September 17, 1923 |
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
|Children||Tom, Bruce, Steven|
David Oreck (born September 17, 1923) is an American entrepreneur, and business salesman and lecturer. He is the founder and marketer of the Oreck Corporation, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, and is known through his appearances as a spokesman in Oreck television commercials and infomercials.
David Oreck was born close to Duluth, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. When Oreck was young, his father took him on a flight in a Ford Trimotor, and on the ice of Lake Superior, they landed the aircraft on skis; the experience proved so exciting to Oreck that he has been obsessed with planes and the mechanics of engines and electronics ever since. In his desire to ferry airplanes to Europe, Oreck began his flight training in the Civilian Pilot Training program in North Dakota before the U.S. entered World War II. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Oreck joined the United States Army Air Forces and served as a certified pilot, navigator, and bombardier in the Pacific Theater for over two years. He participated in bombing missions over Japan in what were then considered state-of-the-art B-29s.
After the war
Following the war, David Oreck began his career as a wholesale distributor for RCA in New York. He worked with the company for 17 years, eventually reaching the level of general sales manager. It was during this time that the American public was introduced to several new products that Oreck helped market. These items included the washing machine, the microwave oven, and black-and-white and color televisions. Oreck accompanied RCA General Manager David Sarnoff to congressional hearings when the Federal Communications Commission was attempting to develop standards for color television broadcasts.
During his last years at RCA, Oreck started a charter aircraft service on the side for which he did much of the flying. Another venture involved a central antenna system in New York City that would wire apartment buildings for television use, in a foreshadowing of today's cable television. He also started a company to teach radio and television repair in Spanish by direct mail.
On a cold snowy day in Chicago, carrying the vacuum cleaner under his arm a la Willy Loman, the call came. In New Orleans, the RCA distributor was fighting for last place and winning, and the company wanted to know if he’d be interested in taking it over. "I flew down to New Orleans that day. The sun was out. It was beautiful. I was still in my heavy winter overcoat. I said to myself, 'Wow. I’m missing something here.’”
Oreck had acquired an abandoned design for an upright vacuum cleaner from Whirlpool and a failing RCA distribution facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 3.6-kg (8-lb) vacuum cleaner was a third of the weight of other machines available. Competitors, however, used this fact to criticize Oreck's vacuum cleaner's effectiveness and durability. Oreck decided to first market to hotels where lightweight would be a big positive factor. The machines now are used in thousands of hotels worldwide.
Oreck machines are either assembled in the United States with parts manufactured in China or imported fully assembled. The company employs more than 1,500 at its retail stores, corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and assembly center in Cookeville, Tennessee, to where it moved from Long Beach, Mississippi, in 2007. One such product is the Oreck XL Air 8 Purifier, which featured in an informercial running since 1999.
As Oreck has explained, he had "a good idea, a lot of energy, and no money." Oreck claims it took about 20 years of hard work to begin to achieve a semblance of success, but he was a believer in Winston Churchill's maxim, "Never, never, never give up."
Now controlled by Black Diamond Commercial Finance LLC, the company has filed for bankruptcy, and the Oreck family is bidding for it.
Oreck XL Upright Vacuums
- Element Pro Series 2.0
- Silver Pro Series 2.0
- Gold Pro Series 2.5
- Platinum Pilot Pro Series 2.5
- Halo (Discontinued)
- Edge Pro Series 2.5
- Oreck VersaVac Bagless
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
- Quest Canister
- Quest Pro Full-sized Canister
- DutchTech Full Size 1400 Series (Discontinued)
- DutchTech Mid Size 1200 Series (Discontinued)
- Ironman Handheld (Discontinued)
- Edge Handheld
- Housekeeper Ultimate Handheld
- Deluxe Handheld
- Little Hero Bagless Canister
- Little Helper Bagless Canister
- Orbiter Ultra Multi-Purpose
- Orbiter Multi-Purpose
- Steam-It All Purpose Steam Wand
- XL Shield Power Scrubber
- ProShield Plus
- XL Tower Professional
- Speed Sweep
- Sweep N Go
- Restaurateur Floor Sweeper-12.5
- Restaurateur Floor Sweeper-9.5
- Deluxe Electric Fabric Shaver
- Refrigerator Air Purifier
- Cordless Zip Vac
- Cordless Speed Iron
- Car Vac
David Oreck continues to be active in aviation, maintaining and flying his personal collection of aircraft which includes a Stinson Reliant SR 10J, a Waco WMF, an Aviat Husky Amphibian, an American Champion Decathlon, a Staggerwing Beech G-17S, and a Beech T-34A Mentor.
Oreck also continues to be the company's spokesman, frequently appearing in TV, radio and newspaper advertisements, although he is no longer an owner of the company. Throughout the years these appearances have made Oreck a widely recognized spokesperson. Oreck can still be seen on television infomercials with Terri Ouellette and guests such as Rosemary Jackett.
Oreck lectures pro bono at universities around the U.S., seeking to inspire young entrepreneurs and businesspeople. He tells his audiences "[You can] see I'm no genius. I didn't get started until I was 40. I did it. You can do it. Only in America could this happen."
Along with his son Bruce, Oreck has donated money and specimens to several mineralogical museums and exhibits. He has contributed to the collections of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, and Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. In addition, "the Orecks are major contributors, not only to the Jewish community but to the entire city (of New Orleans)," said Roselle Ungar, interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. "They not only write checks, but roll up their sleeves and get involved."
- At 82, David Oreck Never Gives Up
- Airport Journals
- Jeffrey A. Rosensweig, Betty Liu;Age Smart: Discovering the Fountain of Youth at Middleage and Beyond;2006;p. 19;Prentice Hall; ISBN 0-13-186762-8
- T.Leslie Smith,david H. Ostroff;Perspective and Radio in Television: Telecommunications in the United States;1998;p.288;Lawrence Erlbaum Associates;ISBN 0-8058-2092-2
- Pace University - Lubin School of Business - Entrepreneur in Residence
- Len Traubman;The Oreckovsky Family:From Russia to America;1994;p. 245; Oreck Foundation;ISBN 1-881529-05-3
- Luxner, Larry (2006-07-13). "As dust of storm settles, Oreck vacuum firm still cleaning up". Jweekly.com. Retrieved 2011-10-06.
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