If any company epitomizes the classic American family business, it is Liberty Coach. You know the story. First, Frank and Jeanne Konigseder build their backyard hobby into a thriving concern and a brand new category of motorhomes. Then sons Frank Jr. and Kurt take the reins and take the company into the RV stratosphere, pushing the envelope in every phase of engineering and design and establishing Liberty Coach as the clear leader in the Prevost conversion field.
Now a third generation of Konigseders is poised to start making an impact on the family business. Kurt’s sons Nick, 19, and Riley, 16, are spending their summers working in Liberty’s North Chicago production facility. And Frank Jr.’s 24-year-old son Alex Konigseder has been a full-time member of the Liberty team for about two years now. But like his father before him, Alex’s experience with Liberty goes back much further.
“Growing up in our family, everything kind of centered around the ‘coach life’,” he says, “and ever since I can remember, I wanted to work in the business.” His Dad gave him lots of responsibility on family outings and vacations, he recalls. “Here I was at 12 years old, hooking up the dump tanks, filling the coach with water, hooking and unhooking trailers. It was work, but it was fun.”
It also proved to be great training for the career he’s now begun in earnest. Since coming onboard, Alex has worked in every department in North Chicago. “I absolutely love it,” he says, “working with all the guys in the shop, and being hands-on through every step of the production process.”
Right now, Alex is one of the mainstays of Liberty’s road service operation, personally handling service calls from his North Chicago office and, when necessary, travelling on-site to the customer’s location. He arrives ready to work on just about everything: electronics, shades, trim, tiling, mechanical systems, whatever needs doing. Sometimes he travels with a crew but more often than not, he’s on his own – flying in, doing the work, and flying back home, all in one day.
And like the rest of the family, Alex takes personal pride in making customers happy. “When I get back from doing a service call and the customer calls in to say how happy he is, and how professional we are, well, that just makes my day.”
When he’s not doing service calls, Alex is busy building his expertise on key coach technologies, notably the Crestron remote control system and the latest Volta lithium ion battery system. Right now he’s working to complete an 18-month technical program at Crestron Midwest in Arlington Heights that covers all aspects of the system, including graphics, coding and more. And he’s studying elements of battery design with the help of engineering staff at Volta, with whom he interacts frequently.
“That’s where the future is,” Alex says of his focus on the technology side of the business. “To me, that’s what got us to where we are today, and where I see us leading the industry for years to come. We don’t go out looking to see what other companies are doing. We look at our product, our systems, and how we can make them the best in the industry.”
It’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And equally clear that Liberty Coach will be in good hands for a long time to come.