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Definitive End To The Ice Machine & Award Stories?

April 26th, 2010 by jake · 6 Comments

Yes, I’m harping on this again because the story isn’t finished.

By now, everybody has seen or heard Greg Fischer say he was Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990. If not, click here pronto.

By now, everybody has seen photos of the award Fischer actually won – provided by his campaign. Proving even further that he was not Inc.’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990 (as if the actual magazine and articles about the winner weren’t enough). If not, click here for that.

And by now, everybody should be aware that his campaign spokesperson isn’t letting this story die. She’s calling members of the press left and right to share a poorly-scanned article from Business First about the co-branded regional Ernst & Young award Greg actually won. Just in case you aren’t aware, click here for details. Or read about it for yourself via WFPL.

Which brings me to today. Since Fischer’s spokesperson is keen on proving me right, apparently, we need to take another look at the story that ran in Business First on July 9, 1990 (note that Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year appears in the January issue of the following calendar year, as seen in my original story).

It turns out Greg was but a subnote on this award for his father, George. And Business First still isn’t Inc. Magazine, kids. To prove it, let’s take a look at the story’s opening, which was conveniently illegible in the documents provided to others by Fischer:

1990 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards — Manufacturing Winner

BYLINE: John Filiatreau
SECTION: Vol 6; No 49; Sec 2; pg 2
LENGTH: 871 words
DATELINE: Jeffersonville, IN; US

GEORGE E. FISCHER,
GREG AND MARK FISCHER
SERVEND INTERNATIONAL INC., JEFFERSONVILLE, IND.

George Fischer has made a habit of being in the right place at the right time.

He joined IBM in 1958, at the dawn of one of the Big Blue’s brightest heydays. Over the next decade, he thrived as IBM thrived, rising from a sales job to become manager of all its operations in Manhattan.

In 1968 he founded MetriData Computing Inc., a pioneer in the remote-computing industry. It was Kentucky’s fastest-growing company in the mid-1970s; among other things, it created and finetuned Holiday Inns’ reservation systems. Fischer launched the firm with $ 400,000, held on to the lion’s share of the stock, and sold out to Sun Oil in 1978 for more than $ 6 millon.

Then he took a little time off. “I was tired of computers,” he says. “I thought I was retired. “I devoted some time to traveling, played some golf. . .” but I got tired of that after 18 months.”

He let it be known that he was looking for something “totally different,” something that would “be a kind of a learning process,” and something that would involve a tangible product. “I had never been in manufacturing,” he explains.

His timing was good again in 1980, when he bought SerVend International (for a song) out of a Louisville bankruptcy court.

Isn’t that nice? Turns out what we’ve assumed about Greg Fischer is correct. His story is woah specious.

But the real story just keeps getting better. Recall that I’ve been saying for months (years?) that Greg Fischer was not an inventor of an ice machine. I think I’ve solidly proved – with the different stories he’s publicly shared and the patent data compiled – that Fischer wasn’t the big dog inventor of that fancy ice machine– his dad bought it for him.

Check this from the Business First story:

SerVend fell into the hands of Fischer’s older son, Greg, a 1980 graduate of Vanderbilt University’s business school, who soon was joined by his brother Mark, a 1981 Vandy graduate. They “started basically managing a very, very small company,” Fischer says.

-SNIP-

Fischer gives his sons, now 31 and 30, most of the credit “for the building of the business.” Greg is vice president of sales and marketing; Mark is vice president of operations.

-SNIP-

SerVend makes self-service ice, beverage and cup dispensers commonly seen in hotels, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.

See? Yet more information about George Fischer buying the company.

Oh, sorry, wait for this. Here’s more information about the guy who actually invented those machines, Jerry Landers:

Thanks in part to the genius of designer Jerry Landers, a SerVend ice dispenser that once was 12 feet wide, six feet deep and eight feet tall is now just 15 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 30 inches tall.

Meanwhile, SerVend has steadily “upsized” its manufacturing capacity. It started in a 6,000-square-foot garage in Louisville, moved four years ago to a 85,000-square-foot plant in Jeffersonville, Ind., and is now ready to move again, into a new, “absolutely world-class,” 130,000-square-foot plant in Clarksville, Ind.

Yeah. About all that. Greg Fischer was but a subnote on his daddy’s not-Inc. Magazine-Business First-Ernst & Young award for an invention his father purchased. The company that manufactured that invention was then moved from Louisville to Indiana, because it was easier (according to Greg Fischer at the Louisville Forum last week), and remains there today.

I told Greg Fischer and others (I greatly respect) a year ago that this was coming. He then lied (at worst, misled at best) to me, ignored the issues, blew me off and disparaged my character and integrity to reporters and supporters alike. Countless individuals told him that he needed to address these matters and get out in front of them so he could be in control of the story. I hope he takes me seriously now. Because I’m just scratching the surface and you know it.

To others: No, I’m not perfect. I have my own problems and issues. But I’m not a candidate running for major office and I’m not attacking anybody personally. I’m just sharing information with you before some well-funded Democrat or Republican makes a commercial about it all.

Tags: Bad Behavior · Business · Business First · Democrats · Greg Fischer · Mayor's Race 2010 · Oops · Politics

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 what? // Apr 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks Jake, first it was the coffee last week…now it’s the popcorn. I need a new keyboard.

  • 2 Blowin' in the wind // Apr 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Why isit that so many people in town are ignoring this? I thoght thst the ethics of community leaders was important here!

  • 3 jake // Apr 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    It’s not being ignored.

    I’ve heard about it all over the place.

    And the other campaigns are taking note.

    It’s just that we’re in the midst of Derby Fever in Kentucky…

  • 4 Blackeynative // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    so, wait, did Fischer not build a million dollar company? i’m confused why whether he discovered an ice machine matters or not, he seems to be the one who mass marketed it. sometimes thats more important than just the idea.
    although Fischer’s hubris is troubling, I dont think this is that big of a deal at all. He’s still a successful business man, no question about that.

  • 5 tbrauch // Apr 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Blackeynative, the issue isn’t whether he discovered the ice machine or not. The issue is that Fischer is lying.

    If he would just say he mass-marketed the machine, that he won a regional award sponsored by INC. and others, there wouldn’t be a problem. However, neither of those two things sound at all impressive.

    So, if he gets elected, how long until he starts lying about shady deals with the Cordish Co. (who, by the way, did win an INC entrepreuneur award in 1990).

  • 6 The Highlander // Apr 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    tbrauch: To answer your last question — before his first week as Mayor is over — that’s when he’ll start lying (because that’s when he’ll start talking!!!). His nickname as a kid was ‘mumbles,’ because he never had much to say.

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