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Saying goodbye to an industry icon

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An industry icon has passed at the age of 92. Howard Bernstein, founder and former chairman of the Atlas Companies in Schiller Park died at 10:30 p.m. Monday, May 18, at Evanston Hospital in Chicago, Ill. The funeral will be Friday, May 22 at 11 a.m. at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Ill.

Bernstein loved the material handling industry and spent more than 75 years building his business, but more importantly he built friendships with everyone he met. After leaving the Atlas Companies, Bernstein was passionate about encouraging young people to enter the material handling industry. He even formed the Howard Bernstein Scholarship Fund contributing his own money to launch it. Bernstein mentioned only five universities in the country had courses in distribution, but with this scholarship and the efforts of MHEDA and MHI that list has grown to more than 30 universities with distribution and engineering courses.

Bernstein served as president of MHEDA in 1965 and attended almost every convention.
“Howard was one of the greatest leaders and icons in this industry and an example of someone who truly gave of himself for the betterment of others. He never stopped sharing his gifts of experience and knowledge,” said Liz Richards, executive vice president of MHEDA. “The past few years, Howard passionately worked to help raise the awareness of this industry among students through the establishment of the Howard Bernstein Industrial Distribution Scholarship first by seeding the fund with $150,000 and then tirelessly fund raising within the material handling community bringing in tens of thousands of dollars. His message was about the importance of ‘investment’ in young people. I was fortunate to have worked with Howard on this effort and have had the pleasure of Howard's friendship and mentorship for the past 20 years. The material handling industry has lost a great man.”

Aftermarket consultant John Walker added, “I first met Howard early in the 60s, and in my entire career I have never met a man with the integrity of Howard . . . if he told you something you could count on it.”

Memorials can be sent to any of these organizations that Howard was passionate about. The Howard Bernstein Scholorship Fund or the Palm Springs Air Museum.

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