By Stacie Bauer
Ungerboeck mourns the loss of its co-founder, Dieter K. Ungerboeck, who passed away August 16 at the age of 80.
“The event software industry has lost a pioneer today, but the trend of using technology to drive events will continue, and for that this industry will be forever grateful to Dieter,” said Manish Chandak, President and CEO of Ungerboeck. “His legacy lives on in most large event spaces across the world.”
Born in Vienna, Austria, Dieter moved to St. Louis in his twenties. Urban legend or not, he was caught in a snowstorm in St. Louis while deciding whether to go to San Francisco or New York to pursue his master’s degree. Instead, he happened upon the steps of St. Louis University and struck up a conversation about the school with a man who turned out to be Dean of the Business School. The Dean offered Dieter a scholarship who accepted on the spot, enrolled, and went on to raise a family and found two companies in his adopted hometown.
In 1985, he and his late wife Catherine co-founded Ungerboeck Systems, Inc. (USI), with Catherine leading software development and Dieter heading up client relations. The concept of a single software system connecting all event stakeholders and making financials simple and clear was Dieter’s passion. USI released Event Business Management Software (EBMS) in 1989, putting the company on the map for event professionals around the globe.
Over the next three decades, the small startup founded by Dieter and Catherine pivoted, evolved, and grew into one of the most recognized and respected brands in the event industry. In 2021, Ungerboeck acquired Eventbooking, Priava, ShoWorks, and Risk Sense Technologies, bringing those successful products and teams into the Ungerboeck family. Today, Ungerboeck is the leading provider of event and venue management software in the world, serving customers in over 50 countries and employing almost 500 people in the United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, China, and India.
“Dieter built an incredible business,” said Steve Mackenzie, CVE, Ungerboeck Executive Vice President, and Dieter’s longtime friend. “He had amazing vision for this industry and could predict where technology needed to go to suit the market. His whole concept of one unified system from booking to balance sheet was fundamental to the way the product evolved. Dieter was a true pioneer in the event management industry and very passionate about building a global business in the city he loved St. Louis.”
Dieter retired from the company in 2009, but he continued to make waves – literally, by founding the Ozark Yacht Club in Lake Ozark, Mo., that same year.
“He built a very successful marina business when he was supposedly ‘retired,’” Mackenzie said. “But that was Dieter. He could never sit still.”
Mackenzie will especially miss Dieter’s larger-than-life charm and sense of humor.
“Everyone Dieter interacted with has a Dieter story,” he said. “You couldn’t help but laugh once he started telling a story and got that boyish grin and belly laugh going. I know he would want us all to remember him as someone who cared deeply about his family, his business, and his sailing – probably in that order.”
“He was like family to me. His trust, continuous encouragement, and advice helped me thrive,” Chandak said. “He always got excited hearing about product innovation and customer wins. I am forever grateful to Dieter and his family for entrusting me with the opportunity to run their amazing company.”
Dieter leaves behind four sons, Krister, Justin, Ryan, and Daren, all of whom have worked to continue their parents’ legacy by guiding the company into the future. The thoughts and condolences of Ungerboeck employees all over the world are with them, their families, and Dieter’s second wife, Peggy.
To see the company’s video announcement of the passing of Dieter Ungerboeck, please click here.
Stacie Bauer is Event & Sponsorship Coordinator, Marketing, for Ungerboeck.