Vincent Berger, a 41-year veteran of plastics machinery sales and co-founder of A/B Associates Inc., a manufacturers' representative firm, died July 3, after a five-year battle with bladder cancer. Berger died just one day before his 65th birthday.
``Vin was just hard driving, hard working and had a heart of gold,'' said his partner at A/B Associates, Jim Anderson.
Berger continued to go into A/B nearly every day as he fought the cancer, until about a week before he died.
``He insisted on being honest and always doing the right thing, for both the customers and the principals. He was a stickler for details,'' Anderson said.
Berger and Anderson started A/B Associates in White Bear Lake, Minn., in 1991. Berger's son, Vinnie, who works at the sales firm, said his father was a good role model.
``He was great to work for, and his knowledge and his experience in the industry are irreplaceable,'' his son said.
A native of Bridgeport, Conn., Vincent Berger graduated in 1965 with a history degree from St. Bonaventure University, where he was in ROTC. He served in South Korea.
Berger started his plastics career in the late 1960s when he took a sales job with Polymer Machinery Inc. of Berlin, Conn., the original importer of Arburg injection presses from Germany. In 1980, he went to HPM Corp. in Mount Gilead, Ohio, to become vice president of sales of the extrusion division.
After five years at HPM, he became vice president of sales at Whitlock Inc. in Dearborn, Mich., then moved to parent company AEC Inc.'s headquarters in Wood Dale, Ill.
In 1990, Berger went to Rapid Granulator Inc. in Rockford, Ill. He left Rapid to join Anderson and form A/B Associates.
He was inducted into the Plastics Pioneers Association in 2002.