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Horizon Hobby Announces Passing of Chief Executive Officer Joseph Ambrose

The hobby lost a great industry leader and ambassador to our hobby - Joe Ambrose.

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Horizon Hobby CEO Joseph Ambrose - 1957 -2019

The first time I met Joe was at a Horizon Hobby flying event. I was talking to David Payne and Joe walked up. I turned to him and said, "I think I know you, are you a writer? " He laughed and said no, stuck his hand out and said, "I'm Joe." Joe was a regular guy that happened to run one of the most successful hobby companies in the world. We have lost a great ambassador to our hobby.

From Horizon Hobby

It is with deep sadness we announce the unexpected passing of Joe Ambrose. Joe died in Champaign on January 4, 2019, at the age of 61. Longtime Horizon board member and Chairman of First Busey Corporation, Greg Lykins said, “With Joe’s passing, we have lost an amazing human being and visionary leader. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Joe have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor.”

Joe joined Horizon Hobby in 2005 as the Vice President of Distribution. In 2008, Joe was named President and CEO. In 2014, Joe led the buyout of the Horizon ESOP with partners from Armory Capital and Mill City Capital. In 2018, Joe headed the acquisition of Hobbico’s RC assets, in the largest acquisition in industry history.

In addition to leading Horizon Hobby, Joe also served as a director of First Busey Corporation, a financial services company, since 1993. Before joining Horizon, Joe practiced corporate law for twenty years in Bloomington, IL.

Joe received a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois. He earned a Law Degree from Indiana University and an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The executive leadership of Horizon Hobby will work closely with their board of directors during the transition.

We appreciate your respect for the privacy of the family during this difficult time.

Last edited by Jim T. Graham; 01-07-2019 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:34 PM
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My condolences to his family. God bless.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:37 PM
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Godspeed to his Family
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:39 PM
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Oh no. Way to young. Prays to all who were friends of his and his family.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:39 AM
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If it wasn't for Joe, I wouldn't be a Horizon Hobby Stocking Dealer. I tried for years to become an authorized dealer for HH without success. Every time I filled out their Dealer App I got turned down. Even though I was already a Great Planes, Traxxas, MKS dealer etc etc and had been for years, Horizon just would not approve my dealership. They could't wrap their mind around the fact that I was a Pawnshop AND a Hobby Shop all in one.

So one day I decided to look and see who was the top dog in charge at Horizon. Turned out it was Joe. So I contacted him directly and told him my story. Couple days later, the Vice President of Sales at Horizon Hobby was standing in my store! As soon as she walked in she was like, "Oh, now I get it". Maybe one or two weeks after that face to face meeting I received my first order of Horizon Hobby products and I've been a stocking dealer ever since.

Yes Joe was a great guy and he will be missed dearly. Rest in peace my friend.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:20 PM
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RIP
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Old 01-08-2019, 03:46 PM
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Thanks for sharing that memory Mike. Joe was a pretty neat guy for sure! Prayers go out to his family, coworkers, and several dealers that got to know him personally. Would like to hear more stories!
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:42 PM
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My condolences to his family.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:54 AM
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Prayers out to the entire family
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:30 AM
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I did not know Joe, heard of him, but I certainly wish his family, friends and all those affected the very best.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:05 PM
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. Rest in piece my friend.[/QUOTE]

I really liked your story and commend you for bringing it forward in this difficult time for HH and Joe's family. If you don't mind, I'd like to point out a small error in your choice of words which you may want to edit.

Respectfully, Doublesixes.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doublesixes View Post
. Rest in piece my friend.
I really liked your story and commend you for bringing it forward in this difficult time for HH and Joe's family. If you don't mind, I'd like to point out a small error in your choice of words which you may want to edit.

Respectfully, Doublesixes.[/QUOTE]

Fixed. Thanks!
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