Many distributors pride themselves on creating innovative solutions for their customers. Fred Albrecht, co-owner of Proforma Albrecht & Co. (asi/116308), has expanded that skill to solving problems for his entire city.
Fred Albrecht adds "mayor" to his resume
A 40-year veteran of the promotional products industry, Albrecht has been appointed mayor of Milford, OH, where his company is located. The small city (population 6,709 as of the 2010 Census) follows a council-manager form of government, in which city council members are elected by the public and they decide who should lead the council as manager. Albrecht was appointed to the council last year and began his mayoral term in January.
“It’s amazing how many people in the industry now know me as the mayor; I’m totally honored,” Albrecht told Counselor. “It comes with privileges of posing with the Easter Bunny and riding in the fire truck on the Fourth of July. But I also get to be in very intense meetings about potential developments and I can create collaboration among the council so we can all be on a similar page.”
Albrecht’s political aspirations crystallized a couple years ago when a developer tried to build 90 apartments on a plot that used to house a high school. “We don’t have a lot of undeveloped land, so we didn’t want those apartments in the middle of this quaint town,” Albrecht says. Joining the fight against the developer, Albrecht says he learned about the political process and grew to appreciate what the city council members do on a daily basis. In turn, they noticed his passion for the city, and with his business acumen, considered him a viable candidate for city council. “If you want to affect change, you have to get involved,” he said.
During his presentation to the council, Albrecht spoke about his father being a fireman and his stepmother being a police dispatcher in Skokie, IL. Public service trickled down the family tree – Albrecht himself worked as a garbage man before entering the promotional products industry. He and his wife Suzette formed their company and joined the Proforma (asi/300094) network in 2000. In 2014, they became the first Proforma member to surpass $25 million, with total sales of $26.9 million. Proforma Albrecht & Co. has also been a perennial top-10 contender on Counselor’s Best Places to Work list, ranking first place in 2012.
“This hasn’t interfered with my ability to do my job – I work 24 hours anyway, so it doesn’t matter which 12 hours I pick,” Albrecht says. “I think becoming mayor has certainly given our company a boost from the perspective of awareness, and certainly I look at the city’s budget in a totally different way than most people because I come from a business background. But I’m not doing it for egotistical purposes. I can clearly sit back and weigh all different angles and challenges.”
His current goals are to carry out the city’s five-year plan, analyze existing zoning obstacles and determine ordinances that make sense for future development. With the support of Suzie and his children, as well as the council members, Albrecht plans to run for office again when his term expires in December of 2019.
“My dream goal is to be the best mayor I possibly can, making sure I’m supporting all the other council members and creating an atmosphere of collaboration,” Albrecht says. “All the while, making sure we maintain financial stability while we do that.”