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 New Castle Business Leader, 'Best Boss' to Speak at SRU Commencement 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


              SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – New Castle business leader Georgia Berner, president and chief executive officer of Berner International Corp. who was named one of 2004’s Fortune Small Business Magazine’s Best Bosses, will deliver the commencement address when Slippery Rock University awards more than 460 diplomas at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 18 winter graduation ceremonies.

          The ceremony, which does not require tickets, will be held in Morrow Field House and will include the presentation of nearly 400 undergraduate diplomas, 71 master’s degrees and two doctor of physical therapy degrees. Dr. Robert M. Smith, SRU president, will give opening remarks and introductions as well as confer all degrees.

           In addition to being this year’s co-winner of Pittsburgh Tech 50 Chief Executive Officers of the Year, the Small Business Administration Business Person of the Year for the region and Pennsylvania, and holder of the first runner-up title for the United States, Berner is one of Pennsylvania’s Best Fifty Women in Business and a Team Pennsylvania Ambassador for the commonwealth.

She also spends time working with local and national workforce development programs and is a participant in Slippery Rock University’s Women’s Leadership Initiative which brought women business leaders to campus last year to lecture and mentor students interested in professions in business.

As president and chief executive officer of the Berner International, she holds numerous business-related awards, including two citations as Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur of the Year, presented in 1996 and this year, and was recently named the local AFP Outstanding Small Company Philanthropist.

A vigorous supporter of the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry, an SRU-initiated workforce development facility offering training and academic degree programs provided by 10 regional higher education institutions, Berner helped fund the Berner International Child Development Center at the facility. The center, now in its start-up phase, will offer child care and innovative children’s programming.

At the helm of Berner International since taking over as president in 1984, her firm manufactures air doors/air curtains -- rectangular boxes that contain motors and fans at doorways to blow air across the doorway keeping the two sides separate, but allowing people to pass through. Under her direction the company has more than doubled in size while adding ancillary products, including make-up air tubes and plastic strip curtains that are sold nationally and internationally.

Prior to joining the firm, which bears her name, Berner taught English literature in Japan. She completed her master’s degree in English literature and social psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hollins College.

           The commencement ceremony will see flags presented by the SRU Army ROTC unit and the oath of office for second lieutenants presented by Lt. Col. William Bialozor.


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