Jan. 19, 1947 – Feb. 25, 2014
Richard L. “Rick” Berger, who headed several local companies and was active in many community and philanthropic organizations, died Feb. 25 in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 67.
A native of Erie, Pa., he graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1968 and was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He served in Japan and New Mexico, and was discharged in 1974 as a captain.
Mr. Berger began his business career in human resources with Coca-Cola Co. in Dallas. He then joined JTL Corp., a Coca-Cola bottling company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., as vice president of operations and procurement.
In 1983, he joined Buffalo-based Advanced Refractory Technologies. In 1990, he was recruited by Spaulding Composites, where he became chief executive officer of Mykro Myclex, Filawound Technologies and Spaulding Fabrication before being named president and chief executive officer of the parent company, Spaulding Composites, headquartered in Rochester, N.H.
He returned to Western New York as president and chief executive officer of TAM Ceramics in Niagara Falls.
His next position was heading Speedline Technologies in Foxboro, Mass.
In 2001, he again returned to the area to help found NanoDynamics, a leading manufacturer of nanotechnology materials and products, employing 175 people at its peak.
For the past decade, Mr. Berger also worked with business consulting organizations, including the InVentures Group, which he co-founded, and First Wave Technologies of Buffalo.
He ended his career as president of Magnetic Seal Corp. in Warren, R.I.
Mr. Berger served on the boards of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, the Library Foundation and Riverkeeper, and was involved with the Westminster Economic Development Initiative.
He enjoyed racquetball, golf, motorcycling, was an avid sailor and captain of the NanSea III and former treasurer of the Buffalo Yacht Club. He also served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
He and his wife of 33 years, the former Nancy Hartman, hosted and became surrogate parents to several foreign students attending Buffalo Seminary.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Troy, and a sister, Lin Blakely.
A celebration of his life will be at 3 p.m. Saturday in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave.