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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.
A local twist at Omaha meeting
Warren Buffett fielded dozens of questions today from Berkshire Hathaway shareholders all over the world. But the most memorable one had little to do with Buffett’s investment conglomerate.
The last question of the annual Berkshire shareholders meeting went to Alex Rozek, the grandson of Doris Buffett, who is Warren’s sister and a longtime Fredericksburg resident and philanthropist. Rozek’s mother is Fredericksburg resident Robyn Wood.
Rozek flew to Omaha from Stafford County yesterday with Doris Buffett and his longtime girlfriend, Sarah Gibbs "Mimi" Krueger.
Rozek, in front of about 35,000 people at the Qwest Center, asked Warren Buffett what people could do to improve the U.S. economy. Buffett, showing no evidence that he knew Rozek, answered that it would be important to increase the number of households.
Earlier in the meeting Buffett had explained that household formations are critical to soaking up the excess number of homes on the market. That in turn would stabilize the housing market and the broader economy.
Buffett, still not tipping his hand, then asked Rozek if the answer gave him any ideas. Rozek, a 30-year-old who lives in Boston but spends a good amount of time in Fredericksburg, then turned to his girlfriend, got on his knees, told her she was his best friend, and proposed. She said yes.
Buffett then revealed to the crowd that Rozek is his sister’s grandson. The moment brought cheers from the crowd and ended the meeting on an upbeat note.
Rozek said he came up with the idea about a month ago. He pitched it to Warren Buffett over e-mail; Buffett liked the idea and thought it would be a good way to end the meeting.
Buffett told Rozek to ask a simple question about the economy right at 3 p.m. as the meeting was ending, and said he’d take it from there. "He’s a showman," Rozek said.
Rozek said Mimi had no idea it was coming. "It was fun," he said.
Here is a photo of the happy couple. It was taken by Mike Zitz.