Saturday, May 31, 2008

Entrepreneur Milt Kuolt Founder of Horizon Air passes | Northwest News and Weather

A great entrepreneur of the Pacific NW just died, Milt Kuolt. | Northwest News and Weather:
Horizon Air founder Milton G. Kuolt died Friday of lung complications at Swedish Medical Center. Kuolt, 79, founded Horizon Air and then sold it to Alaska Air. The entrepreneur also developed Thousand Trails, a chain of private membership campgrounds. His family says Kuolt began his career sweeping floors as a janitor for the Boeing Company and progressed to planning manager for the 737
Clear, isn't it? He started at Boeing sweeping floors and became a planning manager. Then he left and started two successful (one for a limited time) companies from scratch. Seattle Times
In his many roles at different companies, Mr. Kuolt was known for his formidable work ethic, his sense of humor and his unflappable allegiance to all of his employees, regardless of their rank. "Milt didn't care if you were a baggage handler or in the boardroom. He was concerned about everybody on his team," said Bill Endicott, who worked for Mr. Kuolt at Thousand Trails and Horizon, and later wrote "Remember the Magic: The Story of Horizon Air." According to one of the stories in Endicott's book, Mr. Kuolt once overheard a man being rude to one of his employees at the ticket counter. "He leaned over and told him he wasn't welcome to fly on Horizon Air anymore," Endicott said. "Milt said, 'Nobody treats my employees like that. I don't care if you have to ride to Sun Valley on a horse!' " Dee Dee Maul, one of the original team members at Horizon, said Mr. Kuolt made a concerted effort to treat everyone who worked for him with equal respect and camaraderie. "If something needed to be done, he'd do it. He'd help out behind the counter. He'd sling bags. Everyone loved him for it," she said. ☞

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