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DICA Remembers Founder Dick Koberg

Thu July 13, 2023 - National Edition #17

(L-R) are Kris, Dick, Carolyn, Kevin and Kerry Koberg.
(L-R) are Kris, Dick, Carolyn, Kevin and Kerry Koberg.

DICA and the Koberg family announce the loss of company founder Dick Koberg, who died on June 27, 2023. Known affectionately as DK, Richard "Dick" Koberg, 82, and his wife Carolyn founded DICA using the first two letters of their first names.

A native Iowan, Mr. Koberg was born in Durant, Iowa, in 1941. After an early career selling life insurance and working for and owning a local Chevrolet dealership, Mr. Koberg's love for equipment led him to an opportunity with a manufacturer of fiberglass mobile veterinary bodies. The company was looking to expand into the electric utility industry. It was during this time that a utility fleet manager asked, "Can you build me a better outrigger pad?"

Seeking a solution, Mr. Koberg began working on testing various designs and material formulations. The company delivered its first of these outrigger pads in 1988. This was the beginning of the DICA story.

"DK created an engineered solution to a problem that had long been overlooked in many industries — whether it was asking lineworkers to re-purpose cross arms or crane operators to set up on cable reel ends. There was a growing awareness that outrigger pads should provide a foundation of support for outrigger-enabled equipment. Through his contribution to the industry, employers no longer have to skimp with homemade solutions," said Kerry Koberg.

Like many entrepreneurs and inventors, the early years of the company were operated out of the family garage in Carroll, Iowa. Later, the company had stints in neighboring towns, before settling into its present-day location near Des Moines.

Working the trade show circuit meant road trips to shows in the utility, tree care, concrete pumping, and crane industries. In fact, the RoadWarrior RV Jack Pads, launched in more recent years, was named in honor of Mr. Koberg.

"He drove hundreds of thousands of miles for decades to share the benefits of DICA Outrigger Pads with users in various markets," said Kevin Koberg.

"One of Dad's favorite events was the Upper Midwest Utility Fleet Council, and he was honored when the company was invited to participate in the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference," added Kerry Koberg.

Mr. Koberg's presence at ICUEE, now the Utility Expo, goes all the way back to its early days in Kansas City, and he had a long history with the Tree Care Industry Association, World of Concrete, and ConExpo-Con/AGG.

"Dad and Mom built great friendships at each stop in every industry they participated in," said Kerry Koberg.

"During those years working for his Uncle Leo at the Chevy dealership, Dad learned the importance of relationships in business. He often shared that ‘people ultimately do business with people they like.' He was authentic and always put the customer first. He knew that when the customer wins so did DICA," said Kris Koberg.

Paying attention to the details and building a quality product that people can trust is what has defined the company's products, which now boasts more than a dozen patents — many of which involve TuffGrip Handles. The handle design was one of those details that was important to Mr. Koberg.

"He always wanted something that was more comfortable than rope, yet strong, which is what led to the development of TuffGrip," said Kris Koberg.

"Dad placed a high value on family and taught us the importance of building lasting relationships — not just with our family, but also with employees and customers," said Kevin Koberg.

Today, the family business includes the three Koberg brothers. Kris has led the company as CEO since 2014. Kerry joined the company in 2004 and worked closely with Dick to expand into the crane market. He is currently the strategic accounts manager and works alongside his wife, Kelly, as inside sales manager. Kevin joined the team in 2009. He served as marketing director for many years and was recently promoted to a strategic sales position. Daughter Katie and Mr. Koberg's wife Carolyn serve on the board of directors.

It mattered to Mr. Koberg that DICA products are made in the USA, but the company has also become a global brand. Mr. Koberg personally tracked the places around the world DICA products were shipped by putting pins on a map. Today that map includes all seven continents and 50-plus countries.

"We'd like to thank our many wonderful customers, OEM partners, dealers, and vendors for their support and kindness as we navigate the loss of our dad," said Kris Koberg.

To express condolences or make a memorial contribution, read the obituary here. DICA will have a salute to DK the week of July 17. To share a tribute to Dick Koberg, please use the hashtag #DKisDICA.

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