Thirty-year promotional products veteran Charles “Chuck” Dahlgren died Monday at the age of 70 following complications during surgery.

Dahlgren was the owner, president and CEO of Crystal D (PPAI 112326, S8), a manufacturing company that specializes in crystal awards and gifts, after purchasing the company Ice Nine Glass Design in 1993 and renaming it.

In a statement, the company says “our hearts are broken” by the loss of its president.

Under Dahlgren’s stewardship for just under 30 years, Crystal D prided itself as a family atmosphere that did its work in St. Paul, Minnesota rather than outsourcing labor hundreds or thousands of miles away. Believing in the power of recognition, Crystal D aims to “turn emotions into memories” for its clients.

Born in Olicia, Minnesota and raised in Bird Island, Minnesota, Dahlgren attended Concordia College. His first job consisted of working on his family’s farm as a young man, which he took on as his responsibility. This sprouted his entrepreneurial spirit. Hard work was an expectation for Dahlgren, but hard work should also be recognized, he thought.

“I believe that success is a result of hard work, persistence and dedication,” said Dahlgren. “I love being part of the recognition industry because I know how great recipients feel when they receive Crystal D awards. To me, this is the ultimate feel-good experience.”

Perhaps no better testament to the company’s leader, under Dahlgren Crystal D has also been recognized as a terrific environment for employees, having been named to PPB’s Greatest Companies To Work For In The Promotional Products Industry as recently as this year, as well as in 2021 and 2019. Dahlgren himself was honored with a PPB Best Bosses award in 2012.

Dahlgren enjoyed slowing down and spending time outdoors, primarily boating on the Minnesota lakes. He joked that his favorite sports team was “whoever’s winning” and his favorite television show was American Idol. A lover of sweets, the Chocolate Volcano from Chili’s was his favorite dessert.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, and his three daughters, Bridget Dahlgren, Audra Lehnert and Crystal Hoelzel, for whom the company is named, and many grandchildren.

Bridget Dahlgren and Audra Lehnert are helping to carry on their father’s legacy at Crystal D. Bridget Dahlgren works in marketing, sales and employee recognition in the company and Audra is an impressions brand manager.

Condolences to the family can be sent via a private voicemail at 651-925-3499 or private email at Flowers and gifts can be received at 505 Atwater Circle, St. Paul Minnesota.  

Crystal D will update its website with more information about upcoming funeral and celebration of life.