On February 11, 2011, MHEDA’s iron man, Howard Bernstein, stepped down from The Atlas Companies (Schiller Park, IL) and transferred ownership of the company to Allen Rawson. In his 50-plus years in the industry, MHEDA members have gotten to Howard quite well. In fact, you might be inclined to think that you know all there is to know about him. But you’d be wrong. Here are 5 things you never knew:
• He flew PV1 and PV2 twin-engine, low-level attack bombers during World War II.
• He is the president and docent guide at a World War II museum in Palm Springs, CA.
• Howard’s favorite book is Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder.
• He has 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
• Ever the young man, Howard played singles tennis until he was 80 and doubles until he was 86.
And a Bonus…What’s Up With The Straw Hat?
1n 1959, Bernstein attended various tradeshows in Europe, in particular the Hannover Fair in Hannover, Germany. At the fair, Bernstein encountered many people and didn’t know any of them. It was then that he realized that if his customers didn’t have a booth, he would have no way of recognizing them. Bernstein decided to do some self-advertising and took a picture of himself in a straw hat and sent it to his customers so that he could be easily recognized. It worked and a legend was born. Bernstein says, “I got to communicate and meet many people that I hadn’t already. They came across this guy in a funny straw hat and I got an identity that way.”