46. Reloading the Silver Bullet

Design and innovation are 21st-century buzzwords, but they’re timeless qualities. Dicky Riegel has brought Airstream, that sleek 1950s-style aluminum RV, into the modern era. “We have a heritage brand, and we’ve made it relevant to today’s market,” he says. That market is the mass of baby boomers seeking adventure and an authentic American experience. Riegel kept what worked — the classic look — and added technology to put Airstream on the edge again: wireless Internet access, modern stereo entertainment centers, and electronic security. Riegel is pushing things even further, testing such amenities as electric windows that go from clear to opaque, and flat-screen TVs. He has also revamped his dealer network to sell these modern marvels. Since Riegel took over in 2002, he has doubled Airstream’s sales, and last year alone added 50% more dealers. Paris Hilton even tooled across the country in The Simple Life 2 in an Airstream. Talk about trailer chic.


Dicky Riegel, 38

President and CEO
Airstream Inc.
Jackson Center, Ohio

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