An international entrepreneur who’s had success in the sportswear business and who was a pioneer in bringing telecommunications to Russia has been awarded the highest honor from Colorado State University’s Alumni Association.
Frederick R. Andresen, who graduated from the then-named Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1954, is the recipient of the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award, which will be presented at the university’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Program on April 29. The award is presented to alumni who have attained extraordinary distinction and success at the national or international level and whose achievements have brought credit to Colorado State and benefit to fellow citizens.
After receiving a bachelor’s of science degree in forestry while minoring in military science and botany, Andresen spent two years in Korea with the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant. Later, he returned to the United States and earned his MBA equivalent from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), which is now known as Thunderbird: The Garvin School of International Business.
Andresen’s love for skiing inspired his first business venture. From 1962 to 1985, Andresen founded two active sportswear companies and oversaw their growth into international enterprises with connections and supply chains from Switzerland to Japan and China, as well as to other East Asian countries. From 1972 to 1974, Andresen was president of the national trade association, Ski Industries America. Though his early business pursuits brought him great success both at home and abroad, Andresen is most noted for his work in Russia.
An exploratory trip to Russia in 1991 as it was emerging from decades of communist policies led Andresen to take on a new challenge in the fledgling telecommunication industry. He co-founded DirectNet Telecommunications, which was instrumental in establishing the first private satellite link between Moscow and the United States. DirectNet served embassies and Fortune 1000 companies on the first fiber network in Moscow, providing voice, data and Internet services. Andresen managed the Russian company, which grew into a U.S.-based global company of almost $90 million in revenue.
After the company was sold in 1999, Andresen, along with his Russian partners, started a new company based on advanced technology including the use of the Internet for voice transport. Andresen is president and chairman of Moscow-based Prioritel LLC, which manages voice transport between parts of the former Soviet Union and Europe, Asia and America. Prioritel is developing an Internet-based private network service for the business market in Moscow.
But Andresen’s long investment in Russia goes beyond business. He was a founding member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. He also was a board member of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the U.S., which presented his company with the Outstanding American Pioneer in Russia Award in 1997.
Andresen also was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow-based Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, which recognized him for outstanding service from 1997 to 2001. In addition, Andresen is a board member of the Los Angeles/St. Petersburg Sister City Committee and is one of three Americans on the World Wide Club of St. Petersburg. He founded Promusica Russia, a non-profit organization.
Recently, Andresen has taken on one more career as a writer. He has published "Walking on Ice," a series of essays on his life and work in Russia, and is in the process of writing historical novels. He also was a contributor to "The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Doing Business with Russia," published by the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in 2002 and is a frequent speaker on Russia and business development in emerging economies.