If you had the opportunity to play Monopoly with him, you would have an insight into Ed Krampe. Ed was brilliant, decisive, innovative and just plain smart. He once wiped out four of us playing with him in less time than it took to put up a house or a hotel on St. James Place while smiling non stop, telling jokes and having the time of his life.
Ed’s work was much the same. Ed started as single owner/operator of a McDonald’s across from Northgate Mall on the Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette. You could find him there at almost any hour, showing someone how to take apart a Taylor soft serve dispenser or discussing the ingredients in a new sandwich the company had just rolled out in 1974 called the “Egg McMuffin.” From that first store, Ed grew McDonald’s of Acadiana — like a Monopoly master — to 21 restaurants owned by Ed and his sons across surrounding parishes.
The Ed Krampe I knew had 70,000 employees over 40 years. He also knew most of them. I was amazed when he told me about a crew member who had died in a motorcycle accident. I knew the young man’s family and mentioned his passing to Ed. Ed told me about how hard that young man worked, what his ambitions were and what Ed had hoped for him. That ability to ask questions and deeply get to know people well was a gift and was so much Ed Krampe.
When I met Ed, I was an account executive with an advertising agency working on the McDonald’s account. I was impressed that he was not at all interested in what his civic contributions would do for the bottom line of his stores. He looked for value in what organizations stood for and what their events might do for a greater good. As we worked together, Ed asked me why I wasn’t in business for myself. I told him my graduate school experience in mass communications was very different from his master’s degree in business administration. I had no idea how to start a business. I also told Ed of how many advertising agencies I had seen open and quickly close, not because they weren’t run by talented account managers and creative writers and artists but because they did not know how to run a company and pay the bills.
From that conversation, Ed continued to convince me that I should go out on my own, and he offered his vast business knowledge to help make that happen. It wasn’t the money. SIDES & Associates was started with a $10,000 loan backed entirely by Ed and repaid to him during the first year. It was the knowledge, confidence and faith Ed Krampe provided as a board member and friend. SIDES has been successful more than any of us could have imagined, working with local companies, national corporations like Conoco and Devon, and even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. None of that would have happened without Ed Krampe. Like so many independent restaurants, partnerships, real estate ventures and other pieces of Boardwalk, Park Place and various parts of our economy that he touched, our business might never have happened without Ed.
Ed is missed and he will continue to be missed.