Today marks the 80th birthday of Liberty Coach founder and President Frank Konigseder Sr. It seems like an appropriate time to devote some space to the man who started it all and reflect on his many accomplishments.
First, some background: Frank was born and raised in Lake County, Illinois, not far from the future site of the Liberty Coach production facility in North Chicago. His parents migrated from Germany and very much epitomized the American Dream, operating a small farm and starting a business, F.K. Pattern & Foundry, in 1937, the same year Frank was born. He began working there at age 12 and since 1968 has headed the operation, now known as F.K. Foundries, at its original location in North Chicago.
Frank’s role in the Liberty Coach story is a little more familiar. He and Jeanne started building coaches as a backyard hobby in 1968, converting used Greyhound buses one at a time. Their big break came a decade later, when Frank inked a deal with another family business, Prevost Car, and effectively launched the modern-day motorcoach conversion industry – an industry Liberty has dominated ever since.
Of course, he had more than a little help along the way, most notably from sons Frank Jr. and Kurt. Like their father, both grew up immersed in the family business and in recent years, as managing partners, have taken Liberty to a point Frank Sr. frankly admits is “beyond anything I’d ever imagined.”
These days, the family patriarch quite frankly refuses to act his age. He still runs day-to-day operations at the Foundry and consults regularly with Frank Jr. and Kurt on Liberty business. He and Jeanne split their time between homes in Libertyville and Stuart and travel frequently, attending two off-site Liberty rallies each year and taking trips around the country and abroad. Ever the hobbyist, Frank has lately taken to buying and restoring antique tractors and has built up a collection of some 25 of them, which he keeps down in Florida. And he still finds time to engage his lifelong passion for outdoor activities: hunting, fishing, and of course, motorsports.
In short, Frank is making 80 look a lot more like 70, or 60, or even 50. Which just might be the best birthday present anyone could ask for.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRANK!