GlobeRunner: Dick Kreidel, Entrepreneur, Pilot, and Manufacturing Executive

By Eva Leonard on 7 February 2012
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It isn’t every frequent flyer who can say that he built his own plane. But Dick Kreidel can.

“In 1983 I built a LongEZ experimental aircraft that I keep in Southern California, and that I continue to fly,” says Kreidel, adding, “I also own an Aviat A1-C Husky that remains at my home in Montana for flying into remote backcountry areas in Montana and Idaho.”

It’s not surprising then, that Kreidel’s career reflects his talent for making things and putting them together.

In 2006, Kreidel sold his door-hardware business to the world’s largest door and door-hardware company, the Swedish manufacturer, Assa Abloy. He now works for Assa Abloy in industry and government affairs and also helps integrate new acquisitions into the company.

“I’m a manufacturing guy. I’ve worked in, run, and owned manufacturing companies, including starting a joint venture in Shenzhen, China in 1993,” says Kreidel. “I’m making it my mission to help small domestic manufacturing companies re-capture work that has gone offshore.”

In the process of doing so, he finds himself flying to both Europe (London and Munich), and to Asia (Taipei and Hong Kong) five times a year, as well as making numerous domestic business trips. He also travels between his home on a lake in Northwest Montana, where he lives in the spring and summer, and Southern California, which he calls home in the fall and winter.

All that travel has made Kreidel Premier 1K (the airline’s top level) on United Airlines and given him AAdvantage Gold status with American Airlines.  Or as he describes it, “United Airlines two million-miler butt-in-seat, but in the new 2012 United/Continental program it will be over three million miles.” His favorite airline: Cathay Pacific.

Internationally, the cities he most enjoys visiting are Shanghai, China and Kinsale, Ireland, and domestically, he favors Chicago. Although his favorite airport is the sizable Hong Kong International, Kreidel is very fond of Kalispell, Montana’s small airport, also known as Glacier Park International (FCA).

MOST MEMORABLE TRIP

Kreidel describes “a week spent on a very small boat on the Li River, near Guilin, China” as his most memorable travel experience so far.

“I was traveling with Taiwanese business colleagues, and it was their suggestion that we spend time on the Li River to relax and formulate strategies for advancing our joint venture.

We slowly traveled the river, stopping in small villages to eat dinner and occasionally sleep, although most meals were prepared on the boat, and we spent several nights onboard. The boat’s bunks were primitive and not designed for 6’2” Americans!

Fishing was interesting, as we carried several cormorants that were tethered to the boat and had ropes around their necks to keep them from swallowing the fish. Every fifth fish was given to the ‘fisherbird,’ and the other four were ours.”

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