Bernard and Dick Sr.
This isn’t going to be a normal post for me. This past week was a rough one in our industry. Two tremendous and important men passed away. One was very well known nationally, one was not. Both, though, had immeasurable effects on our business and I am dedicating this post to each of them. Remembering Bernard Lax and Dick Macurak Sr.
Bernard Lax of Pulp Studios was extremely well known and when I named him as one of the most influential people in our industry last year, he was one of the easiest choices. Bernard came into our industry and did it his way and did it better than pretty much everyone―and he was not shy about noting that either. Better yet, he was proud to point that out.
The last time I saw Bernard was BEC 2020 and he showed me the edges on his laminated glass. They were pristine and perfect and that was the bottom line standard that Bernard demanded and ingrained in all his organization provided. Bernard also constantly gave back―he was asked to speak and present so many times and he pretty much always accepted and always came through with interesting and smart performances. He truly was something to behold.
From a personal standpoint I loved every interaction I had with Bernard. I loved running into him and Lynda at the shows and getting 10 minutes with him while he updated me on the latest and greatest. I loved hearing about the new innovations he worked on and enjoyed hearing about whatever new venture he was working on, like his custom whiskey business.
The first time I met Bernard I was pretty green. We shared a cab after a conference and I was enthralled with everything that Bernard was delivering to me, and I hated when we arrived at the airport. Then, and pretty much every time after, Bernard would tell me “anytime you can get out to me, come see my operation” and I always said I would. I never did, and that eats at me more than ever now.
When I got the call early last week that Bernard may be very sick, I was floored, I couldn’t process it. Bernard was always larger than life and him not being around and active is something too hard to fathom. I will miss him, and our industry will miss him a ton. To Lynda, Taylor, and the team at Pulp, and all of Bernard’s friends, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
My pal Andrew Haring was one of many who been online with tributes, I wanted to share his here too.
Dick Macurak Sr.
Dick Macurak Sr. was not a national figure like Bernard, but he has a legacy that is very comparable. Dick built DM Products in Pittsburgh from a small glazier to one that does massive monumental projects today.
Dick and the Macurak family are amongst the classiest people out there. Dick Sr. worked with my Dad and Grandfather at the old United Plate starting in 1954. He was a key part of the business but in 1972 he decided to start out on his own. He bet on himself and it paid off as he succeeded in many awesome ways and now with his son Dick Jr. at the helm, DM Products is a monster.
Dick Sr. stayed active literally to the day he died. He was working in the business until early July when he ended up in the hospital, and even while there he was in contact with the office, with one of his last phone calls wanting details about a big bid coming up. The guy was a worker from day one, and every bit of the 67 years after. So many family businesses struggle to move from one generation to the next, but Dick Sr. made it seamless and smart. With Dick Sr.’s influence DM Products embraced working with new technology and great suppliers―like the fantastic folks from United Architectural―who were/are ahead of the game. Dick Sr. valued and cherished relationships (a great trait passed on to his son and grandson in the business) to the point that it allowed advanced collaboration and always kept their supply chain at its strongest.
My sister Marcie―who worked more directly with Dick Sr. and DM than I did back in the day―said it best to me; Dick Sr. was a gentleman and scholar, one of the nicest people she ever worked with and someone that no matter what happened always was pure class. I am sure that I could ask that same question to tons of other people in the Pittsburgh market and they would agree.
To Dick Jr., Kathy, and all of the Macurak family, as well as the DM Products team, my thoughts and prayers to you all as well.
If you’ve gotten this far thanks for hanging with me on journey to pay honor to these great men. Our world and our industry are a little less together today, but we owe it to great leaders like Bernard and Dick Sr. to stay focused, innovate, love, and push our businesses and industry further. I know I will.