meetings, receptions for visiting international dignitaries,” Glenn says.
This was Glenn’s first trip to the country, which put him in the unique situation of meeting his “employer,” as it were, after accepting the job. There were no regrets. “The country exceeded my lofty expectations,” he says. “I have a greater understanding of the land and the people — something that can’t be culled from a book or a brochure.”
The Icelandic government holds consular conferences every five years in Reykjavik, and this time more than 160 consuls from some 60 countries networked, caught up on the current state of affairs, met the president and — an added bonus — the current Miss World, who is from Iceland.
This isn’t Glenn’s first foray into politics. He got the bug early, as the youngest delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York. He subsequently worked on the 1993 Presidential Inaugural Committee and landed a White House internship. Then came the big honor: In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed him as a member of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.
“The atmosphere is electric,” Glenn says of Capitol Hill. “Even working on mundane issues takes on a special feeling because of the sense that what you’re working on will have an impact throughout the country. And because of the setting — working in buildings and offices and parks that are literally a part of the history of our country.”
As a real estate lawyer at Powell Goldstein, Glenn’s track record is as diverse and illustrious as his political experience. He has worked with health care companies, marketing firms and, perhaps most notably, with Arturo Moreno when his firm represented Moreno with his purchase of the Anaheim Angels in 2003.
Glenn is more than your typical sports fan — he founded the Journal of Sports and the Law while at the University of Virginia — so you’d think the Moreno deal was something of a dream come true. “I worked on the real estate side of things, which was pretty straightforward and not that sexy,” he says, laughing. “But it was still pretty amazing. Most of your clients aren’t negotiating to buy a baseball stadium. … Since I’m not talented enough to be on the field, this is probably the closest I’ll get to being in the game.”
Back on the political front, Glenn is eyeing the next presidential election to see where he can pitch in. He’s also not ruling out a candidacy of his own, although he’s not sure when that would be or for what office.
When it comes to a second Iceland trip, however, there’s no uncertainty. “I want to visit some of the beaches which have black volcanic sand, ride the famous Icelandic horses. And, of course, play midnight golf,” Glenn says, explaining that “for a period of time during the summer there is virtually no nighttime. You may remember they played the Amstel Light Midnight Open there a few years ago.”
“Definitely more snowmobiling,” he says.