1959 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I was successful because I was willing to work hard and I was determined to get a good education."
Albert J. Berdis was an orphan before he reached college age. He and his brother lived in a basement in Whiting, Indiana, while they attended Purdue University. During his first two years in college, he lived on 20 cents a day, which he earned working part time on the campus in Lafayette. Finally, Berdis was forced to quit school after two years and go to work, but he later financed the final two years at Purdue by working on weekends in the Gary plant of U. S. Steel Corporation. After graduation, he returned to U. S. Steel and moved rapidly through the ranks. In 1949, he was placed in charge of design, construction, and operation of U. S. Steel's Fairless works at Morrisville, Pennsylvania. From U. S. Steel he went to Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation. In 1958, he was named president of Weirton Steel Company, a division of National Steel Corporation. In 1959, he was placed in charge of the construction of National's Midwest Steel Division in Portage, Indiana. He relinquished this duty in 1964 to devote his full time to Great Lakes Steel, where he had assumed the presidency in 1962.* Deceased