Saturday, February 9, 2008

Loren & Kris Birkenmeier

Today I'm adding the second in a series of North Central Employees histories and stories. With great pleasure, I introduce Loren & Kris Birkenmeier!
Starting with Loren, he bagan his career with North Central in January of 1970 in LAN (was later based in MEM) as a Station Agent and Equipment Service. When asked what his fondest memories of North Central were, Loren answered "we were the 'good people' folksy airline." Along the same lines, I also asked him what (if any) was the worst memories of his airline career, to which he simply stated "the NWA buyout." Loren would also rate his career with North Central/Republic as a '9' on a scale from 1 to 10. Pretty good! Loren retired from the airline industry in July of 2004 and is 'avoiding airports like the plague!' He, along with his wife Kris, are enjoying their retirement years with 4 active grandkids and working at their church.
Kris (Gruse) Birkenmeier started her career with North Central in September of 1969 as a clerk with Air Freight in ORD. She was also with MSP Flight Control. Her fondest memories of North Central/Republic were of 'fun employees' and when asked if she had any bad memories, none came to mind. Kris gave her career with the airlines a 9 1/2 on the scale from 1 to 10. VERY good! Kris's retirement date came much earlier than Lorens, in May of 1972, due to the fact that married couples could not work for the same airline. My, how times have changed!
Loren had more to share on that last topic of married couples not being able to work at North Central together.
' In 1970, Kris (now my wife) worked in MSP Flight Control and I worked as a Station Agent in LAN. Before we could close the station each night, we had to call Flight Control to get the 'OK to close' just to be sure there was no possibility of diversions from a nearby city. Well, Kris and I talked each worknight for two years before we finally met and the rest, as they say, is history! We've been married now for 35 years. She had to quit North Central when we wed because the airline didn't allow employees to be married to oneanother. (We knew several couples who kept their marriages secret from the company though!). Times were different then.'
THANK YOU very much to The Birkenmeier's for sharing their histories with us!!

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