Life is good for Russell Kohl. As the president/CEO of Freud/Diablo Inc., an industry-leading cutting and portable power tools company, a jet-set lifestyle comes with the job. Though his trips to Italy allowed him to master one of his favorite culinary hobbies, dry-aging meat, it’s being surrounded by loved ones and the outdoors that make life meaningful for this Buckhead and Florida resident. Here, he talks giving back, fostering the next generation of
leaders, and more.
Q: Why is giving back important to you?
Russell Kohl: It’s part of creating a legacy. It set in when the College of Business at my alma mater, Florida State University, asked me to come back and be a keynote speaker. I was shocked they knew who I was. That showed me
the importance of making education better and sharing what I’ve learned. I want to make sure I’m giving back, and not just with money, but by being involved.
Q: What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
RK: My two kids, Ian and Amelia. I’ve been with my company for 19 years and it’s gone from being a $9 million business to on its way to being worth $1 billion. I’m proud of that type of growth curve and to still be active in education and still have a great group of friends.
Q: Who/what helps you be the best version of yourself?
RK: Michelle Hodgson was an incredible in influence on what I am doing personally with my company to create a legacy of making the world better, which led to the development of the Best in the World, Best for Our World theme for my life and approach to business. Once we connected, I helped her raise money for Children Helping Children, create structure, and organize. In return, she challenged me. The Young Presidents’ Organization, which I’m also involved in, has had a huge influence on me as well.
Q: What do you like to do in Buckhead?
RK: I am off East Paces Ferry Road and they just opened up PATH400. I am super stoked because I love the Atlanta BeltLine. I also recently started doing yoga. I have the coolest instructor named Georgia Deane at the Buckhead location of Highland Yoga. She makes me want to sell everything I have, buy a VW bus, go to California and soak in suntan lotion. I love to generally be outdoors, too. And I tell you, there is nothing better than Saturday brunch at Le Bilboquet.