Ernest C. Trefz, CEO of the Bridgeport-based property management company Trefz Corp. and the namesake of the University of Bridgeport’s business school, died on Feb. 25 at the age of 84.
Born in New Haven in 1932, Trefz and his brother Christian were general managers at Bridgeport’s Roessler Packing Co. in 1964 when they decided to go into business for themselves by opening a McDonald’s franchise in Waterbury. Today, the Trefz Corp. operates 43 McDonald’s franchises in Connecticut and New York, and the company received McDonald’s 2009 Golden Arch Award for outstanding franchise management. Over the years, the Trefz Corp. expanded into other commercial real estate projects, including the ownership of Bridgeport’s Holiday Inn Downtown and Imperial Parking Corp. and properties in Westport, Stratford and Milford.
Trefz was also a 30-year member of the University of Bridgeport’s Board of Trustees. His philanthropic generosity to the university resulted in the 2014 dedication of the Ernest C. Trefz School of Business. Trefz’s family foundation also supported several Fairfield County institutions including Bridgeport’s St. Vincent Hospital and Barnum Museum and Norwalk’s Stepping Stones Museum.