Name: Fred Kohler
Job: Service Manager
Years of Service: 16
Pizza Topping: Hawaiian
My wife, Mary, asked, “What are you doing today?”
Mary: “You did that yesterday.”
Fred: “I’m not finished yet.”
This is how Fred sums up the first few months of retirement. Although, he hasn’t exactly done nothing; he runs several miles on most days to stay active and volunteers with his church on Friday’s to distribute food to those in need. His hope for retirement is to work for a cause, not a paycheck. This is Fred Kohler.
Let’s back up a few years. Fred joined GSM Roofing in 2004 after a long career working as an engineer with Armstrong. He started with Armstrong in 1976, relocating throughout the eastern United States to various plants. During his tenure with Armstrong he often worked with GSM Roofing and always trusted us as a vendor. In 2004 as Fred was looking for a new opportunity, it just so happened that GSM Roofing was searching for an estimator – and so the match began. Fred worked with GSM as an estimator for about year, fine tuning his roofing knowledge before being asked to manage GSM’s growing service department. In addition to being Service Manager, Fred was also a valuable member of the GSM Leadership Team. “Fred always had “just five minutes” to share his wisdom with me when I was undecided about a tough situation”, said Reed Gooding, GSM’s President.
From a very early age Fred remembers wanting to be an engineer when he grew up, his biggest struggle was deciding between a chemical or mechanical engineer. For this reason he started his college career at Drexel University as an undecided engineer. However, a not so friendly chemical engineering Professor helped him make his choice – mechanical engineer it would be. Fred participated in Drexel’s co-op program working with US Steel throughout his college years.
When Fred looks back to his younger self he remembers being more intense then he should have been, making small things more important than they deserved to be. When asked what advice he’d give his younger self, “You have a ways to go to mature, there’s another level of you that you haven’t gotten to yet.” In typical Fred fashion, his advice to his younger self pretty much sums up youth for all of us.
Fred and his wife Mary have 4 children, 2 grandchildren, and a dog. Aside from spending time with his family, Fred enjoys plays at the Ephrata Playhouse, running, mango sticky rice at Sukhothai, and traveling. Although COVID has put some of his travel plans on hold, he looks forward to visiting Eastern Europe, specifically Prague, Budapest, and Vienna in the future. Some items that you can always find in Fred’s refrigerator are milk, berries and provolone cheese. If he’s making himself a PB&J he reaches for sour cherry or raspberry jelly (and we’re totally judging him for this and the Hawaiian pizza choice). He’s more of a dog person than cat and when it comes to people vs animals Fred replied with a laugh, “depends on the person.” Same, Fred, same.
We will miss Fred’s stories, dry sense of humor, and keen ability to sense when a good snack is added to the break room for all to share. We wish Fred nothing but the best in retirement and look forward to his next chapter, where we know that his generous heart will lead him to great things.