Regarding Lee Piester

As I have already told some people privately, I was unable to catch up
with Lee Piester while I was in Arizona.
Apparently, he only visits the Glendale store for a few hours each
morning.
Plus, nobody seems to have an e-mail address or fax number.
I'm still trying to reach him. When I do, I will post to the group.
FWIW, I understand that Lee will be speaking at NARCON.
Steve
Reply to
Gus
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When I met with him I had to call the store several times to find out when he would be around. And you're right, he is only in one of the stores for a few hours at a time, mostly only one day a week.
I was lucky to catch him at all, but he was a great guy to talk to. An employee at one of the other stores told me that Lee doesn't really use computers and is mostly unaware of all the Centuri stuff that is on the Internet.
Pictures of me, Lee, all of the Hobby Bench stores, the permission slip Lee wrote me to take pictures in the stores, and the old rockets hanging in said stores are here:
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There's also a picture of the Quest building at the end.
Chuck W Sharc, NAR Section 613
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Sharc, the section where two out of three certification flights always work just fine!
Reply to
ChuckW
Lee is typically at his Glendale store in the mornings. He has 5 Hobby Bench stores. Best way to catch him is to call all 5 and see where he will be at the longest. Then just plan your schedule to wait for him.
Lee does know alot about what is going on in the hobby. He asked me one day, which I found more rewarding, R/C Planes or Rockets? I told him R/C planes and he agreed. He told me that he had left rocketry in favor of R/C planes because the regulations were just too difficult. Every month, some state fire marshall would send him letters threatening to shut him down. One year back in the early 70s, Lee and Vern Estes went to a California Fire Marshall conference to plead their case. They stood arms length from each other and launched a rocket sitting between them in an attempt to show the safety with model rockets. After their demo, a CA firemashall, who later retired to become a lobbyist for the pyrotechnics industry, setup a trash can with dozens of motors that had been de-cased and tied together like dynamite. He detonated the whole thing, sending the 50 or so visiting fire marshalls face down in the dirt. Lee and Vern laughed together as all these guys got back up and their suits were covered in soil.
Its not that Lee isn't internet savvy, its more that he just doesn't care like you want him to. He has moved on to running hobbyshops, private aircraft (He gives Bill Stine rides every few months), and other interests. When I told him that Arizona/Phoenix might be hosting a NARAM in the next year or two, he had no interest in attending ... but he did discuss the 1/4, 1/3 scale R/C fly-in down in Tucson and his plans to attend that.
He will be at that gathering in MInn. later this year, so have your questions well though out in advance, because he really isn't into the rockets anymore and probably won't be accessable in the future ... unless you fly 1/4 or 1/3 scale R/C planes :)
He is actually much shorter than you think. I TOWER over him and its really funny looking down at someone who I though of as the 'Wizard of Rocket Oz". He is 5' 6" or so. There is a photo of him standing next to Col. Borman of Apollo 10. They are both the same size and if you remember early astronauts, they all had to be small in stature due to limitations in capsule size.
Oh and when I mention Jerry Irvine ... Lee knows EXACTLY what Jerry is ... and most of his history ... so Lee does indeed keep up with current events :)
ChuckW wrote:
Reply to
lunarlos
yeah vern got out in 69 after only 9 years in the biz and lee got out a couple years later after spending about the same amount of time in the biz.... I guess vern and lee are probably the only two people who made more money in model rocktery then they put into it...
shockie B)
Reply to
shockwaveriderz
Great information! I mostly agree but I guess I need to clarify my earlier statement. It's not that I want Lee to care what's going on in the hobby, I was just pointing out that he didn't know about a lot of the Centuri stuff that is on the web.
He's definitely in touch with things; when I last talked to him he asked me about the Aerotech bankruptcy, Leup regs in Georgia (where I am from), and a few other current things. (That's funny about Irvine, Lee commented to me about both Irvine and Cato.) He also told me that RC was where his interest ended up, pointing out several of his RC models that are hanging in his Glendale store. (To any doubters, remember, that's a full-sized biplane over the entrance of the mall Hobby Bench, not a Groove Tube!)
What I was trying to say is that he didn't know about resources like JimZ, Semroc, Holverson's site, Moldin' Oldies, and stuff like that. That was my point, not that he's out of touch, he's just not a web junkie like most of us on RMR are. Your comments that his interest is RC now explains why he isn't surfing those particular sites.
Lee isn't some rocket messiah or anything, I like him because he started a cool business right out of college and then changed that business to hobby shops and hobby distribution as he saw the business environment changing. He's still running that post-college business today, even though it's a totally different animal than it was back in the '60's.
By the way, I highly recommend the Hobby Bench stores. They have a good mix of inventory, including a lot of science kits that are useful for home schoolers. Plus it's fun to see rockets from the old days hanging from the ceiling.
Chuck W Sharc, NAR Section 613
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Sharc, the section where two out of three certification flights always work just fine!
Reply to
ChuckW
We're hosting NARCON 2006 in WI, not MN!
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Reply to
Scott D. Hansen
But MN would be a nice place to host it. In particular this week and as of right now it's 50 degrees here :)
Ted Novak TRA#5512 IEAS#75
Reply to
tdstr
With all due respect, from this part of the country, they're the same place. 8-)
Reply to
Phil Stein
Nice job Steve. Is there anything you have set out to do that you've actually accomplished?
Reply to
Phil Stein
Post trash to rmr.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
Wait,... that's your accomplishment jerry, what We want is to hear about steve's accomplishments.
Reply to
Dave Grayvis
Although, I suppose they could be the same.
Reply to
Dave Grayvis
Fuck off, Jew-boy.
Reply to
Gus
By the way, Phil, speaking of accomplishments, when is PARA getting that new launch system that you've been promising for the past 5 years, or is it 6 years now?
Reply to
Gus
You really are an A$$-hole..
Reply to
W. E. Fred Wallace
I was waiting for that Fred-O.
Lest you think I'm an anti-Semite, I'm not. There's only one Jew in the world that I hate, and that's Phil.
Glad you think I'm an asshole. If you didn't, it would reduce my credibility with the rest of the world.
Steve
Reply to
Gus
Glad to perpetuate fact in evidence..(:-)
Reply to
W. E. Fred Wallace
When in my Jan./Feb. 2003 "SpRocketry" article on Lee, I wrote something to the effect of, "Lee Piester 'works hard for the money' ...14 to 18 hours a day," I *wasn't* kidding. ;-D
Cheers,
--Jay Goemmer "Centuri Guy" Twin Falls, Idaho, USA
Reply to
Jay Goemmer
Not even close! We're not wacky enough to elect an ex-WWF wrestler as Governor! What a bunch of maroons! ;-)
Reply to
Scott D. Hansen

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