Remembering Arch Lustberg
Memorable and Likeable, Communicator Touched Lives of Many State Leaders
Arch Lustberg ended many of his presentations with a quote—“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”
Lustberg involved many state leaders throughout his long career and left them with a better understanding of the art of communications. Following his Feb. 8 death from respiratory failure at age 87, The Council of State Governments Executive Director/CEO David Adkins said Lustberg’s involvement in the lives of so many was much more than an education.
“Because he involved CSG in so much of his work, we will always understand the profound difference he made for the many leaders whose lives he touched through CSG,” Adkins said.
Lustberg was a regular presenter at the CSG Toll Fellows program, as well as the leadership programs offered through the CSG regions. Adkins presented Lustberg with the first Distinguished Service to the States award—CSG’s highest honor—in 2010 in New York City.
“He was a most deserving recipient and the standing ovation on that occasion was sustained and heartfelt,” Adkins said.
Among those Lustberg touched Brian Selander, former chief strategy officer for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, now executive vice president for The Whistle, a sports and entertainment network.
“When you teach someone how to speak, you also help shape how they think,” Selander said. “Arch taught thousands of public officials how to communicate with more passion, more purpose and more certainty. Those values made more bold the policies these leaders were crafting—not just the language they used to describe them when done.”
Lustberg was recognized as the leading trainer in effective communication. He established his own training company in 1984 and coached governors, congressional leaders, presidential appointees, and leaders in business and industry, as well as many state officials.
That experience made him a must-have speaker for many state leadership programs.
“Arch was a cornerstone of the BILLD program,” said CSG Midwest Director Mike McCabe. “He was an expert communicator, but also a gifted teacher and a born entertainer. He commanded the room like few others and he was, for many of the 600 legislators who had the privilege of learning from him at BILLD, the person they most remembered.”
BILLD is the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership, CSG Midwest’s leadership academy, which is held each year in Madison, Wis.
Laura Tomaka, who coordinates the BILLD program, said Lustberg was exactly what he taught others to be—memorable and likeable.
“His legacy will carry on in the hundreds of BILLD alumni who continue to put his training into practice long after the time they spent with him in Madison,” she said.
The same can be said of Toll Fellows program alumni.
Adkins, who first heard Lustberg when he was a Toll Fellow in 1993 as a Kansas state representative, said Toll Fellows continued to give Lustberg high marks even as his health declined.
“He loved to perform and his spirit always remained strong,” Adkins said.
Adkins, who became CSG’s executive director in 2009, regularly sought out Lustberg when he was on the agenda. He recalls a chance meeting during CSG’s annual meeting on a cold and blustery day in Quebec City several years ago.
“He was the embodiment of all he taught,” Adkins said. “He spoke with an open face, he loved his audience, whether one or hundreds, and he knew all the tricks for likability.
“There will never be another Arch.”
Funeral services for Lustberg were held Feb. 16 in Tenafly, N.J. He is survived by his bride of 61 years, Jean Anne, three children, Larry, Leigh and Lori; and three grandsons.