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“Claude was very creative and very thorough and detail oriented in his planning. He had a deep understanding of the whole situation including possible pitfalls.”


I first met Claude Frey in Paris while being interviewed for a job at Dassault. In his position as the head of customer service and product support for the Eastern Hemisphere, Claude would work closely with his counterpart for the Western Hemisphere. His views on the various candidates were most important and we found we had a similar view on many topics. I found that we shared a similar view on what constitutes service excellence. We quickly realized we would be great teammates in working for our common goals.


Claude had a passion for achieving excellence. He was also an engineer and we would speak “engineer” together. Any time we got into a deep discussion on a topic, Claude liked to go to his white-board and draw graphs and illustrations to best explain the situation. These drawings would inevitably clarify his words perfectly. He was very creative and very thorough and detail oriented in his planning. He had a deep understanding of the whole situation including possible pitfalls.


The part I enjoyed and few saw was his personality and his sense of humor. We would play tricks on one another to see how far it would go before the other caught on. We made a game of our driving skills—with an ample use of illegal traffic maneuvers in order to be more expeditious. We would rationalize our driving to our wives with Claude saying “Pete told me it was OK to do that in the US”, and I would tell my wife that Claude told me it was legal in France. Claude also taught me a puzzle game that I didn’t know existed until he showed me – Sudoku. I have been addicted to the game since then and never work one without thinking of Claude.


Claude was my go-to guy for wine advice. He would even speculate on wine, sometimes making a profit or sometimes drinking his investment. He enjoyed flying and when he came to the US, we would take my Piper up. Claude was more of a fighter pilot in his flying style while I was more of an airline pilot. His love of steep turns and quick maneuvers may have been a result of his extensive glider experience, although he often startled me. We even flew the plane back to New Jersey from Arizona where we were both speaking at a conference on customer service. I can tell you it was an adventure filled and a fun three days of flying.


You can tell we became good friends in addition to being business partners, and continued our relationship after retirement. There’s an old saying that you will be very lucky if you are able to have five or so good, true friends over your lifetime. Claude and his wife Edith are two of ours and he is already sorely missed.


Pete Ginocchio retired from Dassault Falcon Jet in 2000 as Senior Vice President of Customer Service. Ginocchio is considered by many as having set the standard for excellence in business aviation maintenance over his 40 year career with four different manufacturers. Ginocchio and Claude Frey worked hand-in-hand at Dassault for seven years.


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