Phase I: The Foundation
Born and raised in Los Angeles to a printer father and stay-at-home mother, Chad Dreier was the first in his family to finish college. Humorously, it was the Tooth Fairy who introduced Chad to baseball cards by leaving five packs of mid-1950s Topps under his pillow one night. Soon, the grade-schooler was toting his allowance money to the corner store and stocking up on what, to this day, remains his absolute favorite issue: 1957 Topps.

Chad worshipped the Southern California teams of the day—Dodgers, Lakers and Rams—but his personal heroes weren’t necessarily Snider, Baylor, Chamberlain, West and Hirsch. Rather, he preferred those low-key, yet indispensable, utility players like Lakers forward Rudy LaRusso and minor-league L.A. Angels workhorse Steve Bilko. A starting catcher himself up through his college years, Chad graduated from Loyola University in 1969 with an accounting degree and emphases in philosophy and theology.

That legendary year of the moon landing saw giant steps in Chad’s life as well. He married his Marymount University sweetheart Ginni in March, earned his Air Force commission on the eve of Loyola’s commencement in June, and arrived at Maine’s Loring Air Force Base in July. A year later, the couple welcomed their first child, Kristin. Accounting duties kept First Lieutenant Dreier out of harm’s way until March 1972, when he received orders for Vietnam in order to take stock of the U.S. military’s remaining equipment there. Serendipitously, just before saying goodbye to his young family and boarding the plane, he was mustered out of service.

Shortly thereafter, Chad began logging 60-plus hours a week with the L.A. accounting firm Ernst & Ernst, and Ginni gave birth to their son Doug in 1973. By 1977, ready for more manageable hours and a new professional focus, Chad transitioned into real estate and operations. He became an account manager, climbing quickly up the corporate ladder in the ‘80s and early ‘90s—first with a Canadian company and later with U.S. homebuilder Kaufman & Broad (now KB Home). Then came Ryland Homes in 1993, a pivotal career shift that not only took the Dreier family to Baltimore, but also engineered the future for the Dreier Collection and Dreier Museum. next page