Many of the projects we do here at ZENTX have to do with helping our corporate customers preserve their own history. In the recent library project for Amigo Mobility International, we helped Amigo do just that. We designed and created a space for them that would give them room to store and display elements of their company’s past and give visitors a glimpse into the past of their founder, Al Thieme. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new library room, our sales rep Sheena Lovitos got to sit down and talk with four members of the Thieme family, including Al Thieme and his wife, Beth. Earlier this year, we shared the highlights from the interview in a YouTube video, which you can watch below.
But Al and Beth had a lot more to share than we could fit in a short video. So keep scrolling to read Sheena’s full conversation with Al and Beth Thieme, Amigo’s founder and CEO, respectively. You can also find the transcripts of Jordan Thieme and Jennifer Thieme Kehres’ interviews in our previous posts.
Beth, who is Al Thieme?
Al Thieme is the consummate entrepreneur. He’s curious, inventive, always looking for a better way. He never stops. He’s restless. And, most of all, I think he’s passionate about serving the Amigo customer and our family.
Al, why are books very important to you and why do you think reading is important?
To see what has been put together here is so wonderful because books have been so much a part of my life. I didn’t care for school too much, so I knew I had to learn and learn business and learn people and communications and motivation. All those things. My good friend Bob Zelli is one that really got me into reading books in 1967. He gave me the book Atlas Shrugged, a big book. I mean, it’s that thick. I thought I’d never get through that book. But that was kind of the start. Although it does go back further than that. I remember my mother’s library. She had a few books, and the one that I read quite a bit was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. When you read about great people, it helps you see the opportunities that are available to all of us.
Beth, how did you feel when you first saw the Al Thieme library?
This is a first in our company. We started with not a lot. Always made due with second-hand furniture and second-hand things. And to walk in here—I think it’s a testament to the perseverance and success of our business to be able to do this. And then you captured everything about [Al]. His love of reading. The pipes that hold the library shelves are plumbing pipes, which is where he started in his first career. The letters from customers—books of letters from customers written over the years, and the pages from the diary! I cried. I cried the first time I saw it. It’s beautiful.
Al, what’s your favorite part of this library?
I suppose my eyes went right away to the pipes. I mean, how important that is—the plumbing business—in my life. That was the—you might say—the springboard [for me] to be able to get started with Amigo company.
Maybe first while I walked in when I saw this big board here—wow, that’s impressive. Second, then yes, saw the pipes. And then I look over here at the daily journals that I kept over the years and [remember] how important that is to re-live [the] many activities that we have had.
Now that you’ve reached your 50-year anniversary, what are your goals as a company? What’s next?
Beth: I think the next step for us is we want to grow. We’re passionate about growing this business. I feel like we spent the early years planning a lot—plotting the fields and getting the seeds planted. But I feel like we’re at the cusp of a really exciting new journey with Amigo. Expanding our mobility into material handling line. Our service business across the U.S. has expanded, and I just think we’re never going to stop finding a new mobility solution. So we always say, “Look to the next fifty years. Just watch.”
Al: Yes, and that was [our daughter] Jennifer that really [came up with] that [and] so many of our themes: “Improving lives through mobility.” Jennifer put that together. And Jennifer has it in our core values: “The Next Fifty.” Looking forward to that. What I see is the opportunity to really help our people working with us here at Amigo company, [to] help them to grow. Help them to find what they really love to do. And we have so many different avenues and opportunities at our company. So that probably will be our really big focus—helping our people to grow. And reading is so much a part of it. We can only do so much, and then they need to take hold also and read to help to expand their lives.
Describe the ZENTX experience.
Beth: ZENTX took us to a whole new level. Jennifer had the idea of making a library. The talent that ZENTX brought to this project is beyond what we could have dreamed. It’s beautiful. You’ve captured the spirit of Al Thieme in these walls.
Al: This is really an amazing feat. Something that we never really realized that we would see. Praise the Lord!