Dick Bohr – Vail’s first administrator
It also became apparent that the resort was going to be much larger than the initial version. Like in so many similar situations, the people who start companies soon learn it takes professional management to make corporations grow. This was true with Vail.
Dick Bohr, from Cleveland, was hired in the spring of 1963 to be in charge of the administrative side of the business. He was given the title of vice-president and treasurer. He was basically brought in to beef up the general operating side. Dick filled that slot exceedingly well. It didn’t take him long to put the financial planning in order, install better systems for accounting, and, in general, shore up areas where Peter Seibert, the visionary, needed help.
“We even had some discussions about planning the village, which I thought I had some feeling for,” Bohr remembers. “I did exert some pressure to get an outside planner, because I felt we had a lot of opinions on the board, but not so many educated on that subject. That’s when the firm of Harmon, O’Donnell and Henniger was hired. I was concerned we would mushroom and end up with problems. I think it was very difficult at that time to raise your objections. People who had worked on the board beforehand had one vision, because they were starting from scratch. Now, as we were entering year two, we were seeing that Vail was going to be much larger than initially thought.”
There were a number of questions not in the original plan, such as where the golf course would be located, how Bridge Street would be serviced and where new lifts should be placed. The lack of back service alleys also was going to be a problem. Here was Vail with its main street – a real gem – all backed up with trucks, plus the pedestrian approach to the mountain was at some point going to be damaged.
Dick Bohr was soon elected to the board of directors, where he filled an important role. He enjoyed working with Jack Tweedy, who was good at pulling everything together. Bohr’s original focus was on getting the job done – designing the financial system that wasn’t in good shape, setting up charts of accounts, designing journals, getting report systems for The Lodge and for food and beverages, getting reports off the mountain, and basically developing a system where management could get numbers on a daily basis.
After that, his job was to budget, forecast, and build a model of what the following years should look like and attempt to define for the directors the fixed costs and the break-even geometry and what it cost just to exist. They wanted to know where Vail was on a break-even chart and when they would have a positive cash flow. All of these items were significant in terms of how the business ran.
In 1966, Bohr decided to go back to his business in Cleveland. He was part of a very exciting team at Vail, consisting of Seibert as the overall outside general manager, Bob Parker as the marketing manager, and himself as the administrative person. His focus was to support Seibert by getting Seibert’s attention away from the details. When Bohr announced that he was leaving, plans were made to hire his successor, who turned out to be the “right man at the right time” – one who took Vail through a shaky period and put it on solid ground. His name was Chuck Lewis.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 73rd installment, an excerpt from chapter 11, “The Corporate Team.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.
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