Some chief executives collect classic cars or motorcyles. Others favor rare coins or exotic stamps. Doug Studer, however, collects one man's dream, one pilot's vision.

Studer, chief executive officer of Deskey, a design and branding company, has spent years gathering any piece of memorabilia he can find relating to famed aviator Charles A. Lindbergh.

"I've been collecting since about 1990," relates Studer. "I've always been interested in antiques and the historical."

A private pilot himself, Studer also boasts a keen interest in aviation. "I sort of then put the two [interests] together."

He's amassed roughly 2,000 pieces of Lindbergh memorabilia, toys, signs and stuff, mostly related to the famous trans-Atlantic flight. The reason there's so much out there to collect? This was one of the first public events where individuals discovered they could commercialize a hero without paying him any licensing fees.

"He didn't smoke and didn't drink, but I have Lindbergh cigar boxes and Lindbergh decanters. People weren't reluctant to capitalize." Studer also possesses 300 models of the "Spirit of St. Louis," including "a plane that was actually a sign I found in Sandusky."

Charles A. Lindbergh, of course, made the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in May of 1927. Other pilots had managed the feat before, but "Lucky Lindy" was the first "barnstormer" to do it alone in his custom-built "Spirit of St. Louis."  After flying into Cincinnati's Lunken Field for a refueling stop, he headed for New York City. He then took off from Roosevelt Field and landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, flying 3,600 miles in 33 hours.

In 1929, Lindbergh married poet Anne Morrow. Tragedy would strike the family in 1932, when the couple's 20-month-old son was kidnapped and killed by Bruno Hauptmann.

Studer says he hasn't made a particular point of collecting memorabilia related to the kidnapping, though along the way, "I've acquired the cuffs used on Hauptmann...and the gun that Lindbergh carried during the trial."

The events of the murder and trial, as well as Lindbergh's latter opposition to American involvement in World War II and accusations he was a Nazi symphathizer, overshadowed his aerial accomplishments. However, few remember that by 1944, Lindbergh had flown 50 combat missions in the Pacific theater as a civilian advisor to the Army and Navy. President Eisenhower appointed him a brigadier general, and Lindbergh eventually helped Pan American Airways design the Boeing 747 jet. In 1954, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography (Lindbergh died of cancer at his home in Maui in 1974).

"I've tried to concentrate on the achievements of the flight and stay away from the controversial stuff," notes Studer.
He took the top job at Deskey's distinctive 8th Street location in 1997, nearly two decades after joining the firm's design department.
While managing the Procter & Gamble account in the early 1990s, Studer developed Toolbox, Deskey's proprietary equity research methodology. It's a process for optimizing brand management that remains a tool used for accounts such as Brawny Paper Towels, Downy Fabric Softener and Millstone Coffee.

Deskey goes way back. The company was founded in Cincinnati in 1929 by designer Donald Deskey, who was known for his design of the interiors of Radio City Music Hall in New York City's Rockefeller Center, as well as stunning pavilions at the New York's World's Fair in 1964. He may best be remembered by the American consumer for the design of the Tide laundry detergent package and Crest's iconic toothpaste tube.

Today, the firm's client roster includes Fifth Third Bank, Johnson & Johnson and Starbucks"”and still boasts a half-century relationship with Procter. That company continues to base its strategy on Deskey's concept that a product, any product, is a communication vehicle with an image. Without a memorable outside "package" design buffered by an advertising message, the product has little meaning in the marketplace.

CEO Studer actually finds a parallel between his own firm's founder and the famed pilot. "Deskey, like Lindbergh, was an innovator, a pioneer who set the stage for what we see now."