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Phil Hendrickson, a champion of Saris Cycling Group, dies at 97

Published March 13, 2017
Sara Fortune and her father Phil Hendrickson in 2014.

MADISON, Wis. (BRAIN) — Phil Hendrickson, the father-in-law of Saris Cycling Goup founder Chris Fortune and father to Sara Fortune, has died at 97.

Chris Fortune said Hendrickson was "a huge champion for Saris Cycling Group" and a guiding force in getting the company to where it is today. Hendrickson was the company's Board Chair for more than 20 years.

"Phil was like a second father to me," said Chris Fortune, "I lost a great friend and mentor."

Hendrickson lived a long and full life. He was the youngest Naval officer to command a vessel on the way home from the Pacific at the end of World War II. After serving in the war, he went on to Harvard Business School and married Betsy, his wife of 65 years. Soon after, he returned to Wisconsin and spent the bulk of his career as CEO of Krueger Metal Products, a company in the contract furniture business.

Fortune said Hendrickson's entrepreneurial skills and passion for manufacturing in the United States were a huge asset to Saris Cycling Group. Hendrickson provided an introduction to world-famous Italian designers Giancarlo Piretti and Fabio Pedrini. Pedrini designed the Saris Bones Rack, which has sold more than 1 million units. Hendrickson also connected SCG with the University of Wisconsin Stout's Manufacturing Technology Transfer Program, which led to a year-long grant resulting in significantly increased productivity and the ability to compete globally and keep manufacturing in Wisconsin.

"Hendrickson was a strong believer in innovation through design and always looked into the future. He was a big supporter of all the growth and expansion SCG has experienced, and someone whose strength shined through when times were bad. He accomplished a lot with his smile, his optimism and his encouragement," the company said.

Hendrickson also served on the board of the Green Bay Packers as the board treasurer. He helped connect PeopleForBikes with the Packers and was instrumental in an event a few years back promoting cycling at the annual Packers Family Night.

Hendrickson is survived by son Scott Hendrickson, daughter Sara Fortune, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

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