Our old friend Milt Kuolt checked in recently with the not-so-startling news that he's at it again -- starting companies, that is. The founder of Thousand Trails Inc. (INC., November 1981) and Horizon Air Industries Inc. (INC., April 1986) has a new venture called OMT Inc., which stands, appropriately enough, for "one more time." Kuolt's a little vague on the details, but he does indicate the company will mine the same rich vein that led to such spectacular strikes the first two times around: traveling Americans. This time, he's talking about destination resorts in Mexico and Hawaii and private clubs elsewhere.
Kuolt has always been better at starting companies than running them. Both Thousand Trails and Horizon Air did splendidly until they got big enough to require a full-fledged management team. In each case, Kuolt sweated and struggled over the need to change his impulsive entrepreneurial style, driving himself to the brink of depression. Then he got out. In 1982, he left Thousand Trails (later selling his stock for about $3 million) and founded Horizon Air, which he sold four years later to Alaska Air Group Inc., walking away with a cool $30 million.
A richer man now, Kuolt insists he is also wiser. "Some people are meant to start companies, and some people are meant to run 'em," he says. "I'm not going to try to be something I'm not anymore. Getting everybody to agree on stuff never did seem to work for me."