Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award: Leo Berger
Leo “Joe” Berger is the retired co-founder of Finite Filter Corporation in Oxford, Michigan, a company he helped to grow from a workshop- and basement-based operation in 1970 to an enterprise with an international distribution system, 155 employees, and annual sales of $7 million.
Joe graduated from Benton Harbor Junior College - the predecessor of Lake Michigan College – in 1950 with an Associate in Science degree and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1953.
After working nearly 20 years in engineering and marketing and being awarded seven American and British patents, Joe and his business partner developed a patented three-dimensional glass fiber filter system on which they built Finite Filter.
With this breakthrough product, Joe led his company to annual average growth levels of 20 percent. In 1986, they sold the company to Parker Hannifin Corporation and Joe remained there until 1991 when he retired.
Leo Berger was awarded LMC's Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award in 2004.