Bernard "Bernie" Greenheck
SCHOFIELD, Wis. — Bernard “Bernie” Greenheck, co-chairman of Greenheck Fan Corp., a pioneer in the air movement industry, passed away March 19 in Wausau, Wis. He was 85.

Mr. Greenheck went into the sheet metal business with his father and brothers in 1947, the company said, operating out of a small garage. Today, the $225 million air-movement company spans the globe and has more than 1,400 employees.

As president and board chairman for more than 55 years, Mr. Greenheck focused on sales and marketing; his brother Robert oversaw product development and manufacturing operations.

“At a time when commercial and industrial ventilation largely meant opening windows,” the company said, “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.”

Mr. Greenheck was an understated yet powerful motivator, according to the company, making public statements such as, “We refuse to participate in a recession!”

In 1989, the Greenheck brothers created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), 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 nonunion employees hold stock.

Robert Greenheck will now serve as chairman of the board. The company’s operations are under the direction of Dwight E. Davis, president and CEO.

Mr. Greenheck is survived by his wife Esther, one daughter, three brothers, two sisters, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Publication date: 04/21/2003