(Aurora, CO) November 27, 2008 Benjamin (Ben) D. Graebel, Vice Chairman of the Graebel Companies, Inc. unexpectedly and suddenly died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Greenwood Village, CO. He was 53 years old.
Prior to the Board of Director’s appointing Ben to Vice Chairman in 2003, he had moved up the company’s management ranks holding ever-more challenging responsibilities and positions including General Manager, Vice President, President, and Chief Executive Officer. The organization feted Ben with multiple sales and leadership awards over his 30-year career.
His quest to ensure highest quality relocation services was embodied in his philosophy that highest quality performance can only be realized when a workforce is properly equipped, and proper equipment begins with a clear understanding of expectations, uniform training and uniformly applied performance metrics. This philosophy led to the 1999 creation of Graebel University. This industry-leading curricula model combining measurable distance-learning and practical hands’-on supervised training and ongoing performance measurement has contributed to near-perfect customer satisfaction ratings since the University’s inception. His vision is also credited for diversifying the organization’s commercial services’ division relocation footprint into the hospitality FF&E market in 1991, and for orchestrating a start-up, woman-owned third party full-service relocation services company, TransferEEZ, in 1996. Today, it is a highly respected relocation partner of globally active Fortune 500 firms, and the start-up firm is known as Graebel Relocation Services Worldwide, Inc.
His strong advocacy of ongoing education caused him to be among the first in the relocation industry to achieve Senior Certified Relocation Professional accreditation in the late 1980’s from the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council in Washington, D.C. In 1978, he earned a Baccalaureate degree in English and Psychology from Lawrence University.
An admired, active community leader, Ben unselfishly devoted time and support to special committees and was a Board Member on multiple and diverse organizations including the Make-A-Wish foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters’. In addition, Ben was active in the Young President’s Organization (YPO), and the Denver Chamber of Commerce. Each organization benefited greatly from his vision and fund-raising capabilities. He was an active member of both Cherry Hills Community Church and the Greenwood Community Church. In addition, Ben was actively coached and supported his children’s scholastic and athletic endeavors.
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Outside the relocation industry, Ben was the Director of the Nominating and Governance Committee on the Board of Directors of the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers’ restaurant chain. His business acumen was keynote to the restaurant chain decision to become publicly-held and for its growth from a western regional chain to respected national organization. The chain is headquartered in the Denver, Colorado area.
He is survived by his wife, Julie, and three children Jessica, William and Luke; his father, David Graebel, a brother William Graebel, and two nephews. Ben was preceded in death by his mother, Lois Graebel and a sister, Jessica Graebel.
A public memorial service celebrating his life will be held Thursday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the Greenwood Community Church, Greenwood Village, Colorado. Wednesday, December 3rd from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. public viewing will be held at the Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary located on 6601 S. Colorado Blvd, Littleton, Colorado.
Friends and family are encouraged to share messages of comfort in the online memories book at http://www.sympathytree.com/bengraebel1955/
In his honor, a Benjamin D Graebel memorial fund has been created for his various charities. Donations can be sent to The Graebel Companies, Inc., c/o: Benjamin D. Graebel Memorial Fund, 16346 Airport Circle, Aurora, CO 80011.
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