Air Movement Industry Pioneer Bernard Greenheck Dies
Bernard Greenheck, co-chairman of Greenheck Fan Corp., Schofield, WI, a pioneer in the air movement industry, passed away March 19 in Wausau, Wisconsin. He was 85.
"Bernie" Greenheck went into the sheet-metal business with his father and brothers in 1947, operating out of a small garage. Under the leadership of Bernie and his brother Robert "Bob", Greenheck Fan Corp. steadily grew into a $225-million air-movement company that spans the globe and employs more than 1,400 employees.
As president and chairman of the board of Greenheck Fan for more than 55 years, Bernie focused on sales and marketing, while his brother Bob oversaw product development and manufacturing operations. At a time when commercial and industrial ventilation largely meant opening windows, Bernie traveled the country to create demand for their products. Bernie found out what clients wanted. The company then created new designs and products to meet those needs. The brothers were especially successful in creating a highly regarded national network of manufacturer’s representatives.
Bernie Greenheck was an understated yet powerful motivator, making public statements such as "We refuse to participate in a recession!"
In 1989, the Greenheck brothers created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, making the company one of only 2,500 companies nationwide that is majority employee-owned and one of only 450 ESOP companies where both union and non-union employees hold stock.
With Bernie's passing, his brother Robert will serve as Chairman of the Board. The company operations are under the direction of Dwight E. Davis, President and CEO, who joined the company in January 2001 after serving over ten years on the company's Board.
Bernie is survived by his wife, Esther; one daughter; three brothers; two sisters and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren
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