News Update from Fred Kiekhaefer ’69

FRED KIEKHAEFER ’69 of Castle Rock, CO: “I officially retired in 2012; I finally admitted it in 2023. After building a marine propulsion company (in seven years), selling it to Mercury Marine and, then, managing Mercury Racing for 22 years, I moved to Colorado from Wisconsin. I started a small consulting firm, K-Lab Design Works. My first major project was again in marine propulsion: I conceived a variable pitch surface drive for high-performance diesel-powered boats. From concept to design. From design to prototype. From prototype to design refinement. From refinement to second prototype. From second prototype to project termination. Working mostly alone, this took eight years. In those eight years, my target market moved to outboard engines. So, I quit. That was a hard decision. In the midst of this project, my wife, Carol, and I moved to Miami (for the water and boat testing). Then COVID hit. We moved back to Colorado for more space; less restriction. Carol went back to graduate school studying artificial intelligence and machine learning as applied to targeted medical therapeutics. She’s a critical care physician and research scientist, so that makes sense.

Now, I spend time differently. With charities. Since I have a few exotic cars, I donate race track time and show time to entertain and raise funds for Morgan Adams Foundation (childrens’ cancer research), Warrior’s Chariot and Wounded Warrior Project (for military vets, police and first responders), AeroAngels (donated pilots and private aircraft getting sick and damaged kids to specialized, far-away treatment) among others. To keep my creative skills functioning, I am designing and building unique outdoor furniture (like my ergonomic hammock). In other down time, I hang out with three cats and a dog – or go to a gym (typically six days a week). Although voted “least likely to return for a second ski trip” by my Ripon frat brothers, I’m still skiing. I haven’t missed a season in 55 years. Catch me if you can, snow bunnies!”