Northland's Very Own: Al Amatuzio

By KBJR News 1

February 18, 2011 Updated Feb 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM CDT

Al Amatuzio came from humble beginnings but he always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit.

It was Al's first love that took him to the sky.

"I had a passion for flying when I was very young and I would watch the mail plane come in and it landed in the downtown area near the bay. My heart was up there all the time for flying," says Al.

When Al grew up he joined the Air Force, where he fulfilled his childhood dream and got his wings.

Al worked his way up the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel and won multiple awards as a fighter jet pilot.

After serving some 25 years in the military, Al began to wonder what his next steps would be.

"I thought when I finish up my flying career what am I going to do? Then I thought well why not make a synthetic oil for automobiles," says Al.

It was during his flying days that Al became familiar with synthetic oil, as all jets used it.

In the 1960s Amatuzio began extensive research on using synthetic oil for cars but he was met with plenty of opposition.

"People told me I was crazy that I had been in altitude for too long without oxygen and they said that my mind was flakey," says Al.

"The car companies were against him, the oil companies were against him, and most people have never heard of it and didn't believe that you could go 25,000 miles in one year," says Amsoil Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Dean Alexander.

But this didn't stop Al.

He started out working in his basement and he didn't draw a paycheck for nearly 2 years.

Al attributes his hard work to his stubbornness, having no idea his efforts would turn into the multimillion dollar company known as Amsoil.

"He was tenacious with starting the company and he did things that were difficult to do or near impossible," says Al's son and Amsoil Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Amatuzio.

Al says Amsoil was the first synthetic oil for automotive use in the world.

These days Al finds time to relax and enjoy life but he still keeps his eye to the sky, looking forward to what the future holds.

Al grew up in Duluth and wanted to keep his company in the Northland.

Amsoil's headquarters is located in Superior.