Whitehall-Coplay Press

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Contributed photoJim Berger Contributed photoJim Berger

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Jim Berger

Mr. Jim Berger was raised in Leesport, graduating from Schuylkill Valley High School in 1985.

After school, at age 14, he worked at the Leesport Cattle Auction, recalling, “I enjoyed working with the cattle as a youth. I even milked cows on a relative’s farm.”

Upon graduation, he was employed full time at Leesport.

Later, he studied masonry at Berks County Vo-Tech; as a result, Jim was hired by Ken Short Construction to do brick and block work.

His cement career started Feb. 13, 1989, at Evansville, which is today Lehigh Heidelberg.

The plant was reorganized, so he was hired and trained as a shift electrician. Some veteran employees who shared their knowledge with him are Ivan Strunk, Hank Ohliger and Dennis Fink. In his 30 years at the plant, Mr. Berger has worked at a variety of jobs, including repairman, shift repairman and preventive and maintenance technician. Today, he is a shift technician.

He relates, “I completed a craft training course at Berks Vo-Tech after work; overall, I had eight years of schooling. The training stressed various mechanical skills, including welding.”

Mr. Berger is familiar with all areas of the plant. The team checks for problems, with their goal of having the plant operate in a safe and efficient manner. The technicians are supervised by Joseph Ninni. A safety committee of employees and management holds regular meetings on safety issues; their goal is to prevent accidents.

Mr. Berger has pride in Leesport and the area; he joined the fire company at age 16. Jim also has coached youth baseball and was active with the Boy Scouts. He has been married to the former Kim Sunday for 29 years, and they are proud of sons Thomas and Michael. They reside in Bern Township.

Mr. Berger is very friendly and possesses a strong work ethic. He is a dedicated cement worker.

We wish Jim and all my friends at the century-old plant a safe and prosperous year.