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 Post subject: Who Was Thomas T. Lenk
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:52 pm • #  
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For your reading pleasure...apologize for the quality. Rob

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Last edited by anonymous on Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Who Was Thomas T. Lenk
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:31 am • #  
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An informative article. What a man. He must have been very talented to do so well and from such a humble beginning. It very nice to be able to read something that brings hope.
Thanks, very much Rob for sharing this article. Jim


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 Post subject: Who Was Thomas T. Lenk
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:48 am • #  
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:00 pm
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Hi Rob, Thanks for posting this article but I feel the need to make a few corrections. The Garcia story changes between many newspapers ,magazine articles and even books. These corrections are based on Garcia records, Doug DeSimone and Doug's Aunt Mary Lenk, Tom Lenk's wife.

1- Tom was born and bred in Austria but did not come to America from there nor was he a refugee. In the thirties he went to Germany for higher education and then moved to England to complete his education. From there he moved to America and went to work for Charles Garcia & Company as an inventory clerk. Because of statements like "refugee" and knowing he was in Germany, it has been written he was Jewish which is not true. Not that it matters to me, but the truth is he was a Christian.

2- Tom Lenk did not import the first Mitchell "for a friend" as quoted. The first was given to Otto Gumprich, President of Charles Garcia & Company, by his brother Julius (Jules) Gumprich, President of Ets Impecco, an import/export business, Paris, France in 1940. A slightly more accurate accounting was given in the 1964 Fisherman's Digest where it states; Tom Lenk, founder of The Garcia Corp., imported the first Mitchell in the early 1940's."

3- By the time Tom returned from service, both Otto and Jules had made plans to market The Mitchell in America. They had received "a few dozen" reels that were given to Tom as "pilot" reels for a test market. They immediately sold and a large order was placed in 1946.

4- By 1949 Garcia's primary focus was selling both The Mitchell and C.A.P reels, a godsend due to their declining sales of "natural" products due to new synthetic materials. Without these reels, Charles Garcia would have not survived according to the remaining "Garcia" family.

5- Tom was promoted to President in 1955 but immediately reincorporated Charles Garcia & Company to The Garcia Corporation. Now as founder of this new corporation, Tom could make statements like the one in the 1964 Fisherman's Digest. Otto Gumprich Retired in 1958 so my guess is that's where the reporter got confused.

6- To say Tom Lenk was not a fisherman is absurd. From the early 1950's he was taking many people fishing, mainly to Canada. He hired professional anglers to help teach people how to fish including Johnny Dieckman. These people traveled the world as Garcia representatives. Was he a professional angler? NO but here's his last boat named The Mitchell II.

Image
(Image from Doug DeSimone)

I hesitated writing this believing it may upset some people but knowing it would help set the record straight, I did.
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, this is just a very short version of my own.

Best Regards,
Wallace

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 Post subject: Who Was Thomas T. Lenk
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:37 pm • #  
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Hello Wallace,

I don't see any issues with Mr. Swifts statement that Tom was an Austrian immigrant...he was Austrian and an immigrant to the USA correct?

I also don't see where Mr. swift suggested Tom was a refugee. The only place I see the word refugee used states "on the advice of a refugee organization"...so I'm not following your interpretation here.

I also don't see where he stated that Tom Imported the first Mitchell reel. In fact, the word "Mitchell" cannot be found anywhere in the article. Reading it again, he states "Lenk had imported a European spinning reel." I also read that the importation was done prior to his post war re-hiring at Garcia. My interpretation of these carefully chosen words "European spinning reel" was that he was talking about a reel that was neither French nor Mitchell. If this is true, certainly at the time of the interview (being employed by Garcia), it was not in Tom's best interest to cite a competitors product.

Could Tom be suggesting he approached "the fishing tackle dealer" with a non Mitchell reel, and the subsequent interest by that dealer led to Mitchell orders and promotion?

May I ask for clarification on your statement "Tom was promoted to President in 1955". Mr Swift states "he was made Executive Vice President in 1955" and "three years later...was President of the Garcia Corporation". Please confirm that Mr. Swifts reported facts (dates and positions) are not accurate.

Thanks for considering my observations, and more importantly for sharing yours.

Regards,

Rob


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 Post subject: Who Was Thomas T. Lenk
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:10 am • #  
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Hello Rob,

No worries mate, a friendly debate is the most effective way to determine the truth. Understanding what I said was not based just on this one article but many, I'll try to respond to your questions.

Yes Tom was an Austria immigrant; I was just clearing up how he ended up in America. Others have claimed he was a refugee and maybe this article is where that information came from? By the articles statement: "on the advice of a refugee organization" you have to admit implies he was a refugee.

Do you really believe the reel mentioned was not The Mitchell? Is so, please tell us what reel this was that he found "thousands" of buyers for? Spinning reels like the American made Airex were being shown at fishing tackle trade shows years before Mitchell not to mention the Airex "Mastereel" model first introduced in 1951.

"Could Tom be suggesting he approached "the fishing tackle dealer" with a non Mitchell reel, and the subsequent interest by that dealer led to Mitchell orders and promotion?" My answer would be definitely not without question with the exception of the C.A.P reel made by the same company as The Mitchell. Naturally Garcia did start selling other brands like ABU, but that was much later.

"May I ask for clarification on your statement "Tom was promoted to President in 1955". Mr Swift states "he was made Executive Vice President in 1955" and "three years later...was President of the Garcia Corporation". Sorry but I missed the "executive vice" preceding the word "president", hard to read on my screen! Tom was given the title Director of Marketing in 1949/50 and then promoted to Executive Vice President in 1951/52. In 1955/56 Tom took over the company as President and again, reincorporated the old Charles Garcia company to The Garcia Corporation. Otto Gumprich stayed on as Chairman of the Board of Directors and "Founder" until he retired after almost 40 years in 1958.

As far as Mr. Swifts stated "facts", no they are not entirely accurate. Why do you believe they are knowing most articles and books are not entirely accurate even to this day? Try watching the same big news story on NBC, CBS and ABC where they all conflict with each other then watch BBC for another version.

My biggest question to you is; when do you believe The Garcia Corporation was formed and why?

Thanks for your interest, this is fun!

Best Regards,
Wallace

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